Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.
1.08.2003
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God Save The Queen...The BBC's Science web site highlights "best" inventions and their inventors including a recipe for making your own snow. While you're there check out Tomorrow's World their sister site. You may also visit their archive to see previous postings.

Best wishes to the Pure Content community for a prosperous (and inventive) 2003. -R.Schaffer

1.07.2003
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Absence of Judgement

“The biggest block to living a creative life is the voice of blame and criticism within each of us: the voice of judgement, or the VOJ for short. A good way to start dealing with it is to acknowledge that you have it…The VOJ assumes different forms. The voice inside of you is usually the most daunting – but there is also judgement by others, including cultural judgements such as rules of etiquette that discourage “unconventional” social behavior."

Wrestling with the VOJ

“There are times when we are tied into knots by anxiety and self-doubt. At that moment our minds are so jammed with negative chatter that we cannot proceed with what we want to do…Another way of dealing with the VOJ is by putting it into perspective. You can do this by poking fun at it.”

-Daniel Goldman

(mind-set)(change perspective)(rule #17)


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“Applying context to creativity is simply a tool to focus your efforts.”

“Brainstorming sessions are designed to tap into multiple minds and perspectives to find the crumb of an idea that will flourish when fully developed…improve the environment. Markers and a whiteboard (or paper) are essential. We need to document ideas and look for patterns and thoughts that will move the session forward. Sticky notes are also good for recording and rearranging ideas.”

“Context must also be a part of the discussion – not to limit the thinking but to spur new ideas. If the creative group isn’t immersed in the problem – the client’s organization, culture, people, audience, issues, barriers and best practices – they’re not using key information to generate ideas.”

“I often say that if you do a great job of researching and understanding the situation and issues, the solution creates itself. And appropriately so – it’s new and innovative because it emerged directly from the problem. If you spend the majority of your time clearly defining the problem, you’re more than halfway there. An ill-defined problem begets a canned or preconceived solution.”

“…to be truly innovative, you must find a unique solution for what you know to be the unique business problem that’s presented to you.”

“Uncovering the problem doesn’t need to be an exhaustive effort, but rather a simple discussion with the true stakeholders to understand what the challenge is, why it has never been addressed before, what stands in the way of solving it and what’s expected to result from the solution.”

The Difference of Play…
“If a client approaches an advertising agency to solve a problem, the organizational predisposition is to deliver an advertising campaign.”

“…business drivers, audience needs, appropriate communication channels and influencers like branding, product, environment, competition and perceptions…designers must focus on the overarching needs of our audiences for clarity, understanding, readability and emphasis on key messages.”

“…intimately understand the business problem…Context provides the background that defines the business problem.”

“The concept of the triple bottom line – the solution must be good for the business (reduce costs, increase revenue), it must have a positive impact on the environment and it must be good for the communities in which the company operates.”

“We need to help the world understand what we do relative to business strategy, planning and problem-solving. Speak in your client’s terms, not in terms of color, type, shape, form and graphic gimmicks.”

-- Interview of Mark Oldach by Bryn Mooth. From June 2002 Eureka! Column.

(mindset)(change perspective)(innovation)(mechanisms)

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Good News for Men (and Women) in Black

It’s the bane of diners everywhere.

You’ve dressed in your most chic black. You greet your friends at the table, slip the napkin onto your lap and dig into the menu. The meal promises to be good, but the damage is done: your lap is covered in a veil of white fuzz.

If you go to Aubergine in Newport Beach, California, however, there is someone watching out for you. On your way to the table, the waiter takes note of any dark pants and skirts, and as you’re seated, a black napkin is slipped onto the table in place of the white.

Blue Fin, which opened recently in Manhattan, improves this by a degree. All of its napkins are black. “A lot of women wear black,” Steve Hanson, an owner, said, “and they’re always complaining about lint.” He plans to supply all of his restaurants, including Ocean Grill and Ruby Foo’s, with stacks of black napkins.

Genius, right? But what took restaurants so long? At Blue Fin, it’s happy coincidence – black napkins were chosen because they looked good on tables. At Aubergine, the black napkin was suggested by a longtime customer, a man who wore dark suits. He should have patented it.

-- Amanda Hesser; The New York Times
(innovation)(customer service)


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Am I Good Enough?

A journey of any magnitude is bound to raise some stock-taking before the moment of embarkation. As a consequence, there are several questions that we often ask ourselves whenever we set out on any journey into uncharted domains. These types of questions are the same ones neophyte art students and even certain more experienced artists ask themselves whenever they engage in the creative process and in so doing stand in their own way: Am I skilled enough? Am I smart enough? Am I talented enough? Am I sensitive enough? Am I …enough?

These questions are always lethal when asked at the outset of a creative engagement because there are always two answers to each question, both of which are always true, always opposed to each other, and always wrong. The first answer to any of the questions is: No! We are never skilled, smart, or talented enough, because there is always more we can be, and if we were smarter we would do different and probably better things. Compared with at least someone else on the planet, we most likely are not the smartest. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Quite opposed to this first answer is the equally true response: Yes! We are smart enough, simply because at any point in time we can only be exactly who we are and what we are. We will only and always be what we are at that moment. If we were smarter, we would be smarter, but still exactly who we are, doing what we are doing exactly what we are doing, wanting to be smarter. That will be true until our dying day and then some. While we wait because something is lacking in our makeup, life is inexorably going on. Our visitation privileges are running out. So, we might as well start getting down to work because, like it or not, our time is running out.
However we respond to the question, “Am I ... enough?”, be it yes or no, the answer will always be destructive. We can never win the encounter with such a question, because the very underlying assumption of “Am I ... enough?” is a faulty appraisal of the human condition and a false understanding of what it does take to engage in creative enterprises.

This false assumption is that we must be or have enough of something in order to successfully engage in creative activities.

-- Peter London; Awakening the Artist Within
(rule #17)(skinned knees)(what if)

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“The standard you measure yourself by is, Have you learned something? Often you learn more from failures than you do from success; they’re often more interesting experiences in retrospect. You learn to obey your instincts. The logical process will often be the safe one. I tend, when I’m given that choice, to go the way that’s not safe.”

Rick Fields et al., Chop Wood, Carry Water
(skinned knees)

1.06.2003
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“I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.”

Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)
(discovery through discussion)



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“The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.”

John Galsworthy, author, Nobelist (1867-1933)
(confusion tolerance)



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Continuous Improvement & Innovation- “Continuous improvements in any area eventually transform the operation. They lead to product innovation. They lead to service innovation. They lead to new processes. They lead to new businesses. Eventually continuous improvements lead to fundamental change.”

Peter F. Drucker, excerpt from article: “The Change Leader,” Peter F. Drucker, National Productivity Review, Spring 2000, p. 16.

(innovation)

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To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, /
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour.

-William Blake, poet, engraver, and painter (1757-1827)

(lams)

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“You need to be constantly looking for vulnerabilities you can address and opportunities you can capitalize on. In other words, you need to innovate, coming up with new products and services, new markets, maybe even new businesses, as you work on optimizing the ones you already have.”

Joe Stack, president and CEO of SRC Holdings Corp., formerly Springfield Remanufacturing Corp., based in Springfield, Missouri. SRC developed a system that allowed them to start businesses using resources we already had and a minimum of capital. The system became a principal tool not only for growing and diversifying the company but also for generating a passion for innovation. (“The Innovator’s Rule Book,” Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham, INC Magazine, April 2002, pgs 67-74.)
(mechanisms)

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“But passion and interest – a person’s internal desire to do something – are what intrinsic motivation is all about. For instance, the scientist in our example would be intrinsically motivated if her work on the blood-clotting drug was sparked by an intense interest in hemophilia, a personal sense of challenge, or a drive to crack a problem that no one else has been able to solve. When people are intrinsically motivated, they engage in their work for the challenge and enjoyment of it. The work itself is motivating. In fact, in our creativity research, my students, colleagues, and I have found so much evidence in favor of intrinsic motivation that we have articulated what we call the Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself – and not by external pressures.”

(Amabile, Teresa, “How to Kill Creativity,” Havard Business Review, Sept-Oct 1998, p. 79.)
(passion)


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Every bit of solid theory and evidence demonstrates that it is impossible to generate a few good ideas without also generating a lot of bad ideas. Former Time Warner chairman Steve Ross had a philosophy that people who didn’t make enough mistakes should be fired. That’s an anomaly, though. Few companies tolerate failure, let alone reward it.

If you want a creative organization, inaction is the worst kind of failure – and the only kind that deserves to be punished. Researcher Dean Keith Simonton provides strong evidence from multiple studies that creativity results from action. Renowned geniuses like Picasso, da Vinci, and physicist Richard Feynman didn’t succeed at a higher rate than their peers. They simply produced more, which meant that they had far more successes and failures than their unheralded colleagues. In every occupation Simonton studied, from composers, artists, and poets to inventors and scientists, the story is the same: Creativity is a function of the quantity of work produced. These findings mean that measuring whether people are doing something-or nothing-is one of the ways to assess the performance of people who do creative work.

(Robert I. Sutton, “The Weird Rules of Creativity, Harvard Business Review, Sept 2001, pgs. 101-102.)

(skinned knees)

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“The creative process requires real courage—the courage t genuinely engage with the new. The energy, spontaneity, and passion for the work cannot be faked.”

Jerry Hirshberg, author of The Creative Priority: Driving Innovative Business in the Real World, as interview for the article, “Living with the Creative Priority,” Fay Hansen, HR Focus, July 1998, p. 14.

(rule #17)


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“We operate the way a great jazz band plays. There is a leader, and each member is playing the same piece, but they can improvise on the theme.”

Yrjo Neuvo (aka Mr. Advice), head of R&D at Nokia, who considers it his missionary duty to break down his people’s mental inhibitions, freeing their minds to roam toward the next big breakthrough. He has managed to perfect the balancing act of unleashing the combined creative energy of thousands of engineers without being swamped by anarchy.

“You need to have your finger in the wind in many places to fuel the imagination.”

Neuvo discusses the need to have R&D offices spread throughout different sites, rather than housed in a central facility around company headquarters.

“He encourages people to do crazy things if they believe their crazy idea is right.”

Veteran Nokia engineer, Erkki Kuisma, discusses how Neuvo constantly prowls the far-flung R&D labs, prodding engineers to be audacious in pursuit of their scientific muse. He makes it clear that no idea is too harebrained to receive a hearing. (“Nokia’s Hit Factory,” Paul Kaihla, Business 2.0, August 2002, pgs 66-67)

(taih)

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“Poets deal largely in simile and metaphor, those seemingly unlikely verbal analogies that can express a truth deeper than the words themselves. Paradigm shifts that spark scientific revolutions start with someone making a connection between ideas that the intellectual establishment supposes to be unrelated. Of course, creativity is not just making any old “unlikely” analogy. The trick lies in recognizing just the right analogy out of the multitude of potential analogies. How the mind does that is the true mystery.”

William Poundstone
(what if)

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“The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accord with nature in her manner of operation.”

John Cage, composer (1912-1992)
(change perspective)


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“It taught me to ask the right questions rather than come up with the right answers.”

- The response of a CEO, when asked how law school helped prepare him to be a business leader. Jim Collins talks of how only one company that was studied for his book Good to Great had an MBA. The most common CEO background was law.
(discovery through discussion)



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“Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort.”

Charles Dickens, novelist (1812-1870)
(confusion tolerance)



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…a profound truth about the economics of innovation: implementation matters far more than invention.

The technology that went into what Wal-Mart did was not brand new and not especially at the technological frontiers, but when it was combined with the firm’s managerial and organizational innovations, the impact was huge.

…the key variables are the roles of imitation, adaption and organizational innovation that he believes traditional economists either minimize or ignore. Robert Solow, MIT Nobel Prize winning economics professor says, “Our historical research emphasis focusing on measuring R&D spending as a proxy for innovation is probably a mistake,” he observes. “I do think that’s a gap—that we don’t look enough at organizational innovation as in this Wal-Mart case.”

Michael Schrage, “In the Weeds” column, Technology Review, March 2002. He says that Wal Mart’s application of innovative technology in its IT infrastructure is more responsible for an increase in productivity than the many innovations which can be characterized by “Moore’s Law”, which serves as a good axiom to describe the output of innovations, but doesn’t clearly represent how these innovations are applied to increase overall economic productivity. In that context, Wal-Mart is the biggest factor.
(innovation)

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"If you want to see the future coming, 90 percent of what you need to learn, you¹ll learn outside of your industry. There is nothing that you can learn from inside your industry that will help you get ready for the future. Literally nothing, because you already know it. "

-Gary Hamel, author Leading the Revolution
(lams)



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Dana Corporation (Auto Parts maker)- Instructors at Dana University offer classes on how to come up with better ideas, and awards and luncheons are used to recognize and reward the best idea generators. The result of all of these mechanisms to spur suggestions: In 1996, each of Dana’s 45,500 employees submitted 1.22 ideas per month- for a total of 666,120 suggestions. Astonishingly, 70 percent of ideas are used.

(“Changing Roles: Leadership in the 21st Century,” Gregory G. Dess & Joseph C. Picken, Organizational Dynamics, Winter 2000, p. 31.
(mechanisms)

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“When an artist is really excited and does a sculpture day and night, then he is energized by it, because it’s in his hands and he owns it. This is how you get art. Our artists aren’t just closing their eyes and waiting until the innovation comes. We are innovating all the time.”

- Yrjo Neuvo (aka Mr. Advice), head of R&D at Nokia, who considers it his missionary duty to break down his people’s mental inhibitions, freeing their minds to roam toward the next big breakthrough. He has managed to perfect the balancing act of unleashing the combined creative energy of thousands of engineers without being swamped by anarchy. .(“Nokia’s Hit Factory,” Paul Kaihla, Business 2.0, August 2002, pgs 70)
(passion)

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Acer- If a manager at Acer, the Taiwan-based computer company, takes an intelligent risk and makes a mistake, even a costly one, CEO Stan Shih writes the loss of as tuition payment for the manager’s education. Such a culture must permeate the enitre organization. As a high-tech executive recently told us during an inteerview: “Every person must have the freedom to fail.”

(“Changing Roles: Leadership in the 21st Century,” Gregory G. Dess & Joseph C. Picken, Organizational Dynamics, Winter 2000, p. 31.
(skinned knees)


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“…the biggest threat to growth and innovation comes from excessive control. Good leaders foster the courage for the staff to take those delicate and precarious first steps into uncharted territory and then to rally around that new idea, nurture it, and follow where it leads.”

Jerry Hirshberg, author of The Creative Priority: Driving Innovative Business in the Real World, as interview for the article, “Living with the Creative Priority,” Fay Hansen, HR Focus, July 1998, p. 13.
(rule #17)


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“Everything you've learned in school as `obvious' becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.”

R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect (1895-1983)

(taih)


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“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but.”

Francis Bacon
(what if)



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“…When I’m creating, the creating is the joy. The song coming, oh my god, what’s this doing, it’s writing itself. It’s like I’m watching somebody else doing it. I remember I struggled all morning, six hours, the day I wrote ‘Nowhere Man,’ in 1964, and I finally gave up. I lay down on the couch, I was really depressed, can’t write a song, and as I lay down, exhausted, and because I was no longer centered on ‘I have to write a song,’ all of a sudden…I picked up a guitar and the whole damn thing was there. All these songs came like that; I was not trying. Soon as I tried, it would go away.”

(“Conversations with Lennon,” by Lisa Robinson, Vanity Fair, November 2001)
(change perspective)



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"Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish." - Ovid
(inspiration)


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(Jim) Collins found that the management teams at the best companies shared a predilection for heated dialogue. Teams need to challenge assumptions, even the boss’s, to keep innovation on track.

(“What Makes a Great Leader,” Joshua Macht, Business 2.0, p. 74.)
(discovery through discussion)



 Brad

the tower of power

I think I might have written about this before, but Time has added it to their "Best Inventions of 2002." It's a tower in the Australian Outback that will heat air and send it up, powering turbines. It'll be over a half-mile high (1 kilometer tall, for the Metric-enabled), and, if it works, will power over 200,000 Australian homes. Here's Time's blurb about the tower: Solar Tower.

the tower of power


For more on this technology and project, check out enviroMission.

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“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.”

Chuck Reid
(confusion tolerance)



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“You need to be constantly looking for vulnerabilities you can address and opportunities you can capitalize on. In other words, you need to innovate, coming up with new products and services, new markets, maybe even new businesses, as you work on optimizing the ones you already have.”

Joe Stack, president and CEO of SRC Holdings Corp., formerly Springfield Remanufacturing Corp., based in Springfield, Missouri. SRC developed a system that allowed them to start businesses using resources we already had and a minimum of capital. The system became a principal tool not only for growing and diversifying the company but also for generating a passion for innovation. “The Innovator’s Rule Book,” Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham, INC Magazine, April 2002, pgs 67-74.
(innovation)


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“Reading is seeing by proxy.”
-Herbert Spencer, philosopher (1820-1903)
(lams)



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Winnebago- Bruce Hertzke, the CEO of Winnebago Industries, has his picture taken with every employee who wins a Cost Savings Award, a program that rewards rank and file workers for cost-saving suggestions. Every Friday at 9 am, Hertzke hands ou the checks, form the $5 that Sue Albrecht won for her idea to remove two unneeded pieces of aluminum from a sidewall, to the $1,200 Chris Anderson received for suggesting that ceiling carpet be glued to its cardboard backing before it’s die cut. The program works because employees take it seriously. All reasonable suggestions submitted — an impressive 10,355 since the program began in 1991 — are investigated by two full-time employees. The company has ended up implementing fully a third of these ideas, and employees have won more than $500,000 (they receive 10% of what the company saves in the first year.) Winnebago says the program’s first-year savings have added up to $5.8 million. (Business 2.0, Feb. 2002, p. 51)
(mechanisms)(teamwork)(honoring)

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“What counts for a lot in this company is how committed the engineers themselves are. We tell the engineer, ‘Go sell this guy.’ We pick the key people, and we aim the engineer like a missile.”

- Erik Anderson of Nokia, describes how Nokia’s engineers are coached on how and to whom they should use their passion for work to sell new ideas to company brass.(“Nokia’s Hit Factory,” Paul Kaihla, Business 2.0, August 2002, pgs 69)
(passion)



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“In art as in science, the essential thing is to try out. On the one hand, to try out oppositions of colour or harmonizing themes or combinations of words, then to reject what you don’t like. On the other hand, to try things: to try ideas, each idea that doesn’t work experimentally and accept what does work, even if that goes against our tastes and biases. Most of the time such attempts lead nowhere. But sometimes the most outlandish experiment happens to open up a new trail.”

(Francis Jacob, “Imagination in Art and In Science,” The Kenyon Review, Vol. XXIII, No.2, Spring 2001, pg. 118)
Francois Jacob won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1965. His work has dealt mainly with the genetic mechanisms existing in bacteria and bacteriophages and with the biochemical effects of mutations.
(skinned knees)


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“There never was a genius without a tincture of madness.”

Aristotle (384-322 BC)
(rule #17)


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I’m the guy with the wedge…I keep driving it into small places and opening them up to see if there’s more room for expression.”

Michael Moschen, a juggler/”movement artist” who was interview for an article regarding inspiration in “Inspiration a la Carte,” How, June 2000, Jenny Sullivan.
(taih)


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“The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”

Thomas Babington Macaulay, author and statesman (1800-1859)
(what if)



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“Creativity without productivity is not possible. It often requires holding two apparently disconnected or even conflicting thoughts simultaneously, and providing people with an environment where they can do this. It may mean stepping back from the work or temporarily disengaging from the task to gain a new perspective. It may mean ending a meeting without full closure. It requires great effort and leadership to encourage these periods of disengagement and provide that mental stretch which is sometimes crucial to resolving a difficult problem or answering a complex question.”

Jerry Hirshberg, author of The Creative Priority: Driving Innovative Business in the Real World, as interview for the article, “Living with the Creative Priority,” Fay Hansen, HR Focus, July 1998, p. 14.
(change perspective)


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“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of
discussion”. -Plato, philosopher (427-347 BCE)
(inspiration)



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“A charismatic CEO can win every argument regardless of the facts. A non-charismatic CEO has to win on the merits of the argument.”

- Jim Collins, as interviewed in “What Makes a Great Leader,” Joshua Macht, Business 2.0, p. 74.
(discovery through discussion)


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“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

Niels Bohr, physicist (1885-1962)
(confusion tolerance)


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“Invention is a flower, innovation is a weed.”

- Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor and founder of 3Com commented in an essay (Technology Review, Nov-Dec 1999).

In a recent column for Technology Review (Jan-Feb 2002), Michael Schrage goes on to explain, “That is, an original idea can be brilliant, profound and compelling—but what ultimately gives it power and influence is that it spreads. Great ideas aren’t enough; they have to be adoptable and adaptable. They have to thrive outside the nurturing greenhouse and the loving gardener’s care.”
(innovation)


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You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created. –Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)
(iams)



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Dana Corp.- everyone is expected to pitch two ideas a month into a plain, old-fashioned suggestion system. (B20, 2-2002, p45)
(mechanisms)



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“Music, just like solving technological problems, necessitates solitary concentration. It’s all about being fascinated by systems, the way things work and are put together.”

- Chris Mandra, executive producer of NPR online. He has a master’s degree in music and he has expanded NPR online’s content and technology backbone, leading to a fourfold increase in site traffic. He’s also a guitarist in a band. (Adam Baer, “Chris Mandra, Radio Star” Business 2.0, August 2002, p. 96.)
(passion)


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“You have to put your corporation’s destiny into the hands of someone you wouldn’t want your daughter dating.”

Walter Wriston, Citibank CEO (“Changing Roles: Leadership in the 21st Century,” Gregory G. Dess & Joseph C. Picken, Organizational Dynamics, Winter 2000, p. 31.

(skinned knees)


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“To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, and physician (1808-1894)
(rule #17)



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“…we must go beyond thinking about unmet needs to thinking about unperceived needs. That takes a creative, intuitive leap.”

Jerry Hirshberg, author of The Creative Priority: Driving Innovative Business in the Real World, as interview for the article, “Living with the Creative Priority,” Fay Hansen, HR Focus, July 1998, p. 14.
(taih)


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When asked what makes the difference between creative scientists and those who are less creative, the Nobel – prize winning physicist Arthur Schawlow said, “The labor-of-love aspect is important. The most successful scientists often are not the most talented, but the ones who are just impelled by curiosity.

(Amabile, Teresa, “How to Kill Creativity,” Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct 1998, p. 80.)
(what if)



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"If you want to see the future coming, 90 percent of what you need to learn, you¹ll learn outside of your industry. There is nothing that you can learn from inside your industry that will help you get ready for the future. Literally nothing, because you already know it. "

-Gary Hamel, author Leading the Revolution
(change perspective)


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"If you want to see the future coming, 90 percent of what you need to learn, you¹ll learn outside of your industry. There is nothing that you can learn from inside your industry that will help you get ready for the future. Literally nothing, because you already know it. "

-Gary Hamel, author Leading the Revolution
(inspiration)



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"One man interacting creatively with others can change the world."

- John W.Gardner (founder of Franklin-Covey)

(discovery through discussion)


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“But in business the rules change continuously, and the playing field is segmented and very complex and seemingly chaotic.”

Jerry Hirshberg, author of The Creative Priority: Driving Innovative Business in the Real World, as interview for the article, “Living with the Creative Priority,” Fay Hansen, HR Focus, July 1998, p. 14.

(confusion tolerance)


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“When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

-R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect (1895-1983)

(innovation)



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When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

-John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

(iams)



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“I support organized creativity. I know it sounds oxymoronic, but you can’t lead anything ad-libbing. Planning is crucial.”

“What you plan to accomplish should be clear. How you do it can be highly innovative.”

Dr. Lorrain Monroe. She is founder of the alternative Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem. As its principal, she convinced a generation of inner-city students that they could rise above violence and mediocrity and compete for admission into the nation’s most prestigious universities. The school is now ranked among the top 10 high schools in NYC. She is now executive director of the School Leadership Academy at the Center for Educational Innovation in NYC.

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To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.

— Kahlil Gibran, mystic, poet, and artist (1883-1931)

(passion)



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"…dead ends can sometimes be very enlightening. In many business situations, knowing what doesn’t work can be as useful as knowing what does. But if people do not perceive any “failure value” for projects that ultimately do not achieve commercial success, they’ll become less and less likely to experiment, explore, and connect with their work on a personal level. Their intrinsic motivation will evaporate."

(Teresa M. Amabile, “How to Kill Creativity,” Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct 1998, p. 83)

(skinned knees)

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“The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”

Japanese proverb

(rule #17)

 Brad

backlogs

At Play, as we gather content from the world around us, we don't always get the chance to post it here. We try, but there's a lot of it, as you'll soon see. We have an army of "college associates" in the Play office, and one of the things they're working on is posting some of our backlog of content to the blog. As always, please feel free to post your own comments and thoughts — either in response to a post or as a new post.

And if you want to subscribe to the blog (daily bursts of content in your Inbox), enter your e-mail address in the box on the top right of the page. Cheers.

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“All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.”

Ambrose Bierce, writer (1842-1914)

(Think About It Harder / TAIH)

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In offices that lack proper “relaxation” or “stress-out” rooms, frazzled employees are seeking peace in their office toilets. At the World Toilet Summit in Singapore in November 2001, Scottish psychologist Alex Gardner told delegates that offices are increasingly providing privacy for workers. He recommended that companies should offer appropriate relaxation areas for staff members to take a break.

(“A Quiet Place for Reflection,” People Management, December 2001, pg. 8.)

(change perspective)


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With enough 'ifs' we could put Paris in a bottle.

-French saying

(what if)

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“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

(inspiration)


 fruit

“Creativity will have more value than intellectual capital.”

- Fiona Caufield from Faith Popcorn

(mindset)

 fruit

Re: Creative Process - The process of creative thought might not differ between the everyday thought of every individual and the rare thoughts that earn a place in history. “These small acts of creativity, though they differ in scope, are not different in kind from the brilliant leaps of an Einstein. Creativity is commonplace in cognition, not an esoteric gift bequeathed only to a few.”

(Schank, R., and Cleary, C. 1995. The Creative Cognition Approach, p 229 / Referenced in the article, “Creativity at the Metalevel, Bruce G. Buchanan, AAAI, Fall 2001)

(mindset)

 fruit

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
- Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, and musician (1875-1965)

(inspiration)

 fruit

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
– Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

(change perspective)

who / what / why

At Play we create brands, strategies, new products, and better cultures for Fortune 100 companies. Our formula for creativity: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." Pure Content is one place where we do that, daily.

the cool kids' table

Ben Domenech
(politics, football, and a boatload of know-how)

Creative Generalist
(if Pure Content had a doppelganger ...)

Heath Row
(punk + business
+ creativity = Heath)

search

go go gadget google:



stuck in an airport

architecture
A Pattern Language

business
Creative Company
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity

life
The Little Prince

philosophy
Wittgenstein's Poker

physics
The Dancing Wu Li Masters

sociology
The Tipping Point

new to you

04/27/2003 - 05/03/2003 04/20/2003 - 04/26/2003 04/13/2003 - 04/19/2003 04/06/2003 - 04/12/2003 03/30/2003 - 04/05/2003 03/23/2003 - 03/29/2003 03/16/2003 - 03/22/2003 03/09/2003 - 03/15/2003 03/02/2003 - 03/08/2003 02/23/2003 - 03/01/2003 02/16/2003 - 02/22/2003 02/09/2003 - 02/15/2003 02/02/2003 - 02/08/2003 01/26/2003 - 02/01/2003 01/19/2003 - 01/25/2003 01/12/2003 - 01/18/2003 01/05/2003 - 01/11/2003 12/29/2002 - 01/04/2003 12/22/2002 - 12/28/2002 12/15/2002 - 12/21/2002 12/08/2002 - 12/14/2002 12/01/2002 - 12/07/2002 11/24/2002 - 11/30/2002 11/17/2002 - 11/23/2002 11/10/2002 - 11/16/2002 11/03/2002 - 11/09/2002 10/27/2002 - 11/02/2002 10/20/2002 - 10/26/2002 10/13/2002 - 10/19/2002 10/06/2002 - 10/12/2002 09/29/2002 - 10/05/2002 09/22/2002 - 09/28/2002 09/15/2002 - 09/21/2002 09/08/2002 - 09/14/2002 09/01/2002 - 09/07/2002 08/25/2002 - 08/31/2002 08/18/2002 - 08/24/2002 08/11/2002 - 08/17/2002 08/04/2002 - 08/10/2002 07/28/2002 - 08/03/2002 07/21/2002 - 07/27/2002 07/14/2002 - 07/20/2002 07/07/2002 - 07/13/2002 06/30/2002 - 07/06/2002 06/23/2002 - 06/29/2002 06/16/2002 - 06/22/2002 06/09/2002 - 06/15/2002 06/02/2002 - 06/08/2002 05/26/2002 - 06/01/2002 05/19/2002 - 05/25/2002 05/12/2002 - 05/18/2002 05/05/2002 - 05/11/2002 04/28/2002 - 05/04/2002 04/21/2002 - 04/27/2002 04/14/2002 - 04/20/2002 04/07/2002 - 04/13/2002 03/31/2002 - 04/06/2002 03/24/2002 - 03/30/2002 03/17/2002 - 03/23/2002 03/10/2002 - 03/16/2002 03/03/2002 - 03/09/2002 02/24/2002 - 03/02/2002 02/17/2002 - 02/23/2002 current

see our neighbors
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