Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teamwork and Creativity

Take 7 people, from a large New Zealand multi-national, undertaking a leadership development programme in the middle of a New Zealand winter and give them the following task:

Construct a raft out of the materials you have been given. It must transport all of you several kilometres down a river. The river temperature is 7 degrees!

Now there's a motivation to think and be creative - especially when the water temperature is that cold! It was lucky the day was fine!

I had been working with the team for a number of weeks and this was the opportunity to put into practice some of the theory about how high performing teams operate. Tran Lawrence from Taranaki Outdoor Adventures http://www.toa.co.nz/ set the scene and challenged their thinking whilst the building took place. Members took different roles and used their strengths to achieve a very successful outcome.

So they got to paddle to the dam - and then we threw them over!!

If you have a team that you would like to throw over a dam then please get in contact - wayne@future-edge.co.nz. Tran and I would be happy to oblige!

T-Shirts and Suits

David Parrish has a web site and a blog that are worth checking out especially if you are in the business of creativity.

A recent blog entitled "Raising Finance from Fans" took my interest.This from David's blog:

"Raising finance from loans or investments can be a major challenge for all types of businesses, and it’s especially difficult when credit is scarce and investors are feeling the pinch. So any alternative ways of raising funds are worth exploring.
Enterprises in the creative, cultural and digital sector have creativity at the centre of their products and services, yet don’t always apply that same creativity to the business side of things, such as marketing, leadership or finance. But some do. True ‘creative entrepreneurs’ are not just creative people doing business – they are creative with business too. Some of these creative entrepreneurs - especially in music and film - are exploring innovative ways of raising serious amounts of money by asking lots of people for modest investments. This
‘Crowd-Financing’ approach can be labelled ‘Fan-Financing’ when fans are the focus for investments." More on his web site and blog.

David's contacts are:



Creative Practice

Take 9 gorgeous women, put them together in a stunning beach side property, throw in a spa pool, great food and wine, and dancing and what do you have?
A creativity retreat of course.
Anne O'Donnell and her team from Havelock Physiotherapy [www.havelockphysiotherapy.co.nz] took themselves off for a weekend of creativity at Waimarama Beach in the Hawkes Bay.

I had the privilege of facilitating the weekend.
We talked about what creativity is and discovered ways in which we were already creative.
We explored individual behaviour styles and what it means to stay 'above the line'.
We drew and we painted.
We took time out for ourselves.

We walked [danced?] along the beach looking for inspiration for art works.

We improvised performances [and costumes!]

We created 'sound' performances.
We danced to the Queens Birthday DVD - yep you read that right!!
We sang and performed.
We took time out for ourselves.

And the spa pool - well - it was never used!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Andrew McGregor - Creative Musician

I first met Andrew at a music festival in the Hawkes Bay [New Zealand] run by some friends - Mary KIppenberger and Peter Charlton-Jones. Here was a young man with a heap of talent. I got to talk to him about his creativity and began by asking if he regarded himself as a creative person.

"I guess I always knew it but it wasn't till quite recently that I realised that I am. It was at the Te Rangi Festival - at that festival it was just magic - just the setting. I wrote about three songs and in the month after I wrote another half dozen. They just flew out."

When asked about what it was that did that for him Andrew commented that "I think probably just being away from everything - like having to write a song for a gig - there's pressure and there was no goal here. Like - just write a song."

I asked him if that means he is more creative without pressure.

"A bit of both really. Like a while ago I got sick of playing the same stuff so I had 2 weeks to write three songs. But I think I write better songs without too much pressure."

I asked Andrew where the songs came from. His reply. "it's quite spontaneous. It can come from nowhere - just out of my head - I don't know where from. Other times I might be listening to a song and I'll draw inspiration from that. Usually new music that I've downloaded or heard on myspace - from a remote part of the world. I'll listen to anything."
When asked to give advice to a 14 year old with a guitar what would that advice be he replied "Listen and go and see as many different bands as possible across all different genres. As a musician you are only as good as your influences."
So for all you 14 year olds [of any age] that sounds like good advice!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

MIchael Jackson Creative Genius RIP

'I wake up from dreams and go "Wow, put this down on paper." The whole thing's strange.
You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face.'

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Art of Change

Put 25 people in a church hall, give them a range of materials and some brief instructions and you have the recipe for creative transformation.

Jonathan and Alice from the Learning Connexion helped us to explore a transformational process that could then be applied to other areas of our lives.

The workshop's stated goal was for each participant to "identify the idea of fun through creative art processes, crossing sensory boundaries - from thought into dialogue and written word; from 2D and 3D art processes into public commentary, and evaluation of the transformational process itself."

After setting the topic "What gives you the most fun/joy/celebration in your life?" Alice walked us through a bunch of questions to get us to involve all our senses - questions like:

  • What do you do for fun? Why

  • What does it feel like?

  • What does it smell like?

  • What does it taste like?

  • What does it sound like?

  • What movement, shape, touch, sense captures this?

We played with our theme using 2D materials in the morning and 3D materials in the afternoon. People surprised themselves. Check it out if the workshop comes to a place near you. More information on http://www.tlc.ac.nz/

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Explaining Creativity

Check out Keith Sawyer's web site. His new book 'Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration' is well worth a read.


Live abroad and become more creative!

If you want to stimulate your creativity - go live abroad. More here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Art in Education

Teacher Tube is a site, as the title suggets, for teachers but it has video clips that may be of interest to anyone interested in creative education - including this one: http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=112187&title=The_Importance_of_Art_in_Education

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Edward De Bono Pod Cast

Radio New Zealand National has an interview with Edward De Bono.
Addressing the recession De Bono says that although it is a challenge to us, in the "long term the biggest challenge is the inadequacy of our thinking."

Heres the link. www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20090612

Creative Construction

"The time has come for 'creative construction,' for striking the right balance between the government and the market, for integrating social and environmental factors and demilitarizing the economy."

This from a Washington Post article sent by my friend Penny Eames.

The article is entitled "We Had Our Perestroika. It's High Time For Yours" and was written by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who presently heads a Moscow based think-tank The International Foundation for Socio- Economic and Political Studies.

The link follows. It is well worth a read.

Robbie's New Toys

Robbie Duncan has some new toys. Robbie loves to play with his new toys. Robbie runs Braeburn Recording Studio from his home in Wellington. In fact the recording studio takes up half the house that he and his partner Chris live in. It has stunning views over Wellington Harbour.

I drove to Wellington a week or so ago to see a percussion group called STOMP - fantastic - and while in Wellington a friend asked if I would put some percussion tracks on a couple of songs he recorded at Braeburn. We did that then Robbie suggested we play.

Now Robbie's toys are very sophisticated electronic ones ones used for recording. My toys are much more basic - things that one hits to make sounds. So we played - me on a variety of percussion and Robbie on his sound stuff. We made a CD of percussion tracks. The CD will never see the light of day but that's not the point - the point is that we played, were creative, bounced ideas off each other, collaborated to get the best we could out of each other - and had lots of fun doing it. If you want to be creative in a recording studio contact Robbie at braeburn@ihug.co.nz

Friday, June 5, 2009

John Cleese is in two minds too!

"We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don't waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the "closed" mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the "open" mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent."
John Cleese