1. Experimentation is not failure. Preventing Pavlovian risk adversity from deprecating internal innovation is a start, but every experiment is worth something.
2. Promote collaboration, not exaltation. Creativity does not occur in hermetic bubbles or unchallenged by peers.
3. Higher vision and minor details are equally important. Don’t assume creatives are incapable of contributing at both altitudes.
4. Ambiguity is not the same as complexity. Clear expectations, goals, and deliverables never hurt the creative process, nor impeded independence and autonomy.
5. Fuck you, pay me.
6. Don’t confuse the arbitrary insertion of chaos and anarchy with a environment that promotes creative freedom. Spend less time trying to “mix it up” and more time allowing good ideas room to grow.
7. Instead of wasting resources to make creatives FEEL important, let them BECOME important to your organization instead.
– Designer Matt Legrand shares his seven (actual) rules for managing creatives, a rebuttal to this article. (via howtoworkwithcreativepeople)
Money Speaks Louder Than People
The last two weeks have been filled with enough “shock and awe” to last me for a while: the bombing in Boston and the chase for its perpetrators, the explosion in West, Texas, and, finally, the Senate vote on gun background checks. Despite my horror, I haven’t commented much on the first two. They’ve been covered in great detail by the media. In fact, the television “talking heads,” having to fill hours with endless chit chat during lulls in the action, became a major distraction. However, I felt compelled to say something about the Senate vote.
Most polls indicate at least 90% of Americans support gun background checks (80% of gun owners!), including a Quinnipiac University poll
conducted at the beginning of April. So, it was shocking to hear of the bill’s defeat. One of the problems is that national issues like this are highly skewed by regional interests: both chambers of Congress are elected by small districts or states, not the country as a whole. These polls were based on a national sampling.
So, I spent much of my free time this week crafting my statement, voicing my opinion in a way for which I’m best suited: visually. Here is my op-ed piece and my latest poster from the Chamomile Tea Party
Interestingly, when I put the poster out here on the net, many took it as an indictment against the 2nd Amendment. But this wasn’t the genesis for this poster at all. Yes, I am a fervent gun control advocate —within certain contexts. However, this is about the power of money and of Washington lobbyists, including the National Rifle Association.
From the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations are essentially people who can contribute humongous amounts of money to influence our politicians to the results of this vote, I am indeed shocked. But I’m not surprised.
Being creative is one of the most powerful things a person can do. And, it’s not just artists who partake; anyone, no matter what they do, can enter this maelstrom. But to many, an interesting idea seems like magic: creative thoughts seem to be genetic (“I’m not creative; no one in my family is.”) or are simply bestowed upon us every now and then from the gods (and we should be grateful!). Um, not quite. So where do ideas come from?
When I was a young artist I was afraid that I’d run out of ideas, as if I had been handed a pot of them and once it was empty I’d become an accountant (okay, accountants have, on occasion been creative—ask the IRS). Not only did this scare me, it slowed me down. I was always trying to second guess every creative thought that came into my head.
It took me a few years, but finally it dawned on me: my ideas came from reacting to the world around me: from my insatiable curiosity (man, am I curious!), observing my fellow humans and questioning their motives, and reacting to it all. And, as long as I continued to engage the world, I’d never be at a loss for an idea. Many decades later I can now state unequivocally this truism is fact. Yet, myths about creativity live on.
So all that being said, I want to know more about the conditions that promote the creative process. And Leo Widrich at Buffer has offered some good insights in his piece Why we have our best ideas in the shower: The science of creativity .
One of my best creative hotspots is the DC subway. I am constantly amazed by my fellow commuters, what they read, what they wear, and the conversations they engage in (usually, as if they are already in their own private offices).
What ignites your creative juices?
A new poster from the Chamomile Tea Party.
Drones go domestic and soon will be spotted over suburban and urban skies across America.
Update: In an interesting and timely turn, a Virginia House of Delegates panel has issued a recommendation for a two year moratorium on domestic drone use.
In addition, Time magazine’s cover story for the week of February 3 is on the domestic use of drones. Of particular interest to me is this quote:
Up close, the reality is a bit different. There’s something uncanny about drones. Flying one is a heady experience, but being watched by one is an eerie, oppressive, somewhat annoying feeling — wielding the Parrot in public will get you a range of reactions, from “OMG I have to try that” to “Get that giant bug out of my face.” They’re machines with ghosts in them, and the ghost is saying, “I can see you, but you can’t see me.” It’s roughly analogous to interacting with an anonymous commenter on a blog: you’re dealing with someone who is both present and absent, who has decided that what they say or do will have consequencesfor you but not for them.
Drones bring that asymmetrical dynamic out into the real world: a drone is the physical avatar of the virtual presence of a real person. They provoke a new kind of anxiety, quite unlike the nuclear terror of the 1980s or the conspiracy-theory paranoia of the 1990s. They’re a swarming, persistent presence, low-level but ubiquitous and above all anonymous. They could be al-Qaeda or your
government or your friends and neighbors.
Have you had enough of “politics as usual?” I’m tired of angry politicians who skew the truth to make their points. I’m tired of party politics trumping the running of our country. Well, as you can see, I’m just about tired of everything that falls under the “American Political Process.” I think we can do better. In order to move forward we have to move forward together. Just sayin!
See all the posters from the Chamomile Tea Party! And if you’re interested in a print of any of these posters they’re on sale today for 30% off at Fab.com. Pass it on.
Sold!, 30% off now featured on Fab.
Using as inspiration the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are ‘people’ and can contribute as much money to politicians as they want, Chamomile Tea Party has made this Sold! print, mocking the price tag that this ruling may have put on America and the political process.
Chamomile Tea Party now featured on Fab.
As we get closer to the election, spin takes precedence over clarity—and the American people deserve the facts. The Chamomile Tea Party aims to bring calm to the political discourse through its artwork. Created by Jeff Gates, these pieces confront political hostility with wit, honesty, and old World War II posters.
The Curator’s Guide to the Galaxy
That could be changing, though. This weekend, Maria Popova (whom you may know as an Atlantic contributor, or as the author of Brainpickings, and either way as one of the web’s foremost experts on the art of curation) is launching The Curator’s Code, a system (and, she hopes, a movement) to “honor and standardize the attribution of discovery across the web.” The new project offers both a code of ethics and a common standard for borrowing and sharing. It aims to provide a framework for celebrating curation by way of formalizing it — or, as Popova describes it, of “keeping the whimsical rabbit hole of the Internet open by honoring discovery.”
How to steal other people’s ideas (without being a jerk about it).
[by Megan Garber]
The latest poster from the Chamomile Tea Party. Click on image for larger view. (Not only is this a remix of a World War II-era poster this is a remix of my first Chamomile Tea Party poster. And aside from the text, I’ve made some subtle changes in this new one. Can you see them?)
Pulling this country out of the Wall Street-induced recession has been glacial. To a great extent it’s because the Republicans aren’t that interested in solving America’s problems as much as making sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president. This is Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell’s stated goal.
He’s not alone. Recently, GOP Senator, Mike Lee, of Utah said he would obstruct all of President Obama’s judicial and government agency nominees in the Senate, even though these nominees have bipartisan support.
This behavior is unconscionable. We must move forward to help Americans in need and to compete in the global economy. We need to elect people from both parties who will work together towards these ends. Extreme ideology and obstruction have no place in American government now. Vote out the obstructionists!
For further reading on the nature of polarization in American political discourse today, take a look at this review of two books in the Washington Post: Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics by Morris P. Fiorina and Samuel J. Abrams and The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy by Alan I. Abramowitz.
This poster has been produced in high resolution and is available for free download. Print it out and pass it around. If you like it, share it on Twitter and FB.
See all the posters from the Chamomile Tea Party! And join our Facebook group
Two Books on the Polarization of American Politics
Two books on the polarization of this country are reviewed in today’s Washington Post.
“In America today, there is a disconnect between an unrepresentative political class and the citizenry it purports to represent. The political process today not only is less representative than it was a generation ago and less supported by the citizenry, but the outcomes of that process are at a minimum no better. The present disconnect is cause for concern and not something that can be discounted as either normal or unimportant.”
The level of extremism seems unprecedented in contemporary America. I want to understand this phenomena in order to make sense of what I see as a highly destructive force in American political discourse. I’m not against partisanship and differences of opinion. Rather, I’m concerned about the process of dialogue—how we discuss and resolve these differences.