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I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

Currently Consuming
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    by Eric Ries
  • The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    by Daniel Coyle
  • Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    by Ron Chernow

Entries in creativity (9)


Link Roundup for 2 October 2012

I’m in favor of getting excited and making stuff. Here are six articles I’ve read recently that are helping me do that.


Link Roundup for 24 September 2012

Over the first half of this year, several articles (and responses) about the practice of brainstorming caught my eye. Given that one my interests right now is discovering how to enable groups to do their best thinking, I was intrigued. Here’s the chain, collected in one place.

What’s your take on all this?


Approaching Another Finish (and Starting) Line

Doing the Post-A-Day thing this year has been tremendously satisfying. I’m also glad that I’m almost done with it. Its relentlessness is a two-edged sword, and I’m looking forward to stepping away from the Damocles role for a little while. I’d been looking around for a similar thing to do in 2012, something to push me creatively in a way that I wouldn’t push myself otherwise. Then I found this, which seems to fit the bill perfectly.

I’d already been thinking about doing the picture-a-day thing, but I wasn’t sure that was enough by itself. The rest of the list would definitely push me in new and not unpleasant directions. And I was able to commission a lovely scrapbook for this from Sara Hindmarch, so what’s not to like?

So while I might not be posting as frequently here when 2011 ends, you’ll still have something to look forward to.


Sign Me Up for Alchemy

Fred Hicks asks:

What’s your take on the balance between the single cohesive vision of a sole creator vs. the alchemical value of collaboration? Where does each approach break down for you, and how do you think it should be addressed?

This is a tricky one, particularly because of how bound up in perspective and interpretation it is. I’m working on a novel right now. If I tell someone about it and incorporate a suggestion they make, am I still following a single vision? I’m also writing it over an extended period of time. When I finish the final chapter, my understanding of the story is going to be very different than when I started it, months before. In what sense is my vision cohesive?

It should be fairly obvious that I’m going to come down on the side of collaboration, because that’s how I see the world. If there’s more than one person involved in a project, there’s going to be some amount of collaboration. I see even projects that I work on “by myself” as collaborative; it’s only a question of degree. I don’t know what a non-collaborative process looks like. I suppose that if you locked yourself away and created something in isolation, in a very short period of time, without ever telling anyone else about it, then that would qualify.

Now, to really address Fred’s question I should talk about how it’s really a sliding scale, so I will. I believe that effective collaboration leads to more innovative results. The more you collaborate, the more creative the outcome. It’s also likely to take more time and effort. So the real balancing act is between how much time you have and how good you need the result to be.

Notice that I said effective collaboration. Many “collaborations” are really one or two people telling the others what to do, which is coordination at best. These sorts of projects are where you’re likely to run into problems of competing individual visions, which results in something neither cohesive nor alchemical. To effectively collaborate, the people involved have to develop a mutual understanding, fully participate in the process, seek inclusive solutions, and take shared responsibility. Doing these things is what takes both time and commitment. It’s also what creates that alchemical value that I believe so much in.


Fitness: Biked 8.25 miles
Writing: 270 words, 265 average

Link Roundup for 19 March 2011

Here’s some assembled wisdom on writing and the creative process that I’ve come across recently. Behold the irony of linking to stuff about writing in place of actually writing something!1

1 I did actually write today. It’s just that none of it is quite ready to post yet.