Creativity and Getting into Flow

Sparrow Paper Airplane

Image by bre pettis via Flickr

For Father’s Day, my husband and I went out for dinner. We invited the girls down the street watch our boys. When we came home, both boys were happier than you could imagine. For, after running around and playing outside, their sitters suggested they try their hand at making paper airplanes. After making a few “expected” airplanes, the four experimented with making the “coolest” airplanes possible. All of the airplanes (a half ream of paper worth) were proudly displayed on our coffee table when we returned home.

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Creative Problem Solving and Trash Collection

Big Belly Solar Compactor in Lytle Park

Image by elycefeliz via Flickr

Last week, I stopped by a local food truck for lunch. After eating, I looked around for a trash can to toss the rubbish. Typically, it is easy to spot the receptacle because it is overflowing with trash. Not this time though. As I looked around, I found a Big Belly Solar Compactor. I didn’t think much about what a solar trash compactor was because I was running late for a meeting.

Then, over the weekend, my son and I had a picnic at our local park. When we were finished with our picnic, I looked around for  someplace to throw the trash. In the distance, I spotted a trash can with piles of wrappers and food debris. Sadly, we couldn’t jam another bit of trash into the can if we tried. Rather than adding to the growing pile forming around the receptacle, my son and I looked for another trash can. We found a pristine Big Belly Solar Compactor. Problem solved.

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Retailers Tap into Creativity to Drive Revenue

grocery aisle

Image by The Consumerist via Flickr

More and more retailers are turning to private labeling and exclusive products to drive revenue. With this move comes an investment in building internal product development functions. It is estimated that by 2013, 40% of retailers will generate half of their revenue from private labeling and exclusive products. At FEI11, Michael Kitz, of OfficeMax, talked about this model in his presentation, Retailer Driven Innovation – A Powerful New Business Model.

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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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Digital Books that Unlock the Imagination

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Until recently I considered the Kindle, iPad and Nook as nice to haves. When I think about carrying around another electronic device, it makes me cringe. However, after speaking with friends who swear by digital books and seeing the richness of digital books, I’m starting to rethink ebook readers. Here are a few digital books that unlock the imagination (and may cause me to unlock my wallet).

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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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Encouraging a Sense of Play Builds Creativity Skills for Life

I

Soap bubbles

Image via Wikipedia

How many times a day do you hear, “I’m bored,” or “What can I do?” Although it is easy to give in and suggest any number of things for your child to do, by resisting temptation you can encourage a sense of play and build creativity skills that last a lifetime. I come from a family of four children. When we were growing up we had very few structured activities. Rather than sports, play dates and outings, we had Legos, our imaginations, and one another. While some structured activities are helpful, having fewer activities allows time for your child to tap into his/her imagination and invent ways to pass the time.

Over the weekend we had a neighbor come over to play. Hint: it might be easier to encourage imagination by including a friend. Following a bit of Wii (ok, I’m not cruel), I suggested the kids go outside. After a bit of back and forth, the kids began inventing games. First they started with “scooter tag” where they played a version of schoolyard tag on scooters. Then, they  played follow the leader. This game involved each child taking turns doing tricks on his scooter while the others tried to imitate.

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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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Book Review: Creating Products in the Age of Design

Poul Henningsens PH-Lampe von 1925

Image via Wikipedia

Book reviews are typically created for new books. However, I own a number of great books on creativity, innovation and design that are lesser known. This is one of them – it takes a scientific look at the role of “style” in product design.

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