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» Invention

Sustainability Thrives on Creativity

airplane

Image by shyb via Flickr

The first time I flew to Australia, I remember dreading the layover and wishing we could fly non-stop from Boston.  As I peered out the plane window and saw the brilliant sunshine, I couldn’t fathom how decades later a solar plane would make its first international flight. Just the other day the solar-powered  Solar Impulse completed a flight from Switzerland to Brussels. The plane generated energy from the sun and stored the power in order to charge lithium batteries for night flight. No fuel and no pollution. Creativity at its finest.

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Expressions of Happiness

Coca Cola: Machine of the Friendship

Image by Buou via Flickr

There are all kinds of things that make people happy. Movies, books, comedians, experiences. When I think of happy experiences, Disney is top of mind. Makes sense, right? Amusement park, rides, great characters…all built around an imagined world dedicated to children. Disney is a large-scale business built around happiness. But, how might a soft drink company leverage happiness? A few days ago a friend shared an article about Coca Cola’s Happiness campaign.  I was skeptical until I saw this video.

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How to Evaluate Creative Work

High on the Happy Side

Image via Wikipedia

I work in a creative industry. In many ways, advertising and  marketing serves as a pinnacle of creativity. Each and every day folks within the ad agency world develop creative work. Whether digital experiences, web sites, online advertising, social media campaigns, television commercials, radio spots or inventive outdoor installations, there is no lack of creativity. With all these creative works, the question becomes what criteria should we use to evaluate them? It isn’t a question many folks stop to ask. In fact, evaluating creative work is often very subjective.

Here are a few tips for taking the subjectivity out of the evaluation and fairly critiquing creative work:

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The Role of Grandparents in Nurturing Creativity

A stereotypical caricature of a pirate.

Image via Wikipedia

Growing up, my grandparents lived with us. I spent most of my first 18 years under their tutelage. I still fondly remember my grandfather helping me learn math by cutting the bottom off a Twinkies box and writing down the multiplication table. I also remember my grandmother spending endless hours teaching me to sew, playing Othello, and showing me how to pick beans from the garden.

Fast-forward many years, and now I have children of my own. I always hoped my sons would have the same relationship with their grandparents as I did with mine. I am elated to share, they definitely do…and then some! My boys are fortunate to have grandparents who love spending time with them and who give the most precious gifts of time and patience. Papa, Nana, and Grandma nurture the boys in another way too. They inspire my boys to tap into their creativity and to use their imaginations!

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Are You Prewired for Innovation?

Phone-wire tangle, exterior riser, London, UK ...

Image by gruntzooki via Flickr

Just the other day, I saw a bit of text that I haven’t seen in a while. Take a read:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

This text originally circulated on the Web in 2003. As it turns out, there wasn’t really a Cambridge University study. You can read more about that here. But, the notion of our minds reading the whole versus every letter by itself made me think. Are we prewired to notice some things and not others? What does this mean for innovation?

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How Mother Nature Helps with Invention

Procrastination 1

Image by fatedsnowfox via Flickr

When I woke up today, my 5 year old (yes, he just had a birthday!) greeted me with a, “meow meow meow.” I promptly replied, “meow meow meow, meow.” We were speaking to each other using our secret cat language. The first set of meows means, “I love you” and my reply was, “I love you, too.” Funny thing is we sometimes slip into speaking cat in public without even knowing it. When you think about it, speaking cat is pretty odd. Or is it?

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The 100th Day of School: Creativity Lessons from a 7-Year Old

Bendy Straw Rocket ShipMy son came home the other week with a homework assignment. To celebrate the 100th day of school, his teacher asked each student to represent the number 100 in a creative way. His teacher provided suggestions like drawing a picture, or gathering 100 small objects and presenting them in an unexpected manner.

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Book Review: The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook

Dealer display of antique toys for sale at Ant...

Image via Wikipedia

An older book, but invaluable nonetheless! Written by two industry insiders, The Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook is a step-by-step guide through toy design and game licensing. In this nonfiction work, the authors provide background on the toy industry, discuss blockbuster toys, look at how to get started in the toy industry, review legalities of toy design, and list opportunities for toy inventors. Sidebars and callouts are used to highlight pertinent information and advice from the professionals. The appendix contains profiles of toy inventors, as well as, lists of companies seeking toy ideas and a glossary to toy terminology.

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