Creativity is Messy —
Walk In A Great Creative’s Shoes

Pop over to this post on Eric Carle’s blog (writer/illustrator and creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar) to get a look at this great illustrator’s shoes after he’s been busy at work.  The photo of his paint stained leather shoes was posted in response to questions from a kindergarten class who had watched him creating a large mural – they wondered how he didn’t get messy with paint flying. Turns out, he does.  But, rather than be concerned by it he writes:  Making pictures and creating art can sometimes be a messy job. But that’s ok. I’ve grown to enjoy the spots and dots that my work sometimes leaves behind and occasionally, without even realizing it, the inadvertent mess or the “mistakes” I make, end up seeming more interesting than I ever would have expected.  — Eric Carle Some of his mess becomes artwork itself, as he illustrates with the … Continue reading

Procrastination = Creativity | There Is Hope!

“Productive mediocrity requires discipline of an ordinary kind.” Quote from W.A. Pannapacker’s article How To Procrastinate Like Leonardo da Vinci. (UPDATE: subscription now required to get to this article.) Evidently Leonardo never saw a project he couldn’t avoid finishing.  But maybe procrastination is the wrong word for his tendency to ‘solve and move on.’ Do you have any of these frustrating creative folks on your staff?  Been working them over with GTD (Getting Things Done) seminars and yearly reviews that express frustration at implementation but awe over concept? Did the brilliant strategic thinker get so caught up in seemingly unimportant details that all work stopped? Stop trying to change your dreamers.  Create an environment that lets them kick start solutions and then move on – leaving talented managers to wrap up the details.  Use your staff in ways that builds on their strength…and avoids their blind spots. It may be … Continue reading

Creativity Is Messy

I call the creative process ‘Kissing the Frog.’  Kiss enough of them and a prince is bound to appear. Ed Catmull, Pixar Studios Co-Founder/President, talked about creativity in the Harvard Business Review a few months ago and gave a similar picture from the movie making perspective: “The leaders sort through a mass of ideas to find the ones that fit into a coherent whole—that support the story—which is a very difficult task. It’s like an archaeological dig where you don’t know what you’re looking for or whether you will even find anything. The process is downright scary.” Ed Catmull – How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity, He provides several concepts for fostering creativity including highlighting the importance of a post-mortem that fosters real conversation on what went right as well as what went wrong. (In Scouts we called it Thorns and Roses – everyone brings up a ‘do again’ and … Continue reading

Frog Blog Goals

Just updated the about page and decided to add this to the feed.   Our goal for the Frog Blog is to introduce more creative thought into everyday business principles.  Experience has shown that many times creativity gets boxed into organizational categories that managers consider ‘Appropriate’ for creative approaches.  So – if you’re putting together a catalog page be creative – “We need eye candy!”  But if you’re examining the production flow of parts from source to installation – ‘Just the facts, please.’ Why does this matter?  True creativity is inspired by the facts on the ground, but relies on intuitive and inspired leaps to pass barriers.  When the barriers fall into a communication or relationship category, managers feel very comfortable calling in ‘creative’ talent.  They are more accepting of taking risks because so much of what is discussed is obviously based on opinion as much as fact and experience. But when dealing … Continue reading