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.

 

How Trauma Affects Creativity

Last week my post dealt with emotions and their interplay with creativity. This week I found a “sequel” if you will regarding creativity and how trauma affects it. The input that follows is by the same therapist as last week, Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. It’s an interesting read and one in which I hope you’ll get as much out of as I did.

Mihaela Ivan Holtz

During my creative endeavors, I have experienced most if not all of what Mihaela talks about. When I’m in a slump, it’s not fun. When I experience a setback, it’s definitely not fun. In fact, it’s quite stressful. That’s why I have a weekly talk with my therapist to go over what’s bothering me.

Take it away, Mihaela . . .

Creativity is a vital life force energy. We connect with that energy within us and use it to express art that comes from the deepest parts of the self.

Creativity feeds off of other vital energies that exist inside of us, including imagination, courage, authenticity, and vulnerability. Creativity requires our passion, love, and playfulness. It requires our curiosity and our spirit of exploration. It requires us to show up and do the work of creating in order to keep it alive.

Creativity asks us to trust in our abilities and our vision. It asks us to call on our talents, skills, and unique gifts and use them to make that inspiration into reality. It asks for our determination and devotion. It asks us to invest in ourselves and to commit to our own sense of agency.

Our creativity is there at all times. It’s a flicker ready to be ignited by our life experiences and turned into a great flame. It wants to guide us along the quest to create a life inspired by our dreams and goals.

All these – our imagination and passion, vulnerability and courage, curiosity and playfulness, trust and determination, talents and skills, exploration and commitment, and our sense of agency – come together to make up our creative emotional space.

The creative emotional space is a beautiful, powerful space that every artist and creative hopes to be in just about all the time. Unfortunately, it can be diminished or destroyed by our unhealed backstories. Unresolved emotional trauma can hold us back and take us off track.

Creatives and Artists Respond to Trauma in Different Ways

Some remarkably productive creative people can actively transform their pain into creative endeavors. Their creativity becomes a vehicle for healing. Their internal healing and growth continues to inspire and motivate them to be more creative.

Their creativity and emotional healing work together in a synergistic relationship. They are healed and transformed by their creative work, and become more and more creative as they face their pain.

Some people can be very creative despite trauma, but they are not engaged in a healing process. They can access their emotional creative space and make music, movies, novels, books, paintings, fashion, or build businesses, and consistently turn their ideas into reality.

But, when they move outside that creative space, they live with unmetabolized emotional pain. This often shows up as with anxiety, depression, and/or addictions.

Then there are those who can access their emotional creative space but the exposure to their inner world causes them to be re-traumatized, over and over again. Their stories or creative endeavors trigger unhealed trauma and they get trapped in old, painful patterns. Sometimes, very successful creatives get stuck in this unproductive emotional creative space when they least expect it.

Despite years of success, depression, anxiety, or addictions can emerge from those unresolved emotional wounds and trap an individual in a loop of creative decline. 

Female with long hair, looking down, her face covered by a hat that she is holding with one hand

There are some who can’t access their emotional creative space, and that in itself feeds their emotional pain, depression, anxiety, and addictions. They can’t realize their creative potential and feel unable to access and use their true resources. This sense of being cut off from their creative self is traumatic in itself.

They feel they’re living a small life in which they don’t belong. They know they could accomplish more and experience a more fulfilling life, but they are trapped in longing.

Perhaps you see yourself in one of these profiles? Whatever experience most closely matches yours, there is support.

What else do creatives need to know about the role of trauma can play in work and life?

Continue reading

Emotions and Their Role in Your Creativity

Every once in awhile I run across an article that really speaks to me about my creativeness and my own psychological workings. This particular article by Dr. Mihaela Ivan Holtz speaks to that. I’ve highlighted her work in some of my previous blog posts. You may very well already enjoy a good relationship with a psychotherapist who understands your background and troubles. If not, seek one out. And refer to the link at the end of this post for more insightful information.

Now, Dr. Holtz, the floor, er, uh, post is yours . . .

As a creative, you use your emotions to tell compelling stories. When your art is born from a genuine emotional expression, you offer your audience a glimpse of the unique you – your interpretation and manifestation of human experiences. 

There’s something about living in the full depth of human experience that is conducive to creativity. The extent to which one can step into the full breadth of their emotions is what makes them a true artist. The ability to be with and use complex and mixed layers of emotions is important for creativity.

It’s through the moments of deep insight and states of intimate connection to your inner world that your craft comes alive.

When you are intimately connected to your emotions’ texture, nuance, and depth, it comes through your art. Your audience can feel the depth of your feeling, and your work truly speaks to their hearts. 

Thanks to the  expression of pure emotion, others can find a piece of themselves in your art. When art comes from an intimate connection to your internal world, the people who witness it  can feel seen, heard, or validated. They are transformed when you share your own experience of transformation.

Uninspired man holding a guitar

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find and maintain this connection with your emotions and convey them in your art.  Unhealed emotional trauma, unconscious conflicts, and unhealthy defensive strategies that you may have developed to cope with life’s challenges can all interfere with your creativity.

When you hit a creative block or a prolonged dry spell, you may find yourself wondering: “Why do my emotions mess up my creativity?”

Many times, unprocessed trauma causes your emotions to feel too intense, overwhelming, or  painful. You can’t stay present with such feelings and you disconnect from your own inner emotional world.  You may feel like you can only tiptoe around the edges of your experience, but can never go too deep. You keep a safe distance from your own emotional experiences. It doesn’t seem possible to  tap into the depth and beauty of your emotions and use them to further your creativity. 

This inability to engage your emotions and go deep are all signs that you may need to do some emotional work to help you process trauma, conflicts, or defenses that are locking you out of your emotional creative space. 

If you’re someone who feels comfortable in your inner creative world some of the time but then loses touch with that place at other times, you may find yourself confused and looking for answers. You may be grieving the loss of your creativity since it has been so long since you were able to access your creative emotional space.

To reconnect to your creativity, you need to do your own inner healing work. Your current struggles are a sign that emotional trauma from your past needs to be examined, processed, and integrated. 

How can doing your “emotional work” help you regain your creativity? 

When you do your emotional work to heal old conflicts and trauma, you can access the full spectrum of your emotions and use them to enhance your art. You can remove the barriers to creativity and  find that you can organically enter your artistic flow.

Thanks to the healing process, the “emotional work” you can do with a trained psychotherapist, you can connect with all that you are. Your emotions, talents, and skills can come together and you can express yourself and you trust your creativity. 

The creative brain is unique, and that is why therapy for creative people needs to be sensitive to your specific needs. 

Creative people have greater connections between two areas of the brain that are typically at odds with one another.  The brain regions associated with focus and the brain network of regions associated with imagination, spontaneity, and emotions are in conversation in the creative brain.

Unfortunately, these connections usually tend to be impaired by unhealed trauma. Psychotherapy can help you reconnect these parts of your brain so you can regain your creativity and discover new creative energy. 

Focused and passionate female dancer practicing in a studio

When creative people commit to doing their emotional work, they develop their ability to stay in complex and even seemingly incompatible states of being. In other words, they can access the messiness of their minds and human experience with more comfort, ease, and focus. They can really dive into their old and present emotional experiences and internal world to create.

What kind of psychotherapy would help you? 

There is no cookie-cutter treatment plan for creatives with emotional trauma. The treatment is a creative journey in itself. Together, we enter a meaningful process  uniquely crafted to help you get in touch with your life experiences and reconnect you with your own artistic voice and expression. 

When you process the emotional trauma and conflicts you will feel: “My creativity is the core of who I am. My past struggles do not define me.  My past can inform what I create, but is not the core of who I am.”

That shift will help you stay intimately connected with your emotional world to make your authentic art that will touch audiences and, in some way either great or small, transform our world. 

I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives face and shift emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks, and addictions – to be and live their own best version. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.

 

 

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.

Nature’s Creativity

You should try it, I did. It’s good for the soul, and your mind. It’s also good for your health. I need to do more of it since I’m staying inside way too much. You may be, too.

Nature has its own way of displaying creativity. In a park it’s all around us, blossoming, gurgling, flying, looking back at you, sleeping (don’t disturb the ‘gators). It’s well worth your trip but one we rarely take.

Here are a few photos I took on a recent trip to a park near me.

Just remember, one visit to a park doesn’t cut it. Plan on multiple visits. Your body, mind and soul will thank you. Mine did. I even relived it the next day while I was reveiwing the photos I took and then producing a musical slide show of my excursion. Indeed, during those events, creativity was flourishing.

I don’t know about you but I have to experience some aspect of creativity every day. The park helps. So did putting together the slide show. Get a dose of nature every chance you get. You’ll be better off for it.

 

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.

Campaign From Gillette Venus Features Singing Pubic Hair

My my, what will they think of next? I learned something . . . that, evidently, a pubic hair can sing! I did not realize that. What else did I not realize, Gillette?

Now, I know what you must be thinking: “What in the hell kind of blog post is this?!” It’s, uh, well, different.

This blog sets out each week to present thoughts and ideas about various aspects of creativity; those that touch directly on advertising and those that do not. This is one that does.

According to AdAge, marketers increasingly have dared to defy traditional taboos when it comes to personal care, as we’ve seen in more pushes around menstruationbreastfeeding and grooming. In the case of the latter, brands such as Billie razors and Veet razors have given the thumbs up to having hair wherever you want it, while EOS recently celebrated a TikTok creator who has been teaching her fans the best way to shave their lady parts. Now, Gillette Venus is jumping into the bikini line fray by encouraging consumers to “say pubic.”

The centerpiece of the campaign from Grey is an animated film starring a singing pubic hair. Yes, you heard me right.

“Hi, I’m a pube!” she announces before breaking into a Broadway-style tune, singing of her plight as a lowly, gnarly curl, hoping to be treated like her colleagues who spring forth from other parts of the body.  As the tune ramps up, she’s joined by other pubettes in a Busby Berkeley-style routine. 

For those of you unable to log into the AdAge site to view the animation, here are the lyrics to Gillette’s latest.

I’m just a pube, and it’s not fair.
All I ever wished to be was just another hair
But when they got one look at me
The ruling from society was “Ewww”
“Not you!”
Oh what’s a curl to do
It seems like all the ads are showing perfect skin and shiny hair
But what about this other world inside your underwear?
It’s ok to say our name
You really can say pubic
No need to be ashamed
It’s even kind of therapeutic
Why the mass hysteria about the pubic area?
There’s nothing diabolical about this little follicle
So take care of us, your pubic hair
If you trim, or you shave or you’re bare down there
Whichever way’s your way
It’s all okayyyyyyyyy
Yes, it’s okay!

Another push encouraging consumers to be at ease with body parts and bodily functions

The campaign aims to normalize conversation around body parts like the pubic area to make women feel more comfortable about grooming there. “Because pubic is not a dirty word, and your pubic hair and skin deserve its own care,” the brand said in a statement.

Gillette Venus had conducted a female consumer survey about the use of anatomical terms such as “pubic.” It found that nearly half of them believed it feels more accurate to use such terms yet only 18% are actually using them. More than half, 56%, said they wished there were more accurate imagery and descriptions in media of women grooming in the pubic region.

The campaign playfully addresses the issue, while the Gillette Venus site promoting the products also features imagery of a diverse range of women shaving their bikini lines. The packaging too, features the words “pubic hair.” Along with the video, the effort includes a TikTok component inviting others to sing “The Pube Song.”

“With over two decades of research and scientific development in women’s hair and skin under our belt, literally, we know that grooming means something different to every woman,” said MyAnh Nghiem, Gillette Venus communications director in the statement. “Our new collection not only offers women more options for pubic grooming than we ever have before, but starts a new conversation about using language that accurately and respectfully represents the female body.”

Okay, okay, some of you may already be saying, “Enough is enough!” You gotta admit, though, advertising ain’t boring (well, alright, some of it is; some of it is even dreadful). This spot tries to be educational, informative, and entertaining, I guess, if not a little quirky. Frankly, if you didn’t realize the animated curl was in fact a pubic hair, I’m not sure that you’d figure it out based solely on looks.

What will they think of next? Uh, I’d really rather not think about it.

IABC WEBINAR: Crisis Management & COVID-19 – Recording Now Available

This is a special edition of the Ideasnmoreblog featuring a recent webinar by IABC Houston on the Coronavirus and the impact it’s having on the communication industry.

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has disrupted the global markets and the pandemic is now impacting many within our own community. Schools have closed, local businesses have shuttered, and many are unsure of the long-term implications to their careers and personal health.

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In this time of uncertainty, how can we navigate the COVID-19 crisis as communicators? Join IABC Houston and our panel of experts for an informative discussion on crisis management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our panel will share insights into their corporate response, working remotely, and the importance of maintaining a focus on mental health.

Thank you to all who tuned into the Crisis Management and COVID-19 webinar yesterday! If you missed it, you can watch the full webinar on Facebook or YouTube. Feel free to share the links with friends and colleagues as well.

Panelists: Judge Ed Emmett; Clint Woods; Dr. Chris Yandle

About our panel:

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Judge Ed Emmett | Rice University

Judge Ed Emmett is the former county judge of Harris County, Texas. From 1979 to 1987, he was a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, first from District 78 from 1979 to 1983 and then newly numbered District 127 from 1983 until 1987. After a twenty-year hiatus from politics, he was elected as county judge to head the five-member Harris County Commissioners Court, based in Houston.

Emmett has been awarded numerous awards in his career, including being named Transportation Person of the Year by Transportation Clubs International in 2005, receiving the Presidential “Call to Service” Award from president George W. Bush in 2008, and receiving the 2009 Distinguished Public Service Award from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. In 2011, Emmett was named a distinguished alumnus of Rice University.

Emmett is now a professor at Rice University, a senior fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and a distinguished senior fellow at Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute. He also maintains his transportation logistics consultant practice in Houston, Texas.

 

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Clint Woods | Pierpont

As chief operating officer, Clint Woods leverages more than 20 years of industry experience to ensure future growth for Pierpont Communications. In order to drive new business and deliver successful service expansions, Clint is responsible for client and employee development, setting firm-wide strategy and overseeing many functions across the agency, such as strategic partnerships, P&L growth and M&A activities.

In addition to leading Pierpont’s energy practice, Clint has worked with clients across a broad spectrum of industries including automotive, retail, enterprise hardware and software, professional services, business intelligence and collaboration tools, financial services and manufacturing. He has led or supported engagements with globally respected brands such as BP, Boston Consulting Group, Group 1 Automotive, Halliburton, Imperial Sugar, TPG Capital, and Wood Group, among many others.

 

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Dr. Chris Yandle | St. Tammany Parish Public School System

A native of South Louisiana, Dr. Chris Yandle is a former college athletics administrator and an award-winning public relations professional at both the K-12 and college level. After spending more than a decade with five different NCAA Division I college athletics programs, he transitioned to K-12 communications in his home state in 2016.

Considered among the leading communications professionals in college athletics, Chris served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at the University of Miami (2012-2014) and Georgia Tech (2014-2016). He was CoSIDA’s university division recipient of the 2014 Rising Star Award. He is the author of Lucky Enough: A Year of a Dad’s Daily Notes of Encouragement and Life Lessons to His Daughter and he continues to share his daily notes on social media in an effort to help parents make non-digital connections in a digital world.