Creativity Coaching & Corporate Culture

Dear Cultivate & Create followers,

I’m sorry I’ve been absent!

I’ve spent the past week or two reassessing, rejuvenating and reinspiring. As the last post notes we’re also repositioning here at The Creativity Campus.

Part of this means marketing less, learning more and creating in our own lives to better inform our understanding of clients. That said I wanted to share with you some amazing developments.

We’ve begun one on-one-creativity coaching this week. This work, aimed at those who are struggling in some way to bring their best ideas to life, is incredibly fulfilling and interesting.

Though very flexible it currently entails a weekly meeting (in person or on the phone) with a client to discuss their work and their concerns. From there we offer support and strategies to help address the obstacles.  These can come as routines, activities or simple conversations. The programs are custom fit to each client and their needs.

Right now I’m working primarily with writers and designers but this coaching is also intended for entrepreneurs, CEOs and professionals whose work is dependent on coming up with or presenting ideas.

It is also beneficial for those who are looking for stimulation or support when developing corporate strategies or workplace processes that call for innovation at a deep level. So much of this is about environment, staff programs and leadership so it often includes office visits and work with relevant staff members.

With this in mind I have spent the morning mentoring a new cohort of entrepreneurs at a local incubator. It was incredibly inspiring. The energy and openness of the founders was infectious and I feel very lucky to be working with such a great group of smart and ambitious people.

As part of this experience I spoke much about corporate culture and the importance of leadership and passion. When I got back to my office I opened one of my favourite blogs and read this article, 30 Lessons for Living.

It’s full of great points collected from thousands of interviews with “the wisest Americans”. So much resonated but the advice on work was particularly interesting.

Find Happiness at Work

One of the most striking points is what the thousand-plus experts didn’t say.

No one— not a single person out of a thousand— said that  to be happy you should try to work as hard as you can to make money to buy the things you want.

No one— not a single person— said it’s important to be at least as wealthy as the people around you, and if you have more than they do it’s real success.

No one— not a single person— said you should choose your  work based on your desired future earning power.

You need Interpersonal Skills

Their consensus: no matter how talented you are, no matter  how brilliant— you must have interpersonal skills to succeed.

Everyone Needs Autonomy

Career satisfaction is often dependent on how much autonomy  you have on the job. Look for the freedom to make decisions and move in directions that interest you, without too much control from the top.

So much of what matters when one looks at successful corporate culture is soft skills based. It’s not about firmly quantifiable metrics or dollar based CBAs. Culture is what makes employees love their work and want to stick around to make sure it’s delivered in the best possible way. It’s what helps them feel proud of their achievements and encourages them to band together as a team to address challenges when times get tough.

The best leaders recognize that amazing human capital is the most rare commodity and that holding on to it is difficult and important. They invest in professional development and recognize their employees are unique and human and have a range of needs and priorities that should be acknowledged.

I’m not suggesting that companies should spend willy nilly, handhold excessively or indulge unreasonable demands or poor attendance however it is often meeting the smallest requests (like flexible work hours) or instituting seemingly tiny sentimental incentives (acknowledgement for an imaginative idea, strong pitch or effective community building event) that fosters the greatest loyalty.

The advice above really reflects that.  People want to love the company they work for, to enjoy their office and to feel ownership and pride in their work and the fact is – the CEO, company or founder is the first to reap the rewards if they do.

Thanks for subscribing and for being patient with our Campus as it grows. We love our work and helping our clients achieve their dreams.

Do get in touch with any questions, curiosity or feedback – we’d love to hear from you!

Happy Tuesday!

Laura

30 Lessons For Living

Navigating Changing Winds…

Dolly Parton once said, “You can’t change the direction of the wind but you can adjust your sails.” Those of you who registered for our summer camps will have received your email this morning letting you know that we’re adjusting ours.

Though we’ve received great support and interest in our summer program it’s become clear that the costs aren’t lining up quite as expected and, as a result, The Creativity Campus is changing tack.

Instead of focusing on the daily camp this summer we’ll be honing in on our weekend workshops for parents and children and our Harnessing Creativity events for adults.

I’ll also be coaching entrepreneurs as a corporate culture mentor at one of Toronto’s leading technology incubators.

In keeping with the passion behind The Creativity Campus, we’re exploring, creating, inspiring and connecting.

Our first parent and child workshop will be on July 20th at a particularly fruitful space (more details to come!) and many more unique events are on the way.

Just as I began writing this, trying to come to grips with sharing the news and feeling a little disappointed, Oprah’s 2013 commencement speech at Harvard crossed my desk.  She encountered her hardest professional moments after she launched OWN last year and in the speech talks about how she intended to turn her ship around.

No surprise, it’s an inspring address. Thank you Oprah, for the reminder that life is just trying to move us in another direction…

Today’s a day to remember, those who succeed see challenges as opportunities for innovation and growth. We’re taking this as a chance to focus in, to get more specific and deliver even more valuable strategies to kids, parents and business people.

Where’s your opportunity today?

A Smooth Sea Never made A Skilled Sailor

My Creative Experiment – 7 Days of Silence

So – seven days, no speaking.

I woke up in the middle of the night to turn on the air conditioning and fend off the inevitable Toronto humidity and realized that I was technically allowed to speak.

I had no desire to do so.

One would think I’d have hummed a little song, made a big noise or at least tested out a sentence but in this week I’ve realized that for a person who speaks so much I really do enjoy the quiet.

There’s something in the stillness, in the discipline, that brings a sort of peace and steadiness that I’ve never experienced before. It brings a calm that is foreign to my overactive mind and mouth.

Though it’s been frustrating and at times lonely it’s also been a gateway into my own passions, communication and relationships.

The inability to speak leaves limitless space for others to express themselves. Sitting back and watching another inhabit that space, occupy a verbal place that is shared but that they are the only actor in is actually quite beautiful.

It seems that the small nuances are magnified. In myself all of the little reactive noises that I make are amplified and my actions and expressions are bigger and more dramatic. Yesterday reconnected me with my love of acting, of physical excitement and creation. But in others I witnessed other amazing characteristics grow larger and more evident.

My mother’s generosity, warmth and kindness exploded as the week passed. Her fierce love was still ever present but, typically quiet and subtle, her support was more expressed.

On Wednesday I went for tea and a movie with my best friend and realized we didn’t need language. Only a few moments in we were laughing and joking and she too was communicating mostly in gestures. It felt so good to know that even without words we have so much and can spend hours together loving the company and laughing from our bellies. Our friends, as chosen family, are such an incredible gift and it was amazing to have this chance to really witness the power of our friendship in small but significant glory.

Last night was spent with someone new(ish). I think both of us were quite concerned that it would be awkward, spending hours together when I couldn’t speak, being so close to the start of our friendship but it was really wonderful.

Not being able to verbalize responses, leaving more space for his expression and focusing our interaction outward brought out a side of him that I’d not seen before. It brought out mutual silliness, new forms of expression and shared stillness. It was so much fun.

I’m not sure that this is doing such a great job of explaining my experience of silence. Maybe I’m still too close to it or maybe it isn’t meant to be expressed in words but I am proud that I made it through and I am happy that it’s over.

As a creative exercise it’s been deeply valuable and I’m excited to start creating – to paint, to sing, to write and move with this in my physical and experiential memory. I already feel it lending fresh energy to my life and my perspective.

I’ll definitely do it again, but maybe next time it will be outside of the city. I get the feeling that being surrounded by nature, by quiet and earthly beauty will bring a whole new experience to the fore, allowing for more active creation, for the work to be the focus rather than the result.

Happy weekend beauties, I hope you get out in the sunshine and remember to play…

xx

29 Ways to Stay Creative

Here’s a great video with 29 easy suggestions presented with compelling typography by TO-FU… Why not try some of them out today?

29 ways to stay creative

Friday Fun – Stop Motion Videos

It never ceases to amaze me the incredible, international talent and creativity that can be found from my desk…

All it takes is a little hunting and you can find some amazing stop motion animated videos online.

Here are some of my favourites – Why don’t you share you favourite stop action videos in the comments section?

Happy Friday!

(Notes on) Biology, Ornana Films

Benigni, Elli Vuorinen

Change: The Happiest Stop Motion Video Ever, Samian Chow, Sean Dougherty and Chad Colby

Frictions, Steven Briand

Getting Ready for the Summer Season

So how does all of this talk about creativity translate when it comes to the programming at The Creativity Campus?

Well today we’re building our summer camps and thought we’d give you a bit of insight into the process.

We’re designing each day so that kids not only have fun (#1 priority) but they learn (#2 priority) and they have something to take home to their parents and for themselves. Something they’ve created that they can be proud of and enjoy (#3 priority).

These priorities actually make organizing the camp fun for us too – we look back into our own childhoods for the games and crafts and activities that we enjoyed the most, then we look at what they taught us. Did they build skills? How?  We also dig deep into our research. There are some amazing resources that come in the form of books, classes, workshops and experiential lessons that can inform how we interact, learn and enjoy life together. All of these are important to building creativity and the skills that come along with it.

Also important is keeping things fresh and varied so we incorporate music, dance, art, discussion and language into play and games throughout each day.

If you have a look at our links page then you can see some of the researchers who influence our work and the theories we’re building from. For each skill set there are specific methods of development – as we plan we are constantly checking that the activities are nurturing those skills, priority #2 is what makes our work interesting and seeing the results is what keeps it fulfilling and fun.

One of the first quotes that popped up on my screen this morning when I went to update our facebook page was from Benjamin Franklin.

Tell Me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember

It’s so true, isn’t it?  The more we enjoy the activity, the more we engage, the more ownership we feel and the more we learn. We learn from doing, we learn from getting our hands in, asking questions and getting involved.

For each of the days that are in the works there are going to be a variety of different ways of getting involved. Each activity is about connecting with different learning types and opening up different learning pathways and “mindsets” for kids while they have fun and explore. Each day will have physical play and, weather permitting, we’ll head outdoors for at least 45 minutes to have fun as we develop our soft skills.

The really special part though, is that we’re learning too. It’s special because it enhances our commitment to teaching and connecting with everyone who takes part.

As we build we draw from what the experts say, what we enjoyed and what is expected but as the kids play and participate we learn even more.

If something’s not working, we’ll adapt it and try something new on the spot. If they have different interests or their own ideas about how they’d like to incorporate creativity then we’ll see how they line up with the research and give it a shot. Flexibility is important to us because everyone who crosses the threshold at The Creativity Campus learns differently and has something unique to offer.

We’re also we’re committed to sending home the products of the kids time and play for parents to check out. The best way for kids to get excited about learning and to engage in actvities is when the people they love are interested too.

If we come to all of this development and education with minds that are open to learning from each other then not only does it validate the kids, their work and their confidence but it allows us as adults to regain some of the perspective of children that is so valued in professional development and innovation today.

Creativity in Action: Gary Clark Jr.

Have you ever heard of Gary Clark Jr.? He’s the subject of this week’s installment of Creativity in Action. Every Wednesday we’re going to showcase another brave and breathtaking creator on our blog and facebook.

Gary was raised in Austin, TX. and is a great example of creativity that draws from various influences to bear something new. He cites John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and T-Bone Walker as his early inspirational sources but fuses his music with hip-hop beats. His voice is bluesy and beautiful and his soulful guitar talent adds to the ambiance. I’m not a musician but I’m loving listening to his recent album Blak and Blu.

At 26 he’s opened for Eric Clapton and he’s popping up on talk shows everywhere.  Have a little listen to his recent performance at hometown radio station KUTX …

Gary Clark Jr. “How To Remember Your Roots”

Any suggestions for Creativity in Action subjects? Email them to creativitycampus@gmail.com or fill out the form below.