Thursday, August 9, 2018

Are You Creative?

For some time now, I've been delivering creative & critical thinking workshops through-out North America. It is one of the most misunderstood elements in business and the realm of human behavior.

Recently, in working with a new client, I've decided to enhance the workshop and its contents.  It will include decision-making, strategy, and fostering an innovative culture....pretty exciting stuff. 

In enhancing the workshop, I'll be doing the same with the companion book Brain on Fire, Unleashing Your Creative Superpowers

I've been re-reading it and I realized how much I enjoyed writing it and how passionate I am about the messages it holds. So while I'm updating it, I'm offering the 1st edition free (though you can get it on Amazon Kindle and Book version if you prefer). The link to the free version is below. Feel free to share with friends, family and colleagues.

I've created an audio track on SoundCloud of this excerpt with the sound of thundering in the background due to the sudden appearance of a thunderstorm - compliments of Mother Nature...I decided to leave it. :-)

(By the way, this was one of my mega sessions at SHRM national a few years ago with the title Creative & Innovative Thinking - The Next New Skill.)

Here's an excerpt:

| Preface

I remember many camping trips as a young teenager. It grew to be a love that carried into my adult life. 

Besides the sheer joy I developed being in nature, detached from the everyday bustle and grind, I loved the challenge of living off the land – sort of. 

I wasn’t hard core but a practiced novice at the basics; gathering firewood, cooking everything over an open fire, including coffee with an old camping coffee pot. I loved setting up the tent, preparing the sleeping bags and arranging the campsite to get the best cozy, campy feeling possible.

My particular pleasure was the challenge of starting a fire without cheating. Cheating involved newspaper or lighter fluid. That would feel like utter defeat and an insult to fellow tent campers everywhere. No, it had to be started with authentic elements of the woods. 

I began with the thinnest, tiniest twigs assembled in a square, “teepee” type formation with such delicate precision, one match (yes the one modern allowance) was all I needed to ignite what grew into a large, blazing fire.

The key to the success of what I eventually termed “the one match challenge” was the choices of twigs, their strategic arrangement and the deliberate timing and addition of certain sized twigs. One twig too big or a formation that didn’t allow enough oxygen and the match flame would quickly peter out.

I see a significant similarity with another love of mine, helping people discover and connect with their creative power. I see the act of generating ideas, engaging in the creative experience much the same as starting a campfire. It takes the right conditions with the right elements combined with a strategic method (and a few other components) to get a blazing, sustaining, fire of ideas going. 

I’ve discovered most people don’t know that. People in general and leaders of companies need to know that now more than ever.

Or, they may have experienced small, periodic flames that can be easily doused, but they really don’t know how to build or have rarely encountered a substantial, sustaining fire. 

Many have no idea what’s possible. Because of that, company leaders are unaware of the amount of money left on the table, profits never realized, talent gone untapped and undeveloped.

Many don’t know how to build the type of fire that is raging, like one acting as nature’s furnace on a cold, crisp night. They’ve not experienced one built so expertly that even in the morning glowing embers can be coaxed back to a breakfast fire with a few gentle puffs.

You know those kinds of fires – the stubborn ones. They’re difficult to extinguish. They still have a few tiny tenacious flames persistently pushing through the wet ash determined to survive.

Most people have not encountered that kind of creative experience; like a substantial sustained campfire, sometimes raging when needed, yet embers continuously aglow. 

It’s the kind of experience where…
thereis a constant source and steady flame of ideas
generatingideas feels so fun and effortless
the creative period wakes you up and keeps you up
what you produce surprises you, over and over again
you’rein disbelief of what you’re capable of
there is a creative flow so intense it’s as if you’re having an out of body experience 
you’re so in the zone, you don’t want to stop
you’rein so deep, you loose track of time
the creative energy is so powerful, it’s difficult to extinguish.

Everyone can and should have a creative experience like that!

This is your brain – on fire. It’s my definition. I use it to remind myself and articulate to others the scope and intensity of what’s possible. This phrase dramatically represents the power of our capability. At full strength, it feels like a superpower. Your mind is so supercharged that whatever it’s holding can’t be contained like a volcano ready to erupt.

| My Spark is Your Spark

Of course a fire can begin with a simple spark and I’m always amazed at how quickly a spark can spread into a raging fire.  A spark with the right conditions can be overwhelming and unstoppable.

That’s what I wish for this book. I’ve desired to write it for sometime as a companion to my workshops and more generally to provide a more accessible platform from which to proclaim its essential messages.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive resource on creativity, but a spark that with use can generate and sustain a continuous, meaningful fire to serve exactly what you, your company or group needs. It’s intent is to light your fire, so that you can light others.

It’s designed is to be a non-academic (there are enough of those), simple, approachable, practical creativity manifesto -- a loyal talent companion. 

Enjoy it alone or share and use it within a group.  It’s written for individuals, corporate leaders, teams and teens in a way that anyone can read and gain immediate benefit. 

I want to help and inspire everyone to create and write a new story of their creative capability, the impact it can have and the contributions that can be made. 

Consider it your handbook and workbook – your fire guide to igniting the flames of your talent – emboldening your sense of personal power.

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done. Then they see it can be done. Then it is done and the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”

Frances Burnett

>  New Offering: Book a live virtual experience: Creative Thinking Session with your team - a fun, 1 hour event that can jump-start problem solving, ideation and critical thinking - plus get a complimentary digital copy of our book Brain on Fire for each attendee! (Great for a virtual lunch & learn) Download the info here: Power Up Your Thinking! | Book here

Access free copy - click here

Additional posts on the topic:
The Dilemma of Creative Thinking in the Workplace
11 Reasons Why Every Company Should Have A Creative Thinking Workshop ...At Least Once a Year
Innovation & Engagement - The Essential Power Couple
Are You on Locked Down?

Also check out my answers on Quora -- lots of questions about creativity there.

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