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Creative Realities

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When Do You Come Up with Your Best Ideas?

Posted by Creative Realities on October 6, 2011

Newton did it lounging under an apple tree.  Archimedes did it soaking in a bathtub.  Einstein did it while shaving.  Those are the settings in which these great minds did their best thinking (at least according to legend).  The common theme is that they were in the state of relaxed concentration.  Rather than sit at your desk hammering away at a problem, it is often wise to let your mind wander.  In his terrific book The Element Sir Ken Robinson describes the process: 

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Topics: Chris Dolan, creativity, Ideas, Relaxed Concentration, creative thinking skills

Book Review: Little Bets, Big Insights

Posted by Creative Realities on October 5, 2011

In Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, a fantastic book about the creative process, Peter Sims builds a compelling case for why breakthrough ideas come about as the result of lots of little experiments. Drawing on everything from Chris Rock's method of developing stand up comedy, to the production process of the animation teams at Pixar, to the "HP Way" corporate culture inspired by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, to Frank Gehry's unconventional architecture designs, Sims advocates for a creative process that defies the common understanding of creativity. Sims slays the myth of the creative genius who gets hit with a bolt of inspiration out of nowhere like lightning. Sims argues that, instead, most people who are highly creative achieve success through a constant, deliberate cycle of experimenting, failing, adapting, and fine-tuning.  Here are a few of Sims key insights.

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Topics: Chris Dolan, creativity, Entrepreneurial, creative thinking, breakthrough, creative problem solving skills, creative thinking skills, approximate thinking, developmental thinking, implementation

Selecting an Idea for Newness, not Feasibility

Posted by Creative Realities on September 14, 2011

We tell our clients to select an idea first for newness, second for appeal, and last for feasibility. Why? Because real breakthrough innovation has to have a very high level of newness owing to the fact that newness cannot be built in to an idea. The newness of an idea can and will only move in one direction, it’s a fleeting thing. Appeal is important for traction but doesn’t have to be widespread (it won’t be if it’s truly new, people are afraid of what’s new). Moving an idea forward requires support and to get that initial support some amount of appeal is a necessity. Feasibility, unlike Newness, can be built into an idea via some well-managed creative problem solving (that’s another post). By beginning with a high level of newness, a acceptable level of appeal, and a moderate-to-low sense of an idea’s feasibility, you can end up with an idea that scores high on all three spectra, sacrificing only a minimal amount of newness in improving the feasibility. Then you’re on your way to real breakthrough innovation!

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Topics: creativity, Clay Maxwell, Ideas, bizinovationist, newness, feaasibility, appeal

Innovation at Ground Zero

Posted by Creative Realities on August 26, 2011

Last night I watched the amazing Discovery Channel documentary Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero chronicling the reconstruction of the World Trade Center after the tragedy of 9/11. The show is an awe inspiring mix of engineering marvels, construction complexity, and a healing nation. The documentary, directed by Steven Spielberg, chronicles the entire span of the project, from the initial visions of the architects, to the planning and coordination of the supervisors, to the steel, concrete, and iron workers erecting the skyscraper at jaw-dropping heights.  The new World Trade center is designed to be both a memorial honoring the past, and a beacon of hope looking toward America's future. No matter what project you are working on, there are some impressive takeaways you can apply to your own work.      

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Topics: Design, Chris Dolan, culture, Innovation, implementation, execution

Quake it up!

Posted by Creative Realities on August 24, 2011

I’m sitting in the middle of our weekly staff meeting listening to the many updates and insights being shared by our team of innovationists when suddenly, from the back of the room, comes the calm but concerned voice of a co-worker saying, “Aaahh, is anyone else noticing that the room is moving?” A quick look around by all of us and it is clear that the room IS moving. In fact, the whole building is moving. Excitedly, someone suggests, “This is an earthquake!”  Unsure what to do, we all just sit there.  (Probably not our wisest move, but typical of inexperienced east coasters). A few moments later, I glance up and notice the slow swaying of the building is creating a not-so-slow swaying of the light fixture above my head.  I quickly jump up and move toward the door. The others, unsure of the reasons for my sudden movements, sense an emergency, and do the same. We head outdoors and immediately log in to Twitter, Facebook, and other similar sites to get confirmation from all social sources that we did, in fact, just experience an earthquake.  Now, this might not be the most noteworthy earthquake experience, but it did truly impact me.

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Topics: Tamara Wickramasinghe, Quake, Innovation

Top Retweets for July 2011

Posted by Creative Realities on August 5, 2011

Bon Friday to our favorite blog readers!

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Topics: Chris Dolan, Clay Maxwell, Ideas, Amanda Hines, David Culton, Twitter, Innovation

Innovation, Power, and "The Decision" of Lebron James

Posted by Creative Realities on July 26, 2011

We all like to believe that we are pretty good judges of ideas. We think we can objectively evaluate an idea based on its merits and recognize a creative solution, an innovative breakthrough, or a smart decision. When it comes to spotting the brilliant idea, we, like Potter Stewart, believe we know it when we see it.

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Topics: Chris Dolan, Ideas, Communication, Nonverbals, Jonah Lehrer, decision-making

Innovation Gets Some Deserved Recognition

Posted by Creative Realities on July 12, 2011

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Topics: SCVNGR, winners, New England, MITX, Gazelle, Backupify, Punchbowl, recognition, Kelly Kretschmar, Innovation

‘Hunting’ for a different way to approach your innovation challenges?

Posted by Creative Realities on July 11, 2011

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Topics: creativity, culture, Sarah Feloney, training, skills, Innovation, strategy

TOP 10 Innovation Retweets from June 2011

Posted by Creative Realities on July 6, 2011

Yeah, yeah it’s a bit late.  I know.  We’ve been busy!  And, apparently we’re not alone in that respect in the innovation space.  That’s good, because not only does it mean the economy is trending in the right direction, it means I had plenty to choose from to compile this list.  So, without further ado, here’s what we saw “innotweeted” the most in June 2011:

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Topics: Clay Maxwell, Twitter, trends, bizinovationist, Innovation