Easy Things to do to Activate your Imagination

Power of your imagination. You can change the direction the spinning dancer in the illustration above from clockwise to counterclockwise simply by concentrating and willing it.

250px-right_spinning_dancer

 

Following are tips to help you activate your mind and make your thinking more dynamic.

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and look for something interesting.
  • Make metaphorical-analogical connections between that something interesting and your problem.
  • Open a dictionary and randomly point to a noun. Use it in a sentence. Force connections between the word and your problem.
  • State your challenge as a question “In what ways might I………..? Then restate it 5 different times using different verbs.
  • How is an iceberg like an idea that might help you solve your problem?
  • Tape record your ideas on your commute to and from work.
  • Keep a log of your ideas, intuitions and dreams. At the end of the week review your log. Any new insights?
  • Create a prayer asking for specific help with your problem. What is it that you still need to understand?
  • Spend 1 hour daily totally immersing yourself in the subject matter.
  • Read a different newspaper. If you read the Wall Street Journal, read the Washington Post.
  • What else is like the problem? What other ideas does it suggest?
  • What or who can you copy?
  • Create the most bizarre idea you can? Try to imagineer it into a realistic solution
  • List all the things that bug you about the problem.
  • Take a different route to work.
  • Make up and sing a song about the problem while taking a shower.
  • Listen to a different radio station each day. Listen for a message.
  • Ask the most creative person you know.
  • Ask five people how they would improve your ideas.
  • Make up new words that describe the problem. E.g., “Warm hugs” to describe a motivation problem and “Painted rain” to describe changing customer
  • What is the essence of the problem? Can you find parallel examples of the essence in other worlds? Do they create patterns that inspire any new thoughts.
  • Take up doodling as a daily practice. Brilliant ideas often start as a scribble on a cocktail napkin or envelope.
  • Go for a drive with the windows open. Listen and smell as you drive. Think about what it is you still don’t understand about the problem.
  • Combine your ideas?
  • Learn and use the creative thinking techniques creative geniuses have used throughout history.
  • Create an idea piggy bank and deposit three ideas daily.
  • Give yourself an idea quota of 40 ideas when brainstorming.
  • How many of the ideas can you combine with each other?
  • Can you substitute something?
  • Which of two objects, a salt shaker or a bottle of ketchup, best represents your problem? Why?
  • What can you add?
  • What one word represents the problem?
  • Draw an abstract symbol that best represents the problem.
  • Think of a two-word book title that best represents the problem.
  • Write a table of contents for a book about the problem.
  • Can you think of other uses for any of your ideas?
  • What is the opposite of your idea?
  • Think paradoxically. Imagine your idea and its opposite existing simultaneously.
  • Look in other domains. If your problem is selling, ask how do politicians sell? How do sports networks sell? How do religions sell? How do fast-food franchises sell?
  • Laugh more. Be more childlike in your work.
  • Think out loud. Verbalize your thinking out loud about the problem.
  • List 20 objects into two columns of 10. Randomly connect objects from column 1 to column 2 to see what new products develop.
  • How would Walt Disney approach the problem?
  • Write the alphabet backwards.
  • How would a college professor perceive it?
  • How would an artist perceive it? A risk-taking entrepreneur? A priest?
  • Imagine you are at a nudist beach in Tahiti. How could talking with nudists help you with the problem?
  • Can you find the ideas you need hidden in the clouds?
  • Learn how to tolerate ambiguity and dwell in the grey zone.
  • Make three parallel lists of ten words. The first list is nouns. The second list if verbs and the third adjectives. Then look for intriguing connections between them.
  • Make the strange familiar. What would a fantasy solution look like? Does this give you any clues?
  • What if you were the richest person on earth? How will the money help you solve the problem?
  • If you could have three wishes to help you solve the problem, what would they be?
  • Wear purple underwear for inspiration
  • Write a letter to your subconscious mind about the problem. Ask your subconscious to solve the problem. Then mail the letter to yourself.
  • How would Donald Trump solve the problem?
  • Forget the problem. Incubate it. Come back to it in three days. Stay conscious of any new thoughts that pop up during this down time.
  • Look at the problem from at least three different perspectives.
  • Imagine the problem is solved. Work backwards from the solution to where you are now.
  • How would the problem be solved 100 years from now.
  • Think about it before you go to sleep.
  • When you wake, write down everything you can remember about your dreams. Next, try to make metaphorical-analogical connections between your dreams and the problem.
  • Imagine you are on national television. Explain the problem and your ideas on how to solve the problem.
  • What one object or thing best symbolizes the problem? Keep the object on your desk to constantly remind you about the problem.
  • List all the words that come to mind while thinking about the problem. Are there any themes? Interesting words? Connections? Surprises?
  • What if ants could help you solve the problem? What are the parallels between ants and humans that can help?
  • Create a silly way to walk that physically represents your problem.
  • Talk to a stranger about the problem.
  • Keep a written record of all your ideas. Review them weekly. Can you cross-fertilize your ideas?
  • How would an Olympic gold medal winner approach the problem?
  • Read a poem and relate it to the problem. What new thoughts does the poem inspire?
  • What associations can you make between your problem and an oil spill?
  • If your problem were a garden, what would be the weeds.
  • Change your daily routines. If you drink coffee, change to tea.
  • List your assumptions about the problem and then reverse them. Can you make the reversals into new ideas?
  • Describe your problem metaphorically. How is your problem like a half-eaten frozen pizza?
  • Draw the problem with your eyes closed.
  • Create a dance that represents your problem.
  • Mind map your problem.
  • Become a dreamer and create fantasies that will solve the problem.
  • Become a realist and imaginer your fantasies into workable ideas.
  • Complete “How can I _____?” Then change the verb five different times.
  • Can you intuit the solution?
  • Open a magazine and free associate off the photos.
  • What have you learned from your failures? What have you discovered that you didn’t set out to discover?
  • Make connections between subjects in different domains. Banking + cars = drive in banking.
  • Immerse yourself in the problem. Imagine you are the problem. What would you feel? What are your hopes and fears?
  • What are the parallels between your problem and the Gulf war.
  • Hang out with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Create a funny story out of the problem. If you can, make it into a joke.
  • Make analogies between your problem and nature.
  • Imagine you are a member of the opposite sex out on a date. You are having a conversation about problems. How do you describe the problem to your date seductively?
  • Force yourself to constantly smile when you are brainstorming.
  • Select a book that is not related to your subject. Skim through the book looking for thoughts and ideas you can cross-fertilize with your problem.
  • Sit outside and count the stars. Make all the associations you can between what you see in the sky and the problem.
  • Walk through a grocery store and metaphorically connect what you see with the problem. How is the way meat is displayed like an idea I can use to solve my probem.
  • How would you explain the problem to a six year old child?
  • Cut out interesting magazine and newspaper pictures. Then arrange and paste them on a board making a collage that represents the problem.
  • Write a six word book that describes your progress on the problem. E.g. “At present all thoughts are gray,” “I am still not seeing everything.”
  • What is impossible to do in your business but if it were possible would change the nature of your problem forever?
  • Suppose you could have Leonardo da Vinci work with you on the problem. What would you ask him?

Learn the creative thinking strategies and techniques used by creative geniuses throughout history in my books. http://creativethinking.net/#sthash.SXV5T2cu.dpbs

 

CREATIVE WAYS TO ENERGIZE EMPLOYEES TO BRAINSTORM FOR INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE IDEAS

JOBS

 

Energize your brainstorming meetings about innovation and creativity by confounding expectations with the following tactics, exercises and suggestions.

IDEA TICKET. In advance of a meeting, frame a problem or issue to address. Ask each person to bring at least one new idea or suggestion about the problem as their ticket of admission to the meeting. Have the people write their ideas on index cards and collect them at the door. No one gets in without a ticket. Start the meeting by reading everyone’s contribution.

EXAMPLE: What is impossible to do now, but if it were possible, would change our business and industry forever?

SPACE CREATURE. Have the group imagine a creature living on another planet with a different atmosphere in a distant solar system. Ask them to draw a picture of the creature that they imagine. Then have the group display their drawings.

DISCUSSION: You’ll discover that most people draw creatures that resemble life as we understand it, even though we are free to think up anything. Namely, creatures with sense organs to see, hear and smell, and arms and legs with bilateral symmetry. Rather than creating something that=s idiosyncratic and unpredictable, most people create creatures that have a great deal in common with one another and with the properties of typical earth animals.

There is no reason why animals on other planets would have to resemble animals on earth. People drawing space creatures could have tapped into any existing knowledge base, such as rock formations, tumbleweed or clouds to get an idea for the general shape of their space creature, and each person could access something different and novel. But most people do not and draw animals that have similar properties to animals on earth.

What we’re exhibiting is a phenomenon called structured imagination. Structured imagination refers to the fact that even when we use our imagination to develop new ideas, those ideas are heavily structured in highly predictable ways according to existing concepts, categories and stereotypes. This is true whether the individuals are inventors, artists, writers, scientists, designers, business people, or everyday people fantasizing about a better life.

SHOES. With participants sitting at tables in groups of 6-10, tell everyone to take off their shoes under the table. Then talk for a few minutes about how it feels to be sitting in a serious business meeting with your shoes off. Talk about the fact that taking off your shoes is natural at home and on holiday, but not always in business settings.

Then ask them to exchange shoes, actually put on someone else’s shoes. Ask them to try to make a big change; men put on women’s shoes etc. Talk about how that feels. Talk about social norms and begin talking about what it is like to be a bit outside the box.

Next have all of the shoes put up on the table. Just let everyone kind of sit there looking at all the shoes for a while. Watch the nervousness. This is typically a very weird and uncomfortable and anti-social thing they are experiencing. Talk about what it feels like to have someone else’s shoes up on the table in front of you. Talk about how we deal with discomfort; typically by trying to reduce it. But point out that improvement implies change and change nearly always brings discomfort and innovative change must be really outside the box and that must bring even bigger discomfort and so on.

Now, announce a contest. (E.g., One of the teams will receive a big contract. The team that would get the contract would be the one who could build the highest structure of shoes. The contest would be measuring the distance from the top of the table surface to the highest point of any shoe. Don’t discuss it, just say it, tell them they have 4 minutes and say go.  (One common solution: Have the tallest person in the group stand on the table top and hold one shoe over her head). Or you can make a rule that there be a continuous path of shoes touching shoes (like an electric circuit.)

Watch what they do so that you will have plenty to talk about when you debrief. You will be amazed at the creative solutions the groups develop. Look for how quickly or slowly the various groups get into the task. Look for the emergence of natural leaders. Look for cycles of build-up, down-build in another way, etc.  Just watch.

A variety of talking points will emerge:

Handling shoes bonds the team.

I knew from the beginning that I was going to have you build a structure with your shoes, but let you warm up to the idea gradually. That may be a good strategy when implementing innovative ideas.

Things are most uncomfortable when we think too much about them; just start doing it and a lot of the discomfort goes away.

It’s not stealing when you take an idea from observing another team. That is the basis of benchmarking in business improvement.

It might be helpful to use other things you didn’t expect to use. For example, one group made a sort of chimney out of the binders containing the workshop materials and then filled the chimney with shoes stood on end. Someone always ends up taking off their belt to attach something to something else. Etc.

Innovation often proceeds through cycles of trying something, dismantling it, trying another tack, and so on. Rarely do you just sit and think and work it all out in your mind. Doing helps stimulate thinking.

The thought processes involved in the most creative approaches are often the combination of several ideas and concepts.

WHAT IS ANOTHER NAME FOR INNOVATION? An activity to practice getting rid of preconceptions is to create different names for things. For example, “rainbow” might be re-named “painted rain. Have the participants create different names for:

  • mountain
  • cloud
  • ocean

Next have the participants rename the subject of the meeting with a different name. For example, if the meeting is about office morale, “morale” might be named as “a spring flower,” or “warm hug,” and so on. What is a different name for an innovation?

ARE YOU A HAMMER OR A NAIL? This is a fun go around the room discussion. You ask the group questions about what best describes you – X or Y – and then have them explain why they think so.

What comes closest to describing you as an employee:

  • A hammer or nail?
  • Cloud or rock?

When presenting an idea to your superiors?

  • Tree or wind?
  • Salt shaker or ketchup bottle?

When overcoming problems?

  • Snowflake or boiling water?
  • Thunderstorm or the smell of leaves burning?

As a participant at a brainstorming meetings?

  • Handshake or kiss?
  • Watch or compass?

FAILURE 101. To demonstrate the value of risk taking and failure, group the participants into teams. Each team has a pile of ice-cream bar sticks. The exercise is to see which team can build the highest structure using the sticks within 20 minutes. After the exercise ask the participants for their insights in every failure. You’ll find that whoever follows a fixed, logical idea from the outside never finished first. Those who finished with the highest projects went through the most failures. The lesson is to free themselves of the mindset about failures they learned in school, open themselves to surprise and learn to play like open-minded children again with perspective and context.

EVERYONE’S A CONSULTANT. Ask each person to write a current job-related problem or concern on a blank sheet of paper. Examples: “How can I get better support from my superiors for my ideas? “How can we better bring people from different parts of the organization to collaborate together to expand our creativity and breadth of ideas?” “What are your ideas for an innovation rewards program that invites people to vote on their favorite ideas?” After allowing a few minutes to write out the problems, ask each person to pass his or her problem to the right. That person reads the problem just received and jots down their responses. They are given 60 seconds to respond to the individual sheet. Keep the process going until each person gets his or her sheet back.

IDEA MARKETPLACES. Announce the theme of the meeting, and then invite everyone to identify a related issue for which they’re willing to take responsibility. When someone suggests an issue, he or she becomes the sponsor, writes the issue on a large sheet of paper, and posts the sheet on a wall. The process continues until all of the suggested issues have been posted. Next, have participants take part in an “Idea Marketplace” in which each person signs one or more of the large sheets to discuss the issues. The sponsors get together with their groups in private to discuss the issues and record the ideas.

IDEA GALLERY. Post sheets of flip-chart paper around the room, one per participant. Participants stand silently and write their ideas on the sheets (one sheet per person) for 10 to 15 minutes. Then the participants are allowed 15 minutes to walk around the “gallery” and look at the other ideas and take notes. Now, using the other ideas to stimulate further thought, participants return to their sheets and add to or refine their ideas. After about 10 minutes of additional writing, the participants examine all the ideas and select the best ones.

Another option for the gallery technique is to ask participants to draw or diagram their ideas instead of listing them. For example, how many windows are there in your house? Diagramming your house allows you to go inspect and count the windows. Creative insights sometimes occur as a result of drawing or diagramming a problem, because they help us notice certain features that may be overlooked.

THREE PLUS. Each person silently writes three ideas on the tops of sheets of paper. One idea per sheet. The sheets are passed to the person on their right. That person is asked to write down an idea that improves on the one listed at the top of the sheet. If participants have difficulty improving on the idea, ask them to list new ones. Do this for all three ideas. After five minutes or so, the idea sheets are again passed to the right. Continue the process until all members receive their original papers.

TELL A STORY. Storytelling is one of the oldest ways to teach and transform. Stories and parables allow people to think about things that would be difficult to approach any other way.  Storytelling, for example, can help people envision the future they want and how to achieve it. Tell participants that it is the year 2025 and your company has been voted the most innovative company in the nation. Have participants create stories of how your company achieved that honor. Examples:

  • Tell each person to imagine that he or she had been voted employee of the year. Then, have each one give a speech to the group, telling what they did and how they did it to earn that honor.
  • Ask each person to write out their most ambitious innovation goal for this year. Then, imagine that the goal was reached or surpassed. Again, ask each person to give a speech on the specifics of what they had to do to achieve it.

THOUGHT WALK. Have the group take a walk around your workplace and the surrounding grounds. Look for objects, situations or events that you can compare with your subject metaphorically. For example, suppose your problem is how to improve communications in your company. You take a walk and notice potholes in the road. How are “potholes” like your corporate communication problem? For one thing, if potholes are not repaired, they get bigger and more dangerous. Usually road crews are assigned to repair the potholes. Similarly, unless something is done to improve corporate communications, it’s likely to deteriorate even further. An idea with a similar relation to “road crews” is to assign someone in the organization to fill the role of “communications coach.” The role would entail educating, encouraging, and supporting communication skills in all employees. And just as road crews are rotated, you can rotate the assignment every six months.

The guidelines for taking a thought walk are:

Take a walk around the grounds and look for objects, events or situations (For example, children skipping rope, a pebble, a bag of jelly beans, a drinking fountain, and so on) that might make interesting metaphors with your subject. Make a list.

When you return, make as many metaphors as you can between your list and your subject. Look for similarities and similar circumstances.

Look for ways to transfer principles and similar circumstances from what you observed and your subject. Try to build at least one idea or solution from each metaphor. Ask yourself what new insights the metaphors provide as to how to solve the problem.

If you are brainstorming in a group, ask each person to take a “thought walk” and come back with four or five things or objects (or a list). Ask each participant to silently list the characteristics and to build ideas around the characteristics. The group shares ideas and then elaborates on them into still more ideas.

A few months back, engineers looked for ways to safely and efficiently remove ice from power lines during ice storms and were stonewalled. They decided to take a “thought walk” around the hotel. One of the engineers came back with a jar of honey he purchased in the gift shop. He suggested putting honey pots on top of each power pole. He said this would attract bears and the bears would climb the poles to get the honey. Their climbing would cause the poles to sway and the ice would “vibrate” off the wires. Working with the principle of “vibration”, they got the idea of bringing in helicopters to hover over the lines. Their hovering vibrated the ice off the power lines.

PHOTO WALK. Another way to take a walk is take at least five pictures of visual metaphors of the subject or problem. Then write descriptions of the metaphors. Then, for each metaphor, look for new insights or solutions. For example, suppose you are in charge of improving the new employee training program and you take a photo of a building under construction. You would first describe what is involved in constructing a building and then transfer similarities or similar circumstances to your training program.

By focusing attention away from the challenge, you increase the probability of viewing the problem in new ways when you come back to it. An environmental think tank worked with the challenge of recycling garbage. The group leader had the group take a thought walk.

One person took a photo of a model plane. He described his hobby of building model planes and how he blends old, left-over paints to create a unique beige color to differentiate his model planes from others. This sparked a thought in another member who suggested that the same principle be applied to recycling. They developed a service that picks up old paint, blends it, and sells it for $5 a gallon. They call the paint “Earth Beige.” They are now working on another service to pick up junk mail and convert it into fiberboard which they will call “Earth Board.”

(Michael Michalko is a highly-acclaimed creativity expert and the author of Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques; Cracking Creativity: The Thinking Strategies of Creative Geniuses; Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck, and Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work. http://creativethinking.net/#sthash.SXV5T2cu.dpbs

 

 

HOW POSITIVE THINKING SAVED A LIFE

AFRICAN CHIEF

My friend the Franciscan monk, Father Tom,  me a story he heard when he taught psychology as a guest lecturer in  Africa.  He and his students were discussing the merits of positive thinking, when one of the students related a story that was commonly told in his tribe. The chief of the village had a friend who had the habit of remarking “this is good” about every occurrence in life no matter what it was. One day the chief and his friend were out hunting. The king’s friend loaded a gun and handed it to the king, but alas he loaded it wrong and when the chief fired it, it exploded and his thumb and two fingers were blown off.

“This is good!” exclaimed his friend.

The shocked and bleeding chief was furious. “How can you say this is good you idiot! Leave me you moron. I want nothing more to do with you!” he shouted.

About a year later the chief went hunting by himself. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to it. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that he was missing a thumb and two fingers. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. They untied the king and sent him on his way.

Full of remorse the chief rushed to his friend and hugged him. “You were right, it was good,” The chief told his friend how the missing thumb and fingers saved his life and added, “I feel so ashamed for having insulted and ignored you all these months.

“No! this is good!” responded his delighted friend.

“Oh, how could that be good my friend, I did a terrible thing to you while I owe you my life.”

“It is good” said his friend, “because if you hadn’t dismissed me I would have been hunting with you and they would have killed me.”

MICHAEL MICHALKO. http://creativethinking.net/#sthash.SXV5T2cu.dpbs

 

Scratch a Genius and You Surprise a Child

By Michael Michalko

picasso.2

The childlike joy creative geniuses experience in life.

One commonality that Pablo Picasso shares with other creative geniuses, according to biographical accounts, is that they all have a “childlike” way of seeing familiar things as if for the first time. Creative geniuses love what they do, and this love can be described as a childlike delight in painting, or composing, or searching for a grand new theory of nature. You can compare the experience of the kind of joy that geniuses and children have with that of visiting a foreign country. You experience everything globally because so much is unfamiliar and exciting. Even the most mundane details are new and exciting. For a child and creative geniuses, every day is like going to Paris for the first time.

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again”….. Pablo Picasso

David Douglas Duncan, world famous photographer, is known for his photographs of Pablo Picasso which he eventually published in seven books. He became a close friend of Picasso and observed him at painting and larking around. Picasso, Duncan observed, was like a child — joyful to be alive. Sometimes he would wear a cowboy hat Gary Cooper gave him and pretend to be a cowboy, or would walk around scaring people wearing a grotesque mask he made. He was always having fun, but it was all for his own amusement. One day, he surprised Pablo in his studio where Picasso was square dancing in front of his painting and then pirouetting like a ballerina with a huge grin.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”… Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s creative mindset came from exploring, seeking, discovering, questioning, changing, and the doing. He paid attention to everything. His friends tell of being a guest at his table, reporting his gregarious, outgoing personality, his vivid wit, his animated conversation, but most of all, the attention paid to everyone and everything. As he ate, he would gaze at various objects around him, in effect, devouring them along with dinner. At such times, guests were quickly aware that Picasso was not seeing things about him as they did, but “digesting” them, creating images and relationships within his mind that might later come to rest on canvas, in the form of painted sketches.

Children have the capacity for learning and transforming and changing what they think about their experiences and for imagining other ways that the world could be. A movie, “The Mystery of Picasso,” exhibited Picasso at work. He started at an arbitrary point and painted a flower, transformed it into a fish, then into a chicken, switching back and forth from black and white to color, he then refashioned the composition into a cat surrounded on the side by human beings.

“Everything you can imagine is real.”… Pablo Picasso

He was constantly “present” in his everyday life and, like a child, saw the hidden beauty of the world by not analyzing, labeling and judging the people and things in his environment. This might sound strange but in the moments when you are “present” the ordinary world becomes more interesting and wonderful. Colors can seem brighter. You see more aliveness in trees, nature and in people. You see the wonder of being alive. Things that most often seem common, routine and boring become fascinating and something you can appreciate.

Picasso would go for aimless color walks through the forest admiring the colors in nature. He would fill his mind and imagination with colors and their various relationships. Once he said he was observing the color green in all its different variations until, as he put it, got green indigestion. When that happened, he had to unload his feelings and visions into his painting. His incredible artistic production is a product of this prodigious capacity for continual refilling and emptying.

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this?”…. Pablo Picasso

First get in touch with the child in you. Take a few moments, relax yourself as deeply as you can, and perform the following exercise:

(1) Close your eyes and relax.

(2) What is the youngest age you remember being? Suppose it is seven years old.

(3) Regress yourself back to that age in phases. If you are 30 years of age, go back in time, skipping some years. E. g., 29, 25, 23, 17, 15, 12, 10, 7.

(4) Allow each phase to make its impression on your mind before going further back to your selected age. Allow your memory to deepen as you go back in time. Give yourself time to allow remembrances to come forth. Relax and enjoy your trip back in time.

(5) When you arrive at your age, reconstruct the details of that age as much as possible. Experience again the Christmas, July fourth, birthdays, vacations, friends, teachers, and school terms you experienced when you were 7. Feel as if you are back in time. Deepen the experience as much as you can. Remember “being in school” instead of “remembering being in school.” Remember “playing with your best friend,” instead of “remembering playing with your best friend,” remember being in the woods on a bright day.

Put aside one hour and take a color walk. Do not bring a cell phone, journal, camera, or iPod. Do not plan your walk in advance or combine it with other activities. Avoid talking and interacting with other people during your color walk. You can begin your color walk anywhere. Let color be your guide. Allow your seven-year old self to become sensitized to the color in your surroundings. What are the colors that you become aware of first? What are the colors that reveal themselves more slowly? What colors do you observe that you did not expect? What color relationships do you notice? Do colors appear to change over time? Do the visual details and arrangements mean anything? As you walk, try to imagine what different colors mean, what can we learn from them, how can you play with colors?

Too much time and experience thinking in a certain way is uncongenial to creativity. The mind becomes so set and so organized that we seem to lose the ability to create new ideas or even to recognize ideas developed by others. This is why activities like “color walk” help us become playfully aware of our environment and the miracles of life. All you need do is suspend your ordinary way of interpreting your surroundings and temporarily discover new ways of thinking about what you perceive. It will boost your ability to come up with creative new ideas. This is one way Picasso cultivated his perceptual abilities. For example, as a school boy, he treated numbers as visual patterns rather than substitutes for quantities. For instance, he would refer to the number “2” as folded pigeon wings and an “0” as an owl’s eye.

Scratch a genius and you will surprise a child. Like children, they discover ways to make things still feel fresh. When you become playfully aware, you are observing your world with more clarity and curiousness. Following is an exercise to give a different way to think about words.

WHAT DOES YOUR COMPUTER TASTE LIKE? 2000 people have synaesthesia which is an extraordinary condition in which the five senses intermingle. Some see colors and patterns when they hear music or words. Some perceive words, letters, and numbers as distinct colors. There is even a case of one man who tastes spoken words. The flavors are very specific……orange, mince, apricots, tomato soup, turkey, muddy water and even ear wax. Creativity tastes like grilled cheese to me. Don’t know why or even if why matters….but a definite grilled cheese flavor.

What word would taste like tomato soup?

What word would taste like mashed potatoes?

What would the word government taste like?

What flavor best represents your attitude toward corruption?

What occupation would taste like ear wax?

What does death taste like?

What does an elevator taste like?  In many office buildings, most people entering an elevator hardly make eye contact with one another, so the idea of licking the elevator walls together seems completely far-fetched. A new art installation in London begs to differ. Taking inspiration from Willy Wonka, chef Heston Blumenthal, and artist Damien Hirst created Spot of Jaffa. The project took a team of food technicians and artists four weeks to develop with the hope of encouraging some much needed sweet stress relief.

The elevator wallpaper consists of 1,325 Jaffa Cake-flavored stickers which are removed and replaced once licked. Once a Jaffa Cake flavored spot is licked, the spot is removed by a lift attendant who is in the lift the whole time staff have access. From a brand perspective, Jaffa’s intentions are to bring a bit more fun and joy into the lives of overworked office workers.

“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.”…. Pablo Picasso …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………:

Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work by Michael Michalko http://www.amazon.com/dp/160868024X/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_XUhvxb0YKA63R … via @amazon

 

 

 

THE TROUBLE TREE

TROUBLE TREE

My grandfather was the most joyful, positive, fun-loving person that I have ever known. When you were with him in his house everyone was laughing and smiling all the time. We all loved him and being with him because he made us all feel wonderful, happy, and alive. No matter how upset or depressed you were when you entered his house he had you smiling, laughing and feeling like you were the most special person on earth. When I was a child I was always pestering my parents to be allowed to go to his house and be with him.

One day, I met my grandfather by chance as he was walking home from work. He had a rough day. His car conked out and he was not able to repair it. The auto shop picked it up and he was told it was going to be an expensive repair. Earlier in the day his best friend had a massive heart attack and was in critical condition in the hospital. Additionally, he was told his work hours were being cut back because of the lack of orders. He told me all this and then he walked in stony silence frowning the rest of the way. It was the first time I had seen my grandfather angry and depressed. I was shocked and unable to speak. I couldn’t believe this was my grandfather.

As we approached his house, he paused for a few moments at a small tree, closed his eyes and touched the tips of the branches with both hands. I stood silently by his side as he gently touched  five or six branches. Finally, he said “Let’s go in.”

After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged my grandmother and gave her a big kiss. He laughed, tousled my hair, gave me a playful punch, hugged me and told me how proud he was of  me.

Afterward, I asked him why he had stopped at the tree and touched the branches. “Oh,” he laughed, “that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in my house with my wife and family. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he laughed, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

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DID YOU SEE GOD WEARING A TOP HAT WALKING DOWN THE ROAD?

top hat

One day God walked down the road wearing a top hat that had a Democratic Party sticker on one side and a Republican Party sticker on the other. On the left side of the road, people saw God wearing a Democratic top hat; on the right side people saw God wearing a Republican hat.

When the people went home to their homes in the evening, some said, “Did you see the God with the Democratic hat?” And the others said, “No, no, he had a Republican hat on.” And they got into a vicious fight between the people on the left and the people on the right that is still going on today and destroying everything we once loved about our democracy in America.

Now the priests and monks preached that God wore the top hat as a message for people to understand that God is with both left and right and that we are all one people under God, and that both political parties should synthesize their beliefs and cooperate and work together in harmony and united as one people to make America into what it is capable of becoming.

Instead our Democratic and Republican politicians have made their prejudiced one-sided view of the top hat more important than our country, the welfare of its citizens and even God who wore the hat.

 

Michael Michalko

http://www.creativethinking.net

CONVERSATION WITH BUDDHA — Imagineer7’s Weblog

Years ago, when I was a soldier lost in the jungle I met Buddha. Buddha asked me what I seek. I said “I want happiness.” Buddha said write it down and I did. Then he said, “Look at what you wrote.” I did. He said now erase the “I.” That is your ego. Then […]

via CONVERSATION WITH BUDDHA — Imagineer7’s Weblog