Posted on June 19, 2013
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!
Category: Business, Coaching, Creativity, Education, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Professional Development, Toronto Tagged: business, business innovation training, Canada, CEO, communication, Consulting, corporate culture, creative, creative development, creative exercises, creative leadership, creative support, creativity campus, culture of innovation, Entrepreneur, HR, human capital, human resources, innovate, innovation, innovative culture, leadership, leadership style, leadership training, loyalty, management, Organization, Organizational culture, play, productivity, professional development, staff, staff retention, staffing, success, successful, talent retention, toronto, workplace culture
Posted on May 31, 2013
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…
Category: Art, Coaching, Creativity, Creativity in Action, Exercises, Innovation, Leadership, Life Skills, Management, Personal Development, Professional Development, Toronto Tagged: business innovation training, communication, communication exercise, communication experiment, connection, creative, creative development, creative exercises, Creativity, creativity campus, Creativity in Action, culture, discovery, education, Experiment, exploration, Facebook, Friendship, innovate, innovation, journey, leadership, life, Mother, no speaking, no talking, personal development, Physical exercise, play, professional development, psychology, quiet, quotes, relationship, Rumi, Silence, silent, social experiment, toronto, Twyla Tharp
Posted on May 30, 2013
Here’s a great video with 29 easy suggestions presented with compelling typography by TO-FU… Why not try some of them out today?
Category: Art, Business, Coaching, Creativity, Education, Innovation, Leadership, Learning Together, Life Skills, Management, Personal Development, Professional Development Tagged: 19 ways to stay creative, art, Arts, business, business innovation training, creative, creative exercises, creative leadership, creative support, creativity campus, education, entertainment, Experiment, illustration, innovate, leadership, music, painting, personal development, play, professional development, stay creative, techniques, to-fu, video, Writing
Posted on May 10, 2013
Creativity in action comes on Friday this week because it is particularly fun. Arvind Gupta is an amazingly resourceful an who takes throwaway objects and creates toys to bring joy to children in India.
Check out his story and his plethora of enchanting ideas for everyday objects….
Category: Business, Creativity, Creativity in Action, Education, Extra Curricular, Friday Fun, Innovation, Kids Programing, Professional Development, Toronto, Trial and Error Tagged: Arvind Gupta, creative, Creativity, Creativity in Action, Gupta, India, ingenuity, innovate, innovation, play, Ted, toronto, Toys
Posted on May 8, 2013
It’s so easy to speak in absolutes – people are optimists or downers, they are hard workers or smart or lazy or outgoing.
It’s natural for us to want to define one another, and ourselves, but it’s also dangerous. The more I delve into the psychology of creativity and innovation the more I encounter the inherent complexity of humans. Our stories are powerful and varied with many sides and voices. Well-formed stories can represent our values, our social norms and our cultural viewpoints all in the space of a few lines of text.
Think for a moment – what adjectives do you use to describe yourself? Are there many? Are they contradictory? Where are they sourced from?
There was an interesting moment one day last week when I found myself admonishing myself for not spending enough time with someone important to me. Automatically I was calling myself a bad friend. The thing is though, if I were to be speaking to anyone else I would have the logical mind to remind him or her that starting a business, active learning and maintaining personal and professional relationships takes a lot of time. I would remind that friend that one missed opportunity does not define a person.
In the same way that I am not defined by that experience, people are not one creative or non-creative based on their past actions.
There are so many chances to look at the world differently, to suggest a new or innovative path or process – whether in work, at school or elsewhere in life – that it is unlikely that any of us is non-creative. In fact, it’s more likely that we are trapped in narratives that define creative people only as artists, writers, dancers and those working in “creative” fields like advertising.
Imagine what you could be doing if, from youth, you’d been told that science, accounting, law or banking were also creative fields. What new products, procedures or revenue streams might you be developing if your mind was more open to the potential for creativity in all professions?
The narratives and stories that we share and those we impose and ourselves and others can be limiting and even dangerous as the video below reveals. In the video below, Chimamanda Adichie uses her experience as an author, a Nigerian and an African student in America to take a look at the power of stories and of definition.
Some more questions for today – What are you imposing on yourself? How could a new perspective free up your ideas your relationships and your mind?
Category: Business, Creativity, Education, Leadership, Life Skills, Personal Development, Professional Development, Today's Challenge, Toronto Tagged: art, build, career, character, Chimamanda Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, confidence, create, creative development, Creativity, culture, forgiveness, generosity, identity, innovate, innovation, limitations, narrative, Nigeria, parenting, personal development, play, profession, professional development, psychology, recognition, self definition, self-worth, skills, Social Sciences, stories, story telling, storyteller, storytelling, United States, write, writer, writign, Writing
Posted on May 7, 2013
“What’s it like to be a baby? It’s like being in love in Paris for the first time after you’ve had three double espressos.”
In this wonderful talk psychologist Alison Gopnik reveals the findings of her work with babies and their learning patterns. Through her experiments she discovered that babies are the Research and Development arm of the human species, what she realized is that babies are actually involved in sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.
Her conclusion? Maybe, at least some of the time, we should be getting adults to start thinking more like children… Enjoy!
Category: Creativity, Education, Kids Programing, Life Skills, Personal Development, Professional Development, Summer Camp, Toronto Tagged: Alison Gopnik, babies, Canada, creative, Creativity, Decision making, education, Family, Gopnik, Home, human development, Infant, Learning, Paris, play, psychology, R&D, research, research and development, Ted, The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth Love and the Meaning of Life, the science of play, toronto, What do babies think?
Posted on May 6, 2013
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.
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.
Category: Camp, Creativity, Day Camp, Education, Innovation, Kids Programing, Leadership, Life Skills, Summer Camp, Toronto Tagged: activity, actvitiy, art camp, Benjamin Franklin, business, camp, creative, Creativity, Creativity Camp, creativity campus, critical thinking, culture, curriculum, day camp, daycamp, development, drama camp, educate, education, fun, games, Ken Robinson, kids, learn, Learning, lesson, lessons, mindsets, parenting, planning, play, problem solving, research, Shelley Carson, skills, soft skills, summer, summer camp, The Creativity Campus, toronto
No upcoming events