Category Archives: Creative Inspirations

Sharing is caring – why keeping your ideas to yourself is killing your creativity (and your job)

bartenderI have had my share of creative paranoia in the workplace; you know, when you are afraid to share with others for fear they will steal your idea and claim it as their own. I have even experienced having my designs replicated (design plagiarism). That said, collaboration is the only way to develop meaningful marketing solutions. So why do I still run into those who consider collaboration like looking at their paper for their answers during a quiz? While I really have no answer to why, I do have some thoughts on why it is important to collaborate with others.

Over the years, I’ve been in situations where I’ve worked with teams of designers and on my own. I’ve found that working with a team always spurs more creativity because you get different points of view for the same subject matter. In any conversation you have with someone else, you will get a different perspective from your own, even in the case where you both agree on the topic and the outcome. Everyone has their own thought process and their own way of reaching conclusions. This way of reaching conclusions is a huge part of the creative process as each thought takes you down a new path. Now, when you are working by yourself, it’s easy to halt to the process as you immediately agree with everything you are saying. This can stifle the creative juices and will, in the end, hurt your final product.

Think about it, some of the best ideas came about when a couple, or three, people were sitting at a bar with nothing but a napkin, a pen and a good bartender. It may have started as some political argument, or a discussion about an issue they faced in their life, but that discussion got the creative juices flowing and BOOM, the next great idea happens. I find, in my creative process, that even when I work alone, I need others to help with my inspiration. It may be a phone call to a friend, talking to my family or looking at some other great work someone has done.

All-in-all as long as you are honest, give credit where credit is due and work with integrity, you will always come out better when you share.

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Putting our “real voice” out there

Ricky Gervais wants you to talk to him, well, maybe he wants you to listen to him, I can’t really tell! I have been doing some social tech analysis with some of the latest apps, and was surprised that the latest trend is voice. With cat videos taking up so much of YouTube, maybe people are ready for a change. With voice you are able to take on another persona, and some of the apps like Dubbler, even let you change how you sound.justsayin

I’m not really sure where I stand on this as a trend yet, but as a marketer, it’s definitely intriguing. Here is a great article that asks the question is Voice the Next Frontier in Social Media.

I downloaded several of the “just released” apps mentioned in the article and found myself seeing how this could be a great tool for “real-time” testimonials for service companies (like the one I work for), or let’s say you are a restaurant, before sending the first meal out, the chef could take a quick picture and give a quick voice over to that nights special. Three minutes later, you have updated all of your social channels letting followers know “what’s for dinner”. So many quick and inexpensive ways to communicate to the masses!

I played around with a number of these apps and after listening to Tommy Lee scream or say “what’s up” over and over again, I decided the most interesting thing about Just Sayin’ is Ricky himself. His Derek posts are priceless! Dubbler is a tool that’s a little more sophisticated (well, except for the option to turn your voice into a “cat” voice…what is it with cats?!) and I can see using it for story telling, like taking a picture of me with a client and having the client voice over talking about our partnership and what it means to their business. The jury is still out, but I plan on trying these tools out for some low-tech live blogging and just see what happens…stay tuned!

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A Floating “Tech” Incubator – Only In Silicon Valley

incubatorHow far would you go to bring your talent, or idea to Silicon Valley? Apparently for those non-citizens, the answer can be as close as 12 miles away. Blueseed, whose idea has to go under the category of “Only in Silicon Valley”, seems to think they have the solution for those H1 Visa workers – an incubator just of the coast of San Francisco—on a boat. But this is no ordinary boat, more like a floating (non-military community).

Blueseed’s website states: “The location will allow startup entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or grow their company near Silicon Valley, without the need for a U.S. work visa.”

I have to say, I have been watching the incubator trend making a comeback, but I didn’t see this one coming. It is an interesting concept and once again shows the powerful pull of Silicon Valley. So for those of us lucky enough to live and work here (on actual land), let’s take a collective breath and be grateful for what we have…but keep an eye on what’s cooking just off the coast.

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Read about it yourself. Check out their website:

http://blueseed.co/

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Life of an Artist – Pointers from the past.

IMG_3523When you begin any writing project, it is a good idea to clear your head, define your space, and give yourself a break when you hit a wall. Whether it starts in school, or in the real world, artists (yes, that includes writers, too) are taught to be hard on ourselves. We have all been subject to a brutal critique, or a war-torn bleeding draft; whichever the case, the ego is bound to take a few punches on our way to producing our best work. After recently completing a grueling writing project, I thought I would provide those just starting out with some tips on how to keep going:

  1. Create a creative space – Nothing gets the juices flowing better than creating a space that evokes creativity. Artists thrive in the presence of other great art. Put some prints on the wall of your favorite artists, grab some cool sculptures for your desk and make sure there are lots of colorful playful things around.
  2. Clear your mind and schedule – Dedicate some time to what you are doing. It’s hard to be creative on the spot, you need time to relax and let yourself go. This means that you need to set aside blocks of time where you are dedicated just to your creative process. Make sure it is enough time to get you started as you may find the first hour is nothin but clearing the mind.
  3. Take a break from writer’s block – Writer’s block isn’t just for writers, it’s for any creative. If you find yourself just not feeling it, then take a break, go for a walk, listen to some music or maybe just jump up and down and scream.

These are just a few tips to get you started. Remember, everyone’s creative process is different. There is no one way. Also, here’s a great article on How to Be Creative from Real Simple. Good luck and have fun.

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What Do Bananas and Social Computing Have in Common?

This past year’s TUCON had some amazing Keynotes; some inspirational, others educational, and of course there where those that were entertaining. But when Chris Robinson, CIO of KPMG Australia, came out on stage holding a large banana, I realized this was going to be all of the above. He related the story of a client who threw something of a curve ball at the firm. The client, who’s in the fruit smoothie business, asked KPMG to help solve a vexing problem: “How to automate the task of peeling lots of bananas quickly and cheaply?” Employing humans to do this would cost too much, while machines tend to smash the fruit, since bananas come in all shapes and sizes. Even for a consultancy that boasts all kinds of experts in retail, manufacturing and technology, KPMG was stumped.

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