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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 15, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesApril 2009 Brainstorm E-Bulletin

April 2009 Brainstorm E-Bulletin

We're seeing the sun at last here in London, and by the time you read this, I'll be on one of my twice-yearly trips to the U.S. to visit friends and check out what's new in the world of creativity and innovation. I'll be sharing some of those findings with you next month, but, for now, here are some ideas to keep you going:
1: What questions are you asking?
I've written about this once before, but in light of the dark economic times it may be a good idea to remind ourselves that our reality is shaped by the questions we ask. If the questions are negative ("Why did this happen to me?" "Why are things so difficult?"), then our answers will be, too.
Better: stick with how questions and make them positive. For example, in the context of work:
* How can I reconnect with previous clients or customers and see if they need my help now?
* How can I expand my skills?
* How can I make sure that my products or services are in tune with what people want and need in these circumstances?
Action: Try thinking of five positive "how" questions and focus on those for the next week. Notice what difference it makes to how you feel and what you achieve.
2: Don't forget about…people.
In an interview, one of my favorite illustrator/authors, Shaun Tan ("Tales from Outer Suburbia," "The Arrival") talked about creative people and solitude:
"It's always this thing where people have got good ideas and people are great artists, but it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to sit still for that long. People often overlook that when they talk about creativity. Skill is one aspect, but the other aspect is sheer doggedness and ability to work through the tedium…This sort of work can be quite introverted and you can spiral into it…That's one thing that's bad about the job sometimes – the lack of interaction with people. I think humans are designed to interact with other people on a regular basis."
Action: If, like me, you sometimes tend to get a bit too isolated, schedule some days out interacting with people.
3: Creativity is not a one-step process.
In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, discussed the nature of creativity and why Pixar has been able to do well where many others have failed:
"People tend to think of creativity as a mysterious solo act, and they typically reduce products to a single idea: This is a movie about toys, or dinosaurs or love, they'll say. However, in filmmaking and many other kinds of complex product development, creativity involves a large number of people from different disciplines working effectively together to solve a great many problems…the initial idea…the "high concept"…is merely one step in a long, arduous process…"
Action: Even when you are working alone, don't limit your brainstorming to coming up with the initial idea. At each stage of your project take time to brainstorm how that stage could be better, more innovative and more satisfying to the end user.
——————
Interested in self-publishing? People in the UK can find out all about it at the SP4UK event at Cheltenham on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I will be one of several speakers (topics include beating writer's block, improving your writing, setting up your own Web site, and more). The entry fee is only £15 – that's a bargain! Get more information and sign up now at www.sp4uk.co.uk. Come and say hello; it would be great to meet you there!
——————
4: Even poo can make you rich!
Werner Holzwarth wrote a children's book called "The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business." It's about a little mole and…er, poo. In an interview with the Goethe Institute he explained, "Until then the topic of 'pooey' was – quite inexplicably – an absolute taboo topic although we know how very important the anal phase is in a child's development."
He was inspired by his three-year-old son's fascination with the topic. He says, "For two years at the Frankfurt Book Fair I tried to get a publisher interested in my idea. All the big firms in the trade turned me down. Reason: 'Nobody would buy that, perhaps just a few authoritarian parents.' 'We'd never get that into the bookshops,' and so on."
Eventually a publisher did take a chance. The book has been translated into 27 languages and had a print run of 2.2 million worldwide.
Action: Are you holding back doing something because everybody says it won't work? Maybe you should tell them that's bull…poo.
5: Six Steps to Success
In a recent issue of Entrepreneur magazine, Bill Bartmann, CEO of BillionaireU.com, shared six keys to building a successful business. It seems to me they apply equally well to any kind of endeavour:
* Think big
* Do the unconventional
* Believe in yourself and your idea
* Share your vision – some people will want to help
* Focus – do one thing extremely well
* Never give up
They may sound like clichés, but each of them can be turned into useful actions.
Action: Which of the above do you do best? How can you do more of that one? Which do you do least well? How can you delegate that one? Try it for one week: amp up your strongest activity, delegate your weakest – and notice the results.
6: And a quote to consider:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." – Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Until next time,
Jurgen
PS: If you haven't looked at my blog since the last e-bulletin, you've missed posts on success factors, inspiration for late bloomers, a great video on creativity and leadership, how unemployment can be a good thing (kind of), collaboration, the almost lost art of handwriting, what a spy can teach you about creativity and more. It's waiting for you at timetowrite.blogs.com and you can also sign up there to have each day's post e-mailed to you.
PPS: If you want to take part in a free course (eight mini-lessons, one per week) on overcoming procrastination, just sign up at tameyourinnercritic.com. You'll also find a wealth of right-brain breakthrough ways to achieve your goals in my newest book, "Focus: The Power of Targeted Thinking." The Web site for it is focusquick.com.

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We're seeing the sun at last here in London, and by the time you read this, I'll be on one of my twice-yearly trips to the U.S. to visit friends and check out what's new in the world of creativity and innovation. I'll be sharing some of those findings with you next month, but, for now, here are some ideas to keep you going:
1: What questions are you asking?
I've written about this once before, but in light of the dark economic times it may be a good idea to remind ourselves that our reality is shaped by the questions we ask. If the questions are negative ("Why did this happen to me?" "Why are things so difficult?"), then our answers will be, too.
Better: stick with how questions and make them positive. For example, in the context of work:
* How can I reconnect with previous clients or customers and see if they need my help now?
* How can I expand my skills?
* How can I make sure that my products or services are in tune with what people want and need in these circumstances?
Action: Try thinking of five positive "how" questions and focus on those for the next week. Notice what difference it makes to how you feel and what you achieve.
2: Don't forget about...people.
In an interview, one of my favorite illustrator/authors, Shaun Tan ("Tales from Outer Suburbia," "The Arrival") talked about creative people and solitude:
"It's always this thing where people have got good ideas and people are great artists, but it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to sit still for that long. People often overlook that when they talk about creativity. Skill is one aspect, but the other aspect is sheer doggedness and ability to work through the tedium...This sort of work can be quite introverted and you can spiral into it...That's one thing that's bad about the job sometimes - the lack of interaction with people. I think humans are designed to interact with other people on a regular basis."
Action: If, like me, you sometimes tend to get a bit too isolated, schedule some days out interacting with people.
3: Creativity is not a one-step process.
In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, discussed the nature of creativity and why Pixar has been able to do well where many others have failed:
"People tend to think of creativity as a mysterious solo act, and they typically reduce products to a single idea: This is a movie about toys, or dinosaurs or love, they'll say. However, in filmmaking and many other kinds of complex product development, creativity involves a large number of people from different disciplines working effectively together to solve a great many problems...the initial idea...the "high concept"...is merely one step in a long, arduous process..."
Action: Even when you are working alone, don't limit your brainstorming to coming up with the initial idea. At each stage of your project take time to brainstorm how that stage could be better, more innovative and more satisfying to the end user.
------------------
Interested in self-publishing? People in the UK can find out all about it at the SP4UK event at Cheltenham on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I will be one of several speakers (topics include beating writer's block, improving your writing, setting up your own Web site, and more). The entry fee is only £15 - that's a bargain! Get more information and sign up now at www.sp4uk.co.uk. Come and say hello; it would be great to meet you there!
------------------
4: Even poo can make you rich!
Werner Holzwarth wrote a children's book called "The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business." It's about a little mole and...er, poo. In an interview with the Goethe Institute he explained, "Until then the topic of 'pooey' was - quite inexplicably - an absolute taboo topic although we know how very important the anal phase is in a child's development."
He was inspired by his three-year-old son's fascination with the topic. He says, "For two years at the Frankfurt Book Fair I tried to get a publisher interested in my idea. All the big firms in the trade turned me down. Reason: 'Nobody would buy that, perhaps just a few authoritarian parents.' 'We'd never get that into the bookshops,' and so on."
Eventually a publisher did take a chance. The book has been translated into 27 languages and had a print run of 2.2 million worldwide.
Action: Are you holding back doing something because everybody says it won't work? Maybe you should tell them that's bull...poo.
5: Six Steps to Success
In a recent issue of Entrepreneur magazine, Bill Bartmann, CEO of BillionaireU.com, shared six keys to building a successful business. It seems to me they apply equally well to any kind of endeavour:
* Think big
* Do the unconventional
* Believe in yourself and your idea
* Share your vision - some people will want to help
* Focus - do one thing extremely well
* Never give up
They may sound like clichés, but each of them can be turned into useful actions.
Action: Which of the above do you do best? How can you do more of that one? Which do you do least well? How can you delegate that one? Try it for one week: amp up your strongest activity, delegate your weakest - and notice the results.
6: And a quote to consider:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Until next time,
Jurgen
PS: If you haven't looked at my blog since the last e-bulletin, you've missed posts on success factors, inspiration for late bloomers, a great video on creativity and leadership, how unemployment can be a good thing (kind of), collaboration, the almost lost art of handwriting, what a spy can teach you about creativity and more. It's waiting for you at timetowrite.blogs.com and you can also sign up there to have each day's post e-mailed to you.
PPS: If you want to take part in a free course (eight mini-lessons, one per week) on overcoming procrastination, just sign up at tameyourinnercritic.com. You'll also find a wealth of right-brain breakthrough ways to achieve your goals in my newest book, "Focus: The Power of Targeted Thinking." The Web site for it is focusquick.com.