Distract Your Inner Critic


I have written before about the evils of multi-tasking and especially task-switching. However I’d like to offer a caveat.

One part of the brain – the critic – is logical, rational, judgmental, and oriented to language and analysis. Distract this part with Continue reading “Distract Your Inner Critic”

How to Keep an Idea Log You Will Actually Use

Me & Steven Johnson

Earlier this week, Steven Johnson came to the London School of Economics to present his new book, Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation. This thought leader’s fascinating talk was sponsored by my department.

(You can watch the video or download the podcast on the LSE Events website.)

At the end of his talk, I asked Johnson to explain how we as individuals can come up with more “good ideas”.

Steven described his method: Continue reading “How to Keep an Idea Log You Will Actually Use”

Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Berlin Johnson at South by Southwest in...
Steven Berlin Johnson at SXSW 2008 (via Wikipedia)

On November 2nd I will be chairing a free event in London about creativity and innovation.  Steven Johnson, best-selling nonfiction author of Mind Wide Open and Everything Bad is Good for You will be presenting his latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation.

I am super excited to meet Steven Johnson, whose writings have inspired my own thinking about how technology is shaping the future of human creativity. He’s been one of my modern intellectual role models since I read his 2005 post and New York Times Book Review essay about how he uses DevonThink to mine his past creative ideas and prior research and to write books (more on that below*). I love the sophisticated and far-reaching way that SBJ analyzes and predicts how emerging tools, innovations, and trends will impact human behavior. Continue reading “Where Good Ideas Come From”

Creative Current at Future Human Salon

Creativity gets people riled up. That was one thing I learned as a panelist at “Creative Current,” the topic of Wednesday night’s Future Human salon, run by Bad Idea magazine and held at The Book Club in my lovely neighborhood of Shoreditch.  The other panelists included Paul Epworth (2010 Brit Awards’ Music Producer of the Year, of Bloc Party / Florence / Plan B fame) and Tiger Savage (former Creative Director at M&C Saatchi, recent creator of Tigers Eye consulting). Continue reading “Creative Current at Future Human Salon”

Make Your Readers Love You: 5 Lessons from Pixar

Link: Make Your Readers Love You: 5 Lessons from Pixar

This post from Copyblogger describes five clever “rules” derived from Pixar for “making readers love you.” I think they’re rock-solid recommendations for managers, bloggers, writers, and commercial artists of all kinds:
1. Be consistent and build trust
2. Take the time to do things right
3. Tell a story that connects
4. Know yourself, your product, and your team
5. Now, make it your own

How To Pitch Ideas like Don Draper & Why to Think About It Early

When it comes to turning creativity into innovation, how an idea is pitched is probably more important than what the idea is.  Creators often want to spend time perfecting the idea and run out of gas when it comes to developing the presentation.  I’ve seen it happen time and again in my work facilitating product innovation teams.

Visualizing the pitch during the idea generation stage is essential. Thinking about how to frame your idea will help you make your idea simpler, tighter, more coherent, and more valuable. Imagining your pitch is a very useful constraint during the creative process.  So don’t wait until you’ve decided on your idea to start thinking about how to sell it!   This is especially if your audience is likely to perceive your idea as a risky departure from the status quo.

This video shows Mad Men’s beloved Don Draper pitching an idea nearly perfectly.  Memorable story line?  Check.  Metaphor?  Check.  Characters?  Check.  Personal?  Check.  Emotional?  Check.  Vivid?   See for yourself….

(I used this video when David Reimer and I taught a workshop on pitching and presenting ideas – something we called “The How” – for Haas@Work, the Applied Innovation program at the Haas School of Business. –> If you’d like me to write more about pitching and presenting please contact me or write a quick comment below.)

TIP: If you need to pitch ideas to make innovation happen, I highly recommend Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick. Tons of free resources are available on their website to supplement the book, including the first chapter if you register.  Happy pitching!