Nurture Creativity By Building Supportive Environment

Every so often I run across articles on some aspect of creativity. This week I found an article on nurturing creativity by building a supportive environment. It’s a recent study co-authored by professors from Rice University here in Houston and the Barcelona School of Management in Spain. I’ve reflected the study’s findings here in this blog post.

Creativity in children develops their spirits. Playing at or with almost anything spurs their creativity. (I wish this could be said about most adults.) Coaxing creativity from adults is more challenging. Creativity in adults enriches productivity — especially at the office.

Creativity is where ideas come from; ideas form the basis for innovation. In an increasingly competitive world economy, it’s innovation that allows businesses to survive and thrive. This makes creativity a prized commodity in the job market. For managers, cultivating creativity in their workforce is a crucial professional skill. (Note: Yet I think creativity is still a very undervalued skill, if not misunderstood.)

Current academic research takes a more holistic look. By studying the interaction between the character traits of the worker or the team, the leader or the supervisor, and the prevailing atmosphere at the workplace, researchers are unveiling new insights.

Studies show, for example, that the benefits of benevolent leadership expand when workers recognize creativity as an important component of their role. Not only that, creativity is highest in employees who experience high levels of both positive and negative moods and feel supported by their supervisors. Other research finds that leaders who empower their workers get a greater payback in creativity.

To explore these findings further, *Zhou and Hoever developed a typology that sorts out research about workplace creativity based on interactions between the worker (which they call the “actor”) and the workplace (which they call “context”).

The best-case scenario is a positive actor in a positive context, a mix that is synergistic for creativity. Worst case: When a positive actor languishes in a negative context or, similarly, when a negative actor stews in a positive context. At the extreme end of possibility, a negative actor in a negative context is downright antagonistic to creativity, Zhou and Hoever found.

There’s one final type of employee-workplace interaction: the “configurational” experience, which includes factors that are neutral in shaping creativity, but, when combined with other factors, cause a kind of chemical reaction that boosts or blocks creativity.

Zhou’s research serves up some bad news and good news for managers. Choosing and hiring employees who are creative is not enough, it turns out. If your workplace is discouraging, creativity will wither in almost anyone. On the brighter side, cultivate a nurturing environment and creative tendrils may sprout even in the most no-nonsense workers. Best of all, good managers can build a nurturing greenhouse environment. Practically speaking, it means that companies can and should train supervisors to cultivate creativity in their management choices. (Hmmm, wonder what an 8-year old supervisor would do!)

Plenty of research gaps remain, however. To fill them, Zhou has outlined an ambitious agenda for future research, including a close look at the impact of workplaces on collective creativity; exploring as-yet unidentified factors in workers and work settings that spark creative thinking; and seeking ways to vanquish the effects of unsupportive environments.

Making creativity happen at work, in other words, isn’t child’s play. It is, in fact, hard work, especially if the environment is less than stimulating.

——

*Identifying the best circumstances to make creativity bloom is one of the driving questions in this study by Rice Business Professor Jing Zhou and colleague Inga J. Hoever, a professor at the Barcelona School of Management in Spain.

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

New Aspects of Creativity for 2022

Creativity can spring from a variety of different sources, some even unlikely. Behind each scenario is a person or persons developing the idea and following it through to completion. Below is a report on such creativity.

Each year, Fast Company reveals a new list of the Most Creative People in Business. The folks we highlight have accomplished something in the past year that no one in their field ever has before, something that’s already having a discernible and important impact.

As you’ll see, we take a different view of creativity than our fellow business media outlets do. To us, creativity isn’t limited to the fields typically thought of as “creative,” such as entertainment, marketing, or branding. We know that creativity is happening everywhere: science labs, law offices, parliamentary halls, and even the open seas—and thank goodness. Creativity is what leads people to fix the world’s most urgent problems.

The work that’s been done by this year’s cohort of 56 Most Creative People in Business showcases several ways that creativity can lead to bold and substantial change. Here are some of the lessons they offer, for 2022 and beyond.

Just do something

Dismayed by the rise in fentanyl overdoses among recreational drug users, Allison Heller and Dean Shold took action. Their organization, FentCheck, is putting drug-test strips where the users are, and saving lives. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana, is building a robust academic pipeline that’s creating more Black doctors and health industry leaders. Not content to live with the glaring vaccine inequity across the world, Baylor College infectious disease experts Maria Elena Bottazzi and Peter Hotez developed the first-ever open sourced COVID vaccine, called Corbevax, which has already been administered to tens of millions. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Pavel Vrzheshch redeployed the employees at his branding/ad agency as “creative warriors,” which led to the wide-reaching, Zelensky-endorsed “Be Brave like Ukraine” campaign.

Put people first

After Whitney Pegden noticed that Walmart delivery customers were bonding not just with the service but the delivery workers themselves, she expanded the program accordingly. With various societal needs exposed by the COVID pandemic, Norma Edith Garcia-Gonzalez converted LA’s county parks to health centers, shelters, and food pantries, with great results, and focused on helping (and employing) local youth. Audio engineer Heba Kadry enhances the connection between musical artists—such as Mdou Moctar and Japanes Breakfast—and their fans. Seniors thrive when they’re part of a community, which is why Selfhelp Realty Group’s Evelyn Wolff has built The Atrium at Sumner. As climate change makes hurricanes, floods, and wild fires more frequent and extreme, Resilience Force founder Saket Soni is standing up for disaster recovery workers, and securing them better employment terms.

Protect what’s important

Microsoft’s Tom Burt is calling upon his legal background to safeguard users’ data from hackers, thieves, and foreign adversaries. Through a logistics app called PRoduce, Crystal Díaz is restoring food sovereignty to Puerto Rico, which currently imports 85% of its food. Gina Asoudegan is bringing regenerative agriculture to supermarkets at scale with Applegate Farms’s new Do Good Dog. Knowing that a free (and robust) press is vital to our democracy, New York Times vets Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor have written a book called Chasing the Truth to share what they’ve learned with young journalists and encourage them to “engage with the world and make progress.”

Stand up to the giants

As the behemoths of Big Tech continue to grow even more dominant, several courageous individuals are finding innovative ways to keep their power in check. The EU’s Margrethe Vestager led the passage of two new landmark pieces of legislation that will go further than anything before to level the playing field worldwide. Gretchen Peters is working with lawmakers to expose organized crime on social media. Creative-thinking attorney Jay Edelson is leading winning lawsuits that protect users’ biometric data and more. And while there may be a ton of hype out there about the new world of “Web3,” Molly White sees right through it (and enables us see, too).

Blur the lines

Singer-songwriter Arooj Aftab has made the ancient art of ghazal feel brand new. Sort Of co-creator Bilal Baig positions gender-fluidity in a fresh and sensitive way. Fashion designer Kingsley Gbadegesin channels the queer community’s perspective (and has gained wider following because of it). Former YouTube superstar Casey Neistat chronicles the rise and fall of another YouTube star, David Dobrik, in a revealing documentary called Under the Influence. Puppetmaster Toby Olié figured out how to translate Spirited Away‘s ethereal characters to the stage. Unity’s Timoni West is transporting actual data into immersive digital worlds in order to solve real-life problems.

Run clean

Wind-powered charging buoys that power idling cargo ships at sea? Maersk’s Sebastian Klasterer Toft and David Samad are developing that. An electric speedboat that virtually flies above the water? Candela’s Gustav Hasselskog just built one. Meanwhile, Maxine Bédat wrote a widely read book (called Unraveled) about the pollution-heavy life cycle of a single pair of jeans and is now fighting, through her New Standard Institute, to hold the apparel industry accountable. Sharon Prince is fighting for accountability, too; she’s gotten construction industry leaders and major architecture firms on board to ensure that their materials aren’t produced with slave labor.

Make it fun

Mark Rober is the Willy Wonka of science. Kyla Scanlon uses a spoonful of sharp comedic timing to help to the financial education go down. Walt Disney Studios’s marketing chief Asad Ayaz keeps the multiverses spinning. With Twelve Minutes, Luis Antonio brings character study to gaming. In addition to being a world-class surfer, John John Florence has created a performance-wear and clothing line, Florence Marine X, that lets other surfers in on the creative action.

 

Thanks to Jill Bernstein of Fast Company for contributing the information.

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

 

Quotes . . .Quotes . . .

It’s that time of the month again wherein I present an array of quotes from a variety of well-respected folks offering numerous perspectives. From Obama to Burnett to Serling and more.

Take note. Take a listen. Take heed. Put ’em into practice if you can. Enjoy!

 

Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources, it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient, especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. – Barack Obama

Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.  – Mae Jemison

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance. — Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

The place to start in advertising is the basic selling appeal. An appeal that fulfills some existing need in the prospect’s mind, an appeal that can be readily understood and believed. — Morris Hite, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

I have learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one. — Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure. – George E. Woodberry

A teacher’s influence doesn’t stay in school. It goes out into the world and cannot truly ever be measured. Every student you inspire to do something great goes on to inspire others. There is no limit to your impact. – George Couros

It has forever been thus: So long as we write what we think, then all of the other freedoms – all of them – may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage. – Rod Serling

A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable. — Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one. — Alex Osborne, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

 

Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!

Special Edition: World Cancer Day Tomorrow

It comes around only once a year. However, research and breakthroughs take place 24/7/365. Tomorrow, February 4, is World Cancer Day and as a survivor I thought it best to interrupt my weekly creativity posts with this special alert.

Those of you currently battling cancer or know of someone who has cancer, this info is for you. Dealing with cancer is traumatic and expensive or it can be. Seek out a clinical trial and a non-profit foundation for support and assistance. Your oncologist and the social services department of the hospital can be of tremendous help.

World Cancer Day held every 4 February is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action, we are all working together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live. 

So this year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, “Close the Care Gap”, is all about raising awareness of this equity gap that affects almost everyone, in high as well as low- and middle-income countries, and is costing lives. 

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

What of Creativity in the 21st Century?

A lot of people have, over time, written about creativity. They’ve tried to define it, rationalize it and better understand it. There are opinions galore. The article I reference in this post offers another perspective on the subject of creativity in the here and now.

Creativity can be wonderful in its use and experience. Everyone enjoys that potential even if they don’t recognize it as one of their assets. It can also be quite frustrating during its process. Just think of giving birth to an original idea. Then developing that idea into something useful and meaningful. That can be rough sledding. It can also be a helluva lot of fun!

In so far as the state of creativity in the 21st Century, I ran across an article posted on Medium.com that addresses this subject. It’s quite interesting and I want to share it with you. See link below.

In his discussion, the author elaborates on three traits he feels are essential to develop a creative process that works for us and the people we serve:

  • Harnessing Flexibility is a Prerequisite
  • Seeking Collective Confidence and Collaboration
  • Having Empathy is the Key

Also, here’s a video clip from the late Sir Ken Robinson who was an expert on various aspects of creativity, especially how best to apply it in education.

Here’s the link to state of creativity in 21st Century.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

Select Quotes From Advertising and Education

Here’s a sample of select quotes from some of the great minds in advertising and education.

 

The arts, sciences, humanities, physical education, languages and maths all have equal and central contributions to make to a student’s education. – Ken Robinson

You can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance. – Ken Robinson

Whether or not you discover your talents and passions is partly a matter of opportunity. If you’ve never been sailing, or picked up an instrument, or tried to teach or to write fiction, how would you know if you had a talent for these things? – Ken Robinson

You can’t be a creative thinker if you’re not stimulating your mind, just as you can’t be an Olympic athlete if you don’t train regularly. – Ken Robinson

Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope, and the one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable. -John E. Kennedy, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Brand value is very much like an onion. It has layers and a core. The core is the user who will stick with you until the very end. – Edwin Artzt, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

When you are through changing, you are through. – Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all. – Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Creativity is no longer about grabbing attention or raising consumer awareness. Its goal is to remind consumers about what is fundamental and gratifying about a brand. – Peter A. Georgescu, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

We pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

 

Hoping to make a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Some More Quotes

As it has been about a month or so since we last published some quotes, we thought it timely to publish some news ones. Like before, it contains quotes from various acclaimed individuals from the worlds of advertising, philosophy, science, literature and education. So, go ahead and immerse yourself in creativity – intelligence having fun!

It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one.— Alex Osborne, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. – Albert Einstein

Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything. – George Lois

If one advances confidently in the directions of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. – Henry David Thoreau

Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. – Isaac Asimov

An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it. — William Bernbach, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy, and I actually think people understand that creativity is important – they just don’t understand what it is. – Ken Robinson
 
If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. – Ken Robinson
 
I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it. – Ken Robinson
 
Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not – because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatized. – Ken Robinson

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog,Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

Who is the creative individual and where is he/she?

While we are all creative in some aspect, some people are more creative than others. How do we distinguish one from the other or do we? What should we look for when searching for creative people? While reviewing several research articles on creativity, I ran across one that might shed some light on this “creative people search.”


Creativity can be defined as the capacity to come up with new ideas to serve a purpose. Think of it as intelligence having fun! As such, creativity serves a vital role in both our personal and professional lives every day.

No wonder employers want creative employees in areas where it is essential to come up with proposals for new products and services, and new ways of doing things.

The Creative Personality

Professor Øyvind L. Martinsen at BI Norwegian Business School conducted a study some years back to develop a personality profile for creative people: Which personality traits characterize creative people? The study was conducted with 481 people with different backgrounds and consisted of various groups of “creative” people.

  • The first group of creative people consisted of 69 artists working as actors or musicians in a well-known symphony orchestra or are members of an artist’s organization with admission requirements.
  • The second group consisted of 48 students of marketing.
  • The remaining participants in the study were managers, lecturers and students in programs that are less associated with creativity than marketing.

Seven Creativity Characteristics

In his study Martinsen identified seven paramount personality traits that characterize creative people:
1. Associative orientation: Imaginative, playful, have a wealth of ideas, ability to be committed, sliding transitions between fact and fiction.
2. Need for originality: Resists rules and conventions. Have a rebellious attitude due to a need to do things no one else does.
3. Motivation: Have a need to perform, goal-oriented, innovative attitude, stamina to tackle difficult issues.
4. Ambition: Have a need to be influential, attract attention and recognition.
5. Flexibility: Have the ability to see different aspects of issues and come up with optional solutions.
6. Low emotional stability: Have a tendency to experience negative emotions, greater fluctuations in moods and emotional state, failing self-confidence.
7. Low sociability: Have a tendency not to be very considerate, are obstinate and find faults and flaws in ideas and people.

Among the seven personality traits, associative orientation (#1) and flexibility (#5) are the factors that to the greatest extent lead to creative thinking. “Associative orientation is linked to ingenuity. Flexibility is linked to insight,” according to the professor. The other five characteristics describe emotional inclinations and motivational factors that influence creativity or spark an interest in creativity. “The seven personality traits influence creative performance through inter-action,” Martinsen points out.

Less Sociable

The study shows that the artists who participated scored much higher on associative orientation than the other participants. They have a substantial need for originality and are not particularly stable emotionally. The personality profile of the marketing students was quite similar to the artist profile and also differs from the other participants in the study. The artists in the study also scored lower values for ambition than the others and are not particularly sociable.


“An employer would be wise to conduct a position analysis to weigh the requirements for the ability to cooperate against the need for creativity,” Martinsen believes. He also emphasizes that creative people may need help to complete their projects. “Creative people are not always equally practical and performance-oriented, which is the reverse side of the “creativity medal.”

Since a good eight years have passed from when this study was done, it would be interesting to learn what differences, if any, a newer study would reveal toward creativity aspects in individuals. Given that the creative landscape itself has changed, it shouldn’t be too surprising to find that the new study results would reflect that.

**************

BI Norwegian Business School. “The hunt for the creative individual.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2013. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402091133.htm.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

A Dozen Tips to Enhance Your Creativity

• Creativity needs to be synonymous with “FUN!”

• Idea Tub – can be a physical place or thing and/or an electronic file. It’s a compilation of all ideas
ever submitted since you started keeping track, but organized as to be readily accessible.

An elaborate Idea Tub

• Don’t let the execution bury the idea. Your message will be diluted and possibly even confusing if
the creative is too cute, too complex or just plain dumb. Think napkin, not computer.

• Realize your own sense of creativity by challenging your imagination and stimulate thoughts to lead
yourself to a new level of solution.

• The idea, for best results, should be media and discipline neutral. Otherwise, you limit yourself.

• Focus on how you’re going to make the idea work and be relevant. But, never fall in love with it.

• Don’t ever underestimate the power of the mind or your imagination. Don’t ever be afraid to ask,
“Why, Why not or What if . . .?”.

• Ye Olde Creativity Survival Kit — Any sort of container in which you place whatever makes you
FEEL creative and THINK creatively. In this industry, silly is sometimes serious business.

• Thinking at Warp Speed – Generating ideas at breakneck speed is a great way to capture ideas on
Post-it Notes (one per note) in answering a specific question to solve a problem. Remember Giant
Post-its for your “idea wall” which can foster brainstorming and open-door policy idea addition.

• Drill Down Technique – Discovering THE idea. In this unusual method choose your five best ideas
and ELIMINATE THEM, choose five more and ELIMINATE THEM. The last idea Post-it may or
may not be the best, but it’s one to which you normally would not have paid much attention. Go play.

• As ideas are developed, make sure their essence is refined. Make sure your ideas are clear and
you can explain their basic value in about 20 seconds. If you can’t explain it to an 8-year old so they’ll understand it, you need to refine your idea more.

• Don’t manage creativity; manage for creativity. Provide an environment that is open and receptive
to new ideas, and that builds failure into the process. Acknowledge error or failure in a constructive
and supportive way.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

Copywriters’ Virtual Summit 2020

The American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) sends me email frequently. When I read one about a virtual summit for copywriters, I was intrigued. It was free, so I signed up. Fortunately, in registering for this free webinar, I could listen to the four+ hours of its content both live and at my leisure.

Addressing those writers out there, I think this will be well worth your time. Some of the highlights are outlined below as to what you can expect to gain as well as the current version of pricing for various writing projects. So grab a comfy chair, sit back and take a listen. Don’t forget to download the pricing guide for later reference.

10 bits of what you’ll discover….

  • How to deliver the quicker “on demand” content customers want…
  • What Google really wants when it comes to content (and why you can’t fool it…)
  • How to make your blog stand out among over the more than 1 billion blogs on the Internet…
  • Why content curation is hot – and the first step to becoming an in-demand master curator and influencer…
  • The subtle distinctions between regular copywriting and UX copywriting and why it will set you apart as a copywriter…
  • The basic formula from writing successful “chatbot” copy that feels human and why every copywriter will need to learn it…
  • The three types of newsletters you should be pitching to virtually every client you have…
  • The future of long-form video and why tomorrow’s copywriters in some niches will need to learn “Hollywood” scriptwriting and storytelling techniques…
  • Why email is “cool” again — and how copywriters can use email to generate the most sales on a word-for-word basis…
  • COPYWRITERS AND COVID-19!

 

AWAI Virtual Summit

Beginning with a 10,000-foot view of the copywriting industry as it stands today, AWAI’s 2020 State of the Industry Report and Copywriting Pricing Guide offers a deep dive into the immediate “state” of direct response and the copywriting needs of the market.

AWAI 2020 PriceGuide

It starts with the must-read overview “7 Marketing Trends and Predictions for Staying Connected to Your Customers” – where today it’s all about audience focused engagement through video, content, mobile, personalization, search engine “micro moments” and more.

Plus:

  • What’s working best today when it comes to copywriting messaging…
  • The most effective platforms B2B buyers use when making a purchase decision…
  • The most effective copywriting platforms for attracting new customers
  • Marketing channels businesses perceive as most effective…
  • “Going rates” for over 75 copywriting projects – everything from sales letters to PPC campaigns to press releases to e-letters and more.
  • How todays royalties and retainer deals are structured…
  • How to find and recognize a skilled copywriter (if you’re a marketer) and how to know what marketers are looking for (if you’re a copywriter…)
  • How to plan and organize a copywriting project – from what to ask for as a writer, to what to be willing to supply as a marketer…
  • How to provide extraordinary value to your client as a copywriter – and earn more and higher fees in the process…

 

Your comments and feedback would be welcome as I’m interested to learn what you think or thought of this program and how it’s presented. Don’t be bashful, now!