According to Harvard’s Teresa Amabile, author of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, there are three key components to creativity at work:  expertise, creative thinking skills, and motivation. Amabile’s research further produced six things that companies and managers can do to support and inspire creative work.

1) Challenge
It’s all about assigning the right person to the right project — but most companies don’t bother to get to know their employees well enough to do that. Of all the things managers can do to stimulate creativity, perhaps the most efficacious is the simple task of matching people with the right assignments. Managers can match people with jobs that play to their skills in creative thinking, and ignite motivation.

2) Freedom
When it comes to granting freedom, the key to creativity is giving people autonomy concerning the means–that is, concerning process–but not necessarily the ends. Basically, people will be more creative if you give them freedom to decide how to climb a particular mountain. In fact, clearly specified strategic goals often enhance people’s creativity.

3) Resources
Organizations often kill creativity with fake deadlines or impossibly tight ones. The former create distrust and the latter cause burnout. In either case, people feel over controlled and unfulfilled–which invariably damages motivation. Moreover, creativity often takes time…They keep resources tight, which pushes people to channel their creativity into finding additional resources, not in actually developing new products.

4) Work-Group Features
Companies kill creativity by encouraging homogenous teams. These groups do find solutions more quickly and have high morale–but their lack of diversity doesn’t lead to much creativity. If you want to build teams that come up with creative ideas, you must pay attention to the design of such teams. That is, you must create mutually supportive groups with a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds because when teams comprise people with various intellectual foundations and approaches to work.

5) Supervisory Encouragement
Support by bosses isn’t just nice, it’s essential to creativity. Certainly, people can find their work interesting or exciting without a cheering section–for some period of time. But to sustain such passion, most people need to feel as if their work matters to the organization or to some important group of people.

6) Organizational Support
Companies that mandate collaboration while discouraging politics will see creativity thrive. Most important, an organization’s leaders can support creativity by mandating information sharing and by ensuring that political problems do not fester. Information sharing and collaboration support all three components of creativity… That sense of mutual purpose and excitement so central to intrinsic motivation invariably lessens when people are cliquish with one another.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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Submissions due Friday, September 20, 2013
Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis so early submissions are encouraged.

Your Opportunity:
Production has begun for FUSE 2014. Iconic AND Inclusive, FUSE unites top design leaders and brand executives to share stories about fusing strategy and design to ignite brand passion and growth. The 18th annual FUSE is taking place April 7- 9, 2014 in Chicago, IL.

FUSE celebrates a collaborative approach to building brands. One that marries design in all its forms, culture and strategy. Specifically, we will delve into graphic design, industrial design, digital design & social media, brand strategy, packaging, leadership, trends and culture.

We are actively recruiting speakers to bring FUSE to life in 2014. The submission deadline is Friday, September 20, 2013. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis so early submission is encouraged.

Added Bonus: All speakers will receive complimentary admission to the entire event (a $3,000+ value).

The Crowd:
Each year, hundreds of leaders converge at FUSE to advance their brands, businesses, and careers ... and to get inspired by our speakers' stories. Attendees have a diverse set of expertise - graphic design, marketing strategy, brand management, package design, art direction, structural design, digital design, consumer insights, trend forecasting, and design research. Industries represented include consumer packaged goods, retail, industrial manufacturing, technology, electronics, automotive, financial services and health care among others.

Presentation Options:
These content areas will be addressed at FUSE 2014:
• Design & Creative
• Brand & Marketing Strategy
• Trends & Insights
• Global Design & Branding
• Social Media & Digital Design
• Structural & Industrial Design
• Packaging
• Leadership
• Culture

Please do not feel limited by the list above. We are happy to consider topics not listed here that you feel would add value and be appropriate.

Speaker Benefits:
Why do speakers want to be part of FUSE?

• Advance the purpose and value of using design to tell a brand's story
• Position their company as one that values brand strategy and design
• Reinforce their own position as a leader
• Share results of an exciting project
• Network with other industry leaders and participate in high-level discussions

PLUS: All speakers receive a free pass to FUSE. (A 3k+ value!) 
Submission Guidelines & Deadline:
For consideration, please e-mail Krista Vazquez at with the following information by Friday, September 20, 2013. 

• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, phone and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 short paragraph plus 2 bullets that illustrate audience takeaways): Please note: if your proposal is selected, portions of this description will be printed in the brochure and used online to promote your participation
• Brief speaker biography

Whether you are looking to build awareness, generate new business or strengthen existing relationships - a presence at FUSE will help you achieve your goals. Be at the right place at the right time. A limited number of sessions on the program are reserved for our event sponsors. Solution providers who wish to become part of the program should contact Elizabeth Hinkis at 646-616-7627 or

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in FUSE. Check back for updates on the program here:

The FUSE Team
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A museum preserves our culture from disappearing over time. But in the 21st century how can museums preserve the apps, software, and digital ephemera that now define our culture?

The Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian's National Museum of Design in New York, is starting to explore this issue with a digital acquisition, an iPad app.  Released in 2011 by Bloom, Planetary is an app that examines a user's iTunes collection it across a truly cosmic scale, transforming your music library into a virtual 3-D galaxy. Each star in that galaxy represents a different artist, each orbiting planet an album, and every moon a song.  

Sebastian Chan, Cooper-Hewitt's director of digital and emerging media, recently told FastCoDesign the acquisition has to do with the museum's mission to collect contemporary design - a mission, which faces new challenges in the digital age.  

"If we were satisfied to just be a history museum or an art museum, we could stay focused on the tangible, but to fill to the role of being the 'National Design Museum,' we have to broaden what we do," Chan explained. "We are beginning to come to terms with the fact that the contemporary objects that a design museum should collect are now often neither unique nor inherently precious. It's forcing us to consider how to communicate the intention and the processes of the designers behind their work."

The acquisition is a bigger deal than downloading an app onto a museum iPad. Chan added, "Not only did we acquire Planetary's source code, we also acquired the developer's change log and other development ephemera. This gives us the opportunity to show our visitors how the app was made, and the trade-offs made along the way in the design process.”

Planetary from Bloom Studio, Inc. on Vimeo.

Additionally, Planetary's original developers over at Bloom were willing to work with the Cooper-Hewitt on an on-going basis in figuring out how to best exhibit and preserve it. To Chan, this was important because at his former job at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, he had been exposed a large collection of early electronic musical instruments from the 1960s and 1970s. These instruments had been collected, but had not been preserved, so turning them on might destroy them.  

“Preserving something digital requires experimentation. You can't just freeze it in Carbonite," he said.
As part of that experiment in digital preservation, the Cooper-Hewitt has made Planetary open source to encourage software developers to modify it. In 2014, the app will also be exhibited to museumgoers on museum iPads when the Cooper-Hewitt re-opens after renovations.

Further, this acquisition could influence more than just digital preservation. According to Chan, it could change the way other museums preserve physical objects. For example, right now, the Cooper-Hewitt has a collection of 3-D printed chairs, but not the source code used to generate them.

Collecting digital works of design is the future of museums.  You can't preserve a digital object without preserving the technology that created it.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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When I was younger, wearing black socks with anything other than dress shoes was considered a fashion faux pas.  The highest crime was to wear black socks with sandals.

Then Nike made black socks cool.  All it takes is the 'swish' of the Nike magic wand being waved over feet of men everywhere, and black socks became cool.

Nike is being true to their brand.
No Excuses.
Just Do it.
Life is a sport. Make it count.
Nike uses the power of sport, the power of 'the challenge' to inspire people to be more, and to dress the part. 

Sports warriors wear uniforms, civilians wear socks. 
Black is just part of the uniform...

How does your brand transform the everyday?

About the Author

Michael Plishka is the President of ZenStorming(TM), a design and innovation consultancy. He can be followed on Twitter @Plish and through LinkedIn.

Read more at his  ZenStorming Blog.
In 1926, English social psychologist and London School of Economics co-founder Graham Wallas wrote The Art of Thought — a theory outlining the four stages of the creative process, based on his own observations as well as the accounts of famous inventors. The book is long out of print, but the idea of his model has been preserved in a chapter of the 1976 treasure The Creativity Question — a selection of approaches to creativity by some of history’s greatest minds.

In his theory, Wallas outlines four stages of the creative process including preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

1. Preparation. During the preparation stage, the problem is “investigated in all directions” as the thinker readies the mental soil for the sowing of the seeds. It’s the accumulation of intellectual resources out of which to construct the new ideas. It is fully conscious and entails part research, part planning, part entering the right frame of mind and attention.

Wallas wrote, “The educated man has, again, learnt, and can, in the Preparation stage, voluntarily or habitually follow out, rules as to the order in which he shall direct his attention to successive elements.”

2. Incubation. Next comes a period of unconscious processing, during which no direct effort is exerted upon the problem— this is where the “combinatory play” that marked Einstein’s thought takes place. Wallas noted that the stage has two elements — the “negative fact” that during Incubation we don’t consciously deliberate on a problem, and the “positive fact” of a series of unconscious, involuntary mental events taking place.

He wrote, “Voluntary abstention from conscious thought on any problem may, itself, take two forms: the period of abstention may be spent either in conscious mental work on other problems, or in a relaxation from all conscious mental work. The first kind of Incubation economizes time, and is therefore often the better.”

3. Illumination. Following Incubation is the Illumination stage, which Wallas based on French polymath Henri Poincaré’s concept of “sudden illumination” — that flash of insight that the conscious self can’t will and the subliminal self can only welcome once all elements gathered during the Preparation stage have floated freely around during Incubation and are now ready to click into a new form.

According to Wallas, this Illumination can’t be forced. If we so define the Illumination stage as to restrict it to this instantaneous “flash,” it is obvious that we cannot influence it by a direct effort of will because we can only bring our will to bear upon psychological events which last for an appreciable time.

4. Verification. The last stage, unlike the second and the third, shares with the first a conscious and deliberate effort in the way of testing the validity of the idea and reducing the idea to an exact form.
Wallas wrote: “It never happens that unconscious work supplies ready-made the result of a lengthy calculation in which we only have to apply fixed rules… All that we can hope from these inspirations, which are the fruit of unconscious work, is to obtain points of departure for such calculations. As for the calculations themselves, they must be made in the second period of conscious work which follows the inspiration, and in which the results of the inspiration are verified and the consequences deduced...they demand discipline, attention, will, and consequently, conscious work.”

But, most important of all is the interplay of the stages and the fact that none of them exists in isolation from the rest, for the mechanism of creativity is a complex machine of innumerable, perpetually moving parts.
Wallas wrote, “In the daily stream of thought these four different stages constantly overlap each other as we explore different problems.”

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
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