I’ve long believed that a key and understated trait of creative generalists is the discipline to regularly and deliberately expose oneself to ideas, subjects, and worldviews that are either uncomfortable or even outright disagreeable. Not only is it important to learn widely all of the various things of interest but it is equally important to witness and consider many things that are not quite so easily understood or immediately interesting.
Like calculus, the challenging course I studied in college as part of my degree.
Like French, the elusive primary language of the city in which I live.
Like animal cruelty, the repulsive crime that makes my blood boil.… more
I tend to shy away from blogging about my personal adventures, but seeing as my posts here have been few and far between lately I guess I probably should offer an excuse.
I’ve been busy. Busy settling in at a new job. Just over a month ago I left my Creative Producer position at Airborne Entertainment, where for the past three years I brand-managed mobile projects for Family Guy, Maxim, and others, to join robotic toy and consumer electronics creator WowWee as their new online-focused Director of Marketing. The WowWee team is sharp and pioneering, and I’m excited to be a part of it.… more
Janet Rae-Dupree’s NY Times column “Unboxed” continues to offer a monthly dose of, you could say, chicken soup for the CG soul. Two recent dispatches cover variations on a theme: 1) don’t decide too soon and prematurely eliminate possibilities and 2) harness the power of improv and facilitate a “culture of yes”…
Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?
“It seems antithetical to talk about habits in the same context as creativity and innovation. But brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks.… more
Two of life’s most common questions are “What are you going to do when you grow up?” and “What do you do for a Job?”. New Zealander Jason Kemp answers, “I’m a polychronic creative generalist (and divergent thinking maven). Creative generalists rock the tesseract!” Click here to see what he means by that.… more
“Slowing down is essential to any kind of creativity — even if it makes you unfocused, inefficient, undisciplined, or unsystematic too,” says Carmine Coyote at Slow Leadership. Five Ways to Boost Creativity — or Kill it Altogether.
Check this out… New research [appearing in the Journal of Theoretical Biology] by scientists at Ohio State University suggests that societal duties do not need to be assigned by a division of labour (DoL) where every individual has a specific role. Researchers Anthony D’Orazio and Tom Waite argue that generalists have a definite role to play and that this holds true for environments as varied as a single cell, an ocean colony of sea anemones or even a small cookie business.
“What this modelling showed me is that there are conditions under which it actually helps to have some generalists, especially for fairly small groups, some individuals that you might think of as Jacks- or Jills-of-all-trades or multitaskers,” said Waite.… more
I love this exchange from this Dearlove & Crainer Management-Issues interview with business strategy professor, consultant and author Richard D’Aveni. Asked about how relevant his academic insight is to real business situations, he zeros in on exactly the thing that spanning leaders – that is, leaders who are able to span multiple industries, disciplines, or cultures – can do which makes them important and influential, and which ultimately makes them even better leaders…
Why should executives, beset with all this turbulence and change, listen to someone like you, an Ivy League Professor – Joe Bowtie, if you like? How do you understand their world?… more
“Female Science Professor” recently posted an observation of a culture clash amongst science profs in a committee at her university. She noted that one particular issue seemed to transcend differences in scientific field, age, gender, race, or sanity level. The issue: whether one was focused or unfocused in their approach to academic research. She writes:
In the meeting today, some members of the Focused Group put forward the opinion that those who work on a wide range of topics tend to be ‘too ambitious’, ‘too scattered’, and ‘superficial’. Some members of the Unfocused Group put forward the opinion that those who work on a specific, very focused topic are ‘too narrow’, ‘can’t see the Big Picture’, and won’t know what to do when that topic has been studied to extinction.… more