On a good day: When we’re inspired by someone else’s work to begin something new.*
On a bad day: When there’s been nothing original in the work we’ve been doing for way too long.
Like those flipping-frogs out of a Christmas cracker? Every year they’re in the crackers, and every year they’re less recognisable than the year before – and they don’t even flip.
What if we could derive from the future instead of from the past.
With imaginations provoked by what might be, we’d be able to create the present from the artefacts we’ve received from the past in new ways, without repeating.
First of all, we need to get unfocused.
Becoming too focused on something means we can miss the signals from the future. I’m grateful to Nassim Taleb who introduced me to the idea of the flaneur (female: flaneusse): literally an idler, and, more specifically, someone who has slowed down their life to be able to see more.** Doodling does this for me: from dawdling. I am able to slow down and wander down unfamiliar paths my reading introduces me to.
Frans Johansson writes about the need to sometimes “take our eye off the ball” to be able to make more “click moments” happen – when new possibilities become visible to us:
‘Unfortunately, by rigidly pouring all of our effort into one approach we miss out on the unexpected paths to success.’^
You don’t have to doodle, you can take mindful walks, or try a different way to work – every day for a year, or one new recipe every week, or scan Twitter for fascinatingly different news-feeds for 15 minutes a day, or create some other Chris Guillebeau-like quest,^^ just to stir things up, to see things differently.*^
You can follow on from this by finding a group, or groups, of people who help you to see and experience things differently. Other people help us to see the world differently. To see something through the eyes of another may be one of the most transformative of human experiences available to us.^*
‘What do we mean by empathy in terms of creativity and innovation? For us, it’s the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes, to recognise why people do what they do.’`*
The future opens more when we get off track – there are more means than there are people, and we begin looking together – more dreamt than derived.
We see more clearly.
(*I’ve been inspired by and am grateful to Seth Godin for his blogging/writing, and Hugh Macleod for his cartooning. Between them, they got me blogging every day as long as I could include a doodle. I can’t write like Seth, though, nor doodle like Hugh, and I must develop my own style.)
(**See Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan.)
(^From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(^^See Chris Guileebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(*^To move beyond the derivative and predictable, Pixar encourages field trips for it’s people so they are able to get a better idea of how animals behave, or what a certain terrain can look and feel like, or how ratatouille is made in the kitchens of a Michelin rated restaurant – rather than sitting in a design studio assuming they know what’s needed to tell a story. See Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(^* Yesterday, I heard a politician talking about how refugees must be stopped coming to Europe, and especially to the UK. I wondered whether this person had met and listened to the story of a refugee. This morning I listened to an interview from someone from a military background heading up a refugee charity, his heart breaking, telling the stories of refugee’s, speaking of how we’re all humans.
(`*From Bernadette Jiwa’s Difference.)