I did an interview with the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) for their new creative diversity series. We chatted about lockdown learning, pivoting during a pandemic, work & home-schooling, the gender pay gap, ageism, mental health & lots more. They’re a diverse organisation and it’s inspiring to learn more about their fight for the power of the word and campaign to promote Great British Creativity - all the more timely with lockdown 3.0, ‘the creativity crisis’ at work, and Brexit.
Have a read and share around - it’s packed with useful tips & resources.
The article by Emma Jacobs talks about how there are growing fears that months of virtual work are taking their toll on creativity, that ‘creativity is the single biggest issue’ for CEOs, and how managers are brainstorming new ways to ensure the flow of new ideas. How do we share abstract ideas and feedback, casually socialise and have impromptu conversation when working remotely?
It quotes Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, who said last year:
Exposure to new and different experiences – sounds, smells, environments, ideas, people – is a key source of creative spark. These external stimuli are fuel for our imaginations and the imagined, made real, is what we typically mean by creativity.
How do we recreate spontaneity and serendipity over scheduling on Zoom? And how do we measure workplace creativity – especially during a pandemic? When we’re feeling stressed about work, money, Covid, and family?
I’ve been raving on about Clubhouse, but I think it can really help with Zoom fatigue and bring it back to ideas and action. I’m going to start The Daily Huddle, 11:45–12:00 on weekdays – ‘a meeting a day to keep the chaos away’. A stand-up chat/daily scrum where you share #1 – what you’re up to over the next 24 hours - the specifics, and #2 – any constraints and where you’re feeling stuck. Something to help you barrel through your day – if you’re on there, come and join me!
For a more extended weekly meeting, set up a 60-minute fireside chat with the CEO. Invite everyone, share your news and address a couple of main topics. Combine voice chat on Clubhouse with text on a WhatsApp group so everyone can share ideas. Ask someone to take notes to capture any themes and feed this back to teams. It’s fun and ideas will bubble up. Agendas and the routine nature of office life can kill creativity, so it’s good to try new things.
And if you want a broader perspective – that new person – serendipity – random conversation, you can create an open room and see who comes in, pitch your idea, test the market. Or take it into one of the many business groups and ask for feedback.
The Artist’s Way ✍️
I’m re-reading Julia Cameron’s bestselling creative guide, The Artist’s Way. It’s a 12-week programme of recovery she created following her battles with alcohol, as she needed a way to write without a drink. I love it as it’s simple & practical – two tools – #1: ‘Morning Pages’ – three pages of automatic writing on rising before your inner critic wakes up (hers is a British interior designer called Nigel who has a problem with everything). You’ll drive yourself nuts writing down the same problems every day so you have to take action.
#2: ‘The Artist Date’ – a weekly experience to thrill, which for now is taking myself out for long walks around different neighbourhoods and using my phone to take notes.
Cameron’s new book, The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention goes back to these tools and brings in walking as a way to solve problems (also a great way to do your morning huddle). It’s about the art of listening – to yourself and others and tuning in to your intuition, which she’s found easier to do since relocating from Manhattan to a mountain village above Santa Fe.
Looking forward to reading it - all feels very timely given the boom in Zoom towns, nomad villages & visas, and the big business themes of 2021: 5G, voice and audio, Clubhouse, Alexa, podcasts…
Instead of mapping out the whole strategy of a work in advance, do the opposite. Focus on a daily schedule, zooming in on the smallest detail. Don’t aim for perfection; instead, allow errors and inconsistencies to develop. Over time, these insignificant parts will actually become the piece. It’s not the value of these individual items that count, rather the application that comes from daily practice and long-term focus.
Take a photograph or make a drawing every 24 hours. Working this way, as if on automatic pilot, seeing and recording, listening and tuning in, is a good way of developing your creative potential. Michael Atavar, 12 Rules of Creativity.
I’ll be sharing books in my bag and recommended reads on Bookshop.org here. They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to local bookstores, an integral part of our culture and communities. Please spread the word and help support the high street.
Work with me 🙋🏻♀️
Leopard print, always. Worry less and rock a red lip. Internet person, global citizen, flâneuse, problem solver.