Creative Inquiry | Blog

My thoughts (and others’) on managing people, strategy and design

Creativity and Play

While battling a bit of insomnia the other night, I watched this video of IDEO‘s Tim Brown talking about creativity and play. It’s a bit long (28 minutes) but well worth a watch if you have the time.


The gist?  Moving from childhood to adulthood, we’ve lost our ability to let loose. Fear of failure, social norms, self-editing and ‘the rules’ have all led to less adventurous versions of ourselves. Where did all the astronauts go, the wild ponies, the firefighters?

With play (and trust) comes the ability to be creative, and we constructed our play toolbox as kids:

  • Exploration: go for quantity
  • Building: thinking with your hands
  • Role Play: act it out

I like it. It reminds me of a presentation by Jelly Helm (former Executive Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy) that I attended. He said that creativity was all about saying ‘yes’ – yes to life, to possibilities, to ideas (both good and bad). He gave us a little red button that said ‘yes’ to remind us, it lives next to my mirror.

All this has inspired me to mix up my creative process for this project a bit. I’m building something as we speak, pictures to follow…

Leading Change: NBBJ

I spent some time today chatting with Brigitte Dillman-Cruce, Professional Development Manager at NBBJ. She runs the company’s in-house leadership training program, which has been shaping the firm’s leadership for nearly a decade.

The ever-evolving program is built to address the unique needs of creatives and NBBJ’s company culture. In very hands-on ways, it has elevated current and future leadership’s knowledge of change management, communication, interpersonal relations, coaching, and team dynamics (just to name a few). Seriously impressive, Brigitte. Nice work!

It’s easy to see the value in developing your technical skills, but I believe these ‘soft’ skills are just as vital (especially in the eyes of the people you manage).

The Surprising Truth About Motivation

To start us off, an entertaining bit about motivation:

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Creative Leadership: A Conversation

Hello and welcome to the beginning of what I hope will be an interesting and inspiring conversation about the future of leadership in creative industries. This blog is part of an independent study looking at the next generation (Gen X) of creative industry managers, their strengths and the challenges they face.

Background: The Abridged Version
I’ve spent the last 10 years working with creatives as a marketer. As economic, social, and technological changes have redefined how we work (and how we want to work), I’ve seen many Gen X and Gen Y creatives become increasingly frustrated. Your frustration inspired me (sorry). So I headed off to grad school to examine and tinker with the place that management and creative process collide. This study is the capstone project of my masters degree and will be a foundation for my PhD work.

(Check out the Intent and About Me pages for Background: The Full Version)

What To Expect
Here we can create a dynamic conversation about the challenges facing Gen X creative managers. I will ask questions, provide resources, and offer insights and conclusions from my research. But I can’t do this alone, your input is an invaluable part of this process.

So creatives, please join me in creating this knowledge: comment, question, challenge, incite, tell stories, share your truths, post links, converse, engage.