Innovation and Your Life

It’s a talent that everyone has, yet they think they don’t.

The power of innovation
If you’ve ever marvelled at somebody’s creative prowess, guess what, you can create and innovate too. It just takes time.

Everyone is born creative
The box of crayons in kindergarten were not limited to those who possessed potential; because the truth is, everybody has potential.
You know how long it took to learn to ride a bike or drive or to never commit the same mistake again? It’s the same with innovation.
It takes a bit of practice and a lot of time before this mind function comes easily when called.This article will teach you a few tips on how to bring innovation into your life.

Don’t listen to what other people say
Follow the beat of your own drum. Allowing for the input of other people will only bring cacophony to the music you are trying to make. If you have an original idea, don’t waste your time and effort trying to make people understand. They won’t. And the help you will probably get comes in the form of negative feedback. If all those geniuses listened to their peers, we would probably still be living in the middle ages.

Spend time on it
I cannot stress that enough, although, please do not mistake this tip to tell you to quit your day job entirely. Do not. This involves some tricky time management but with a little discipline you’ll be able to squeeze both in.

Take a walk. Run a mile or two. Send all those endorphins coursing through your veins. Exercising certainly clears and relaxes your mind and allows for anything to pop up.

Record your dreams
Aren’t some of them just the craziest things that your conscious mind would never have thought of? If you’ve had these dreams before, and I’m sure have, this only shows you the untapped innovative power you have lying within. So jot down those notes. Those dreams may just create an innovative spark in you.

Find your own style
You can always tell a Van Gogh from a Matisse. You’ll know Hemingway wrote something by the choice of words on the paper. So it is the same with you. People will appreciate your innovation more because it is uniquely yours and that no one else would have thought of what you were thinking. That will let people see how valuable an asset you are.

Don’t hide behind nifty gadgets or tools
You don’t need the most expensive set of paints to produce a masterpiece. The same way with writing. You don’t need some expensive fountain pen and really smooth paper for a bestseller. In fact, J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series on bits of tissue. So what if you’ve got an expensive SLR camera if you’re a crappy photographer? Who cares if you’ve got a blinging laptop if you can’t write at all?  The artist actually reduces the number of tools he has as he gets better at his craft: he knows what works and what doesn’t.

Nothing will work without passion
What wakes you up in the mornings? What keeps the flame burning? What is the one thing that you’ll die if you don’t do? Sometimes people with talent are overtaken by the people who want it more. Think the hare and the tortoise. Ellen Degeneres once said that if you’re not doing something that you want to do, then you don’t really want to do it. And that’s true. Sometimes you just want something so bad you become a virtual unstoppable. And that is passion. Passion will keep you going.

Don’t worry about inspiration
You can’t force it; inspiration hits when you least expect it to, for those unpredictable yet inevitable moments you should prepare.
An idea could strike you on the subway, yet alas, you poor unfortunate soul; you have no sheet of paper to scribble down a thought that could change the world. Avoid these disasters. Have a pen and paper within your arm’s reach at all times.

I hope this article has helped you bring more innovation into your life. Keep in mind that you’re doing these things for your own satisfaction and not anybody else’s. But soon enough they will notice, and everything should snowball from there.

10 Ways to Communicate

A Piece of Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone is a historical stone, or actually part of the Blarney Castle in Ireland where it was believed that kissing the stone can grant you the gift of gab.  Yeah, it seems strange in this day and age, but who are we to question tradition?

There is so much to know about conversation that anyone could ever realize. You can go though watching talk shows; radio programs;  clubs dedicated to public speaking; ordinary conversations; certain rules still apply when it comes to interaction through words.  It may sound tedious, but even though it’s your mouth that’s doing the work, your brain works twice as hard to churn out a lot of things you know. So what better way to start learning to be an effective communication is to know the very person closest to you: yourself.

 1. What you know

Education is all about learning the basics, but to be an effective speaker is to practice what you’ve learned. Being a guest at a Toastmasters’ meeting taught me that we all have limitations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to keep up and share what we know.

 2. Listening

It’s just as important as asking questions. Sometimes listening to the sound of our own voice can teach us to be a little bit confident with ourselves and to say the things we believe in with conviction.

 3. Humility

We all make mistakes, and sometimes we tend to slur our words, stutter, and probably mispronounce certain words even though we know what it means, but rarely use it only to impress listeners. So in a group, don’t be afraid to ask if you’re saying the right word properly and if they’re unsure about it then make a joke out of it.  You might make everyone laugh and you can get away with it as well.

 4. Eye Contact

There’s a lot to say when it comes to directing your attention to your audience with an eye-catching gaze. It’s important that you keep your focus when talking to a large group in a meeting or a gathering, even though he or she may be gorgeous.

 5. Kidding around

A little bit of humor can do wonders to lift the tension, or worse boredom when making your speech. You’ll get the attention of the majority of the crowd and they’ll feel that you’re just as approachable, and as human to those who listen.

 6. Be like the rest of them

Interaction is all about mingling with other people. You’ll get a lot of ideas, as well as knowing what people make them as they are.

 7. Me, Myself, and I

Admit it, there are times you sing to yourself in the shower. Listening to the sound of your own voice while you practice your speech in front of a mirror can help correct the stress areas of your pitch. And while you’re at it you can spruce up as well.

 8. With a smile

A smile says it all much like eye contact. There’s no point on grimacing or frowning in a meeting or a gathering, unless it’s a wake.
You can better express what you’re saying when you smile.

9. A Role Model

There must be at least one or two people in your life you have listened to when they’re at a public gathering or maybe at church.
Sure they read their lines, but taking a mental note of how they emphasize what they say can help you once you take center stage.

 10. Preparation

Make the best out of preparation rather than just scribbling notes and often in a hurried panic. Some people like to write things down on index cards, while other resort to being a little more silly as they look at their notes written on the palm of their hand. Just be comfortable with what you know since you enjoy your work.

These suggestions may seem amateurish, but I’ve learned to empower myself when it comes to public or private speaking and it never hurts to be with people to listen how they make conversations and meetings far more enjoyable as well as educational.

Early Morning People

We left at 3:30 am to get to our destination. No hassles, no traffic, no honking horns, no stress. We arrived at 5:00 am to the desired location and were surprised that no one was out and about. Then it occurred to us that “other people” were just getting up to start their day. It was nearly time for us to retire for the day, but we both decided it would be best to remain awake to get necessary things accomplished — thus we stayed up “early morning” to do just that.

It seems a large percentage of people assume that getting up in the morning is the optimum time to be productive. Not me — not even my age 83 mother. We both, function best at night — too often having to explain our not-common time orientation.

In the car on the way to our destination, my mother looked over at me as I drove on the empty 4-lane highway and announced “You know, Marti, we really ARE early morning people!”
I burst into laughter, nearly swerving off into the vacant berm and hoping I had used the restroom before leaving our house to avoid any unfortunate leaks from laughter.

Early Morning. 24 hours is divided 12 / 12 — so which part of the twelve or 24 hours is “morning” is entirely up to the individual. Unless you are a farmer or work in a “real job” that insists on 9 am – 5 pm — the new world with electricity allows the variation in scheduling. AND — the internet doesn’t sleep — unless the electric goes out — somewhere.

That’s the way it will stay — morning starts appropriately about noon — and ends after 3:00 am. I will get my 6 – 8 hours of sleep after the hours when I’m most productive — 7pm – 3am.

How fortunate to have a mother who enjoys the night and staying up to see the moon.  Yes we’re “early morning” people — not like most, but in the wee small hours of the morning.  (Oh those are lyrics to an old song!).

Crickets, Chirps, Cicada

The pulsing of cicadas competes with the constant chirping of the crickets. Twilight is my favorite time of day. The light is dim, temperature cooler and the sound is muffled through nature. My thoughts slow down and they are more focused. There are less to no interruptions in writing, reading — thinking. Soon the light will dissipate, but the words will flourish and sentences are easier to manueuver accross the page of my back-lit iPad.

Break it, Build it

Creativity Training

Creativity training and innovation programs work by asking people to deliberately break the normal rules of planning, behavior, decision-making, just to mess up current patterns. By overturning the predictable, new possibilities will emerge, including the absurd, the inappropriate, even the dangerous.

However, out of a bit of irreverence and rule-breaking comes original and innovative thinking, even for those who absolutely are convinced they aren’t creative.

Your company may need to have various individuals or teams sharpen their creative capabilities to keep pace with your aspirations. Like so many organizations right now, you may be undergoing big changes and your people have to rise to the creative challenge to stay on top.

It may be that you simply need to have some additional innovative tools to spark creative thinking and get people outside those proscribed ‘boxes’ even if those boxes have proved excellent in the past.

— the above info was found online — 

inform, inspire,

Brain Map

Creative Genius

The days of the ‘lone genius’ locked away in a room coming up with brilliant ideas are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. New research shows that teams of disparate people working together with a variety of points of views accelerate the creative process and make innovation more possible but of greater importance, more relevant to the whole company. I want to give people a road-map so that they can think and work creatively with more ease.

Creative Brain-Freeze

But I’m not creative

A heartfelt cry I hear a lot. “It’s those folks  in Marketing who are creative, not me.”

Whether you’re in IT, Accounting or even Marketing, you can learn to be more creative and innovative. Creativity isn’t about painting a picture or composing a piece of music or writing a novel. It’s about looking at things from a different perspective; it’s about trying out something new even if you’re not sure it’s going to work; it’s thinking up lots of fresh ideas and having a go; and it could even be that dreaded clich ‘thinking outside the box’.    Those of us that are already creative go ahead and ‘design the box.’

Very few people are truly uncreative. Sometimes people do get stuck occassionally and need a boost of energy to get their creativity and innovation focus back on track. And sometimes it’s that the job hasn’t been about being creative before and now it is a sure recipe for brain-freeze for people whose day to day job isn’t looked upon as creative.


— the above info was found online — 

Making Mousetraps

Creativity and Innovation

These are buzz words right now and for very good reasons. With the current economic climate, companies are looking to their people – their best and strongest asset – to help them survive and thrive. And that may mean doing things differently.  A company that wants to achieve or remain cutting edge can’t do it by resting on its laurels or past successes. It needs to be continually building a better mousetrap or at least making the present one more attractive.

Pocket the Change

If you change nothing, nothing changes

Written by Sally-Anne Blanshard
Imagine being on a train. You know where it is heading, how many carriages it has, what stops have gone by so far and what stops are ahead of you. Feels safe. Secure in the knowledge you will reach your chosen destination. Now imagine someone asking you to get off that train. Step onto another. With a blindfold on! No idea what the journey looks like. Not quite sure where the train will stop.How would you feel now? Uneasy? Nervous? A little scared.Making changes in any aspect of your life is hard. It takes commitment, focus and a belief in yourself and your future.Change can be exciting, exhausting, fantastic and frightening.I have had a whirlwind two months. My husband arrived back from a business trip announcing that he had been approached about a job in Brisbane. And from there our family was catapulted into change central.I tried my hardest to remain calm throughout the lengthy job interview process. I openly accepted that change was here to stay for a while. What was normal to us was thrown into a blender and mixed on high setting for many weeks.It would have been easy to take the easy option and not move interstate.Less to think about.
Less to plan.
Less to do on the to-do lists.Yet the unknown future was something that was appealing. It was exciting. We could not cover our eyes to what was calling and when we took a peek with a weekend up there, to remind us of what change offered, we liked it.

The other thing that is good about change is the big conversations it starts. What you want for your future. Your children’s future. Where you are at and where you want to be. What you like about your lifestyle and what you would like to change. It enables you to start over with some of those lingering habits.

I personally think change is something we start to fear, as we get older. We can get set in our ways. We react to certain things the same way. I remember having a chat with a friend who shared her concern over what I must be going through. I explained that with such mammoth amount of change going on I wanted to challenge my usual reactions. So, what may have normally been a high stress situation with a reaction of high stress emotions I was channeling as much calm through our family as possible. I think it worked.

It has been an exciting, exhausting, fantastic and frightening 8 weeks. We arrived in Brisbane last week, unpacked, explored and tomorrow my husband starts his new job.

Change is here to stay for a while.

What are you going to change this year?

Searching for the Holy Grail

Myths and Mysticism
(article from online source)

If creativity is so accessible, what’s holding back the flood? When you say to a group of a hundred people, “Please raise your hand if you consider yourself to be creative,” why do only 10 hands go up? Why are corporate leaders, government officials, politicians, crime fighters, teachers, and parents all lacking new ideas? Why are art, music, and literature in the hands of a tiny fraction of the population–while the rest of us are mere spectators?

Two answers suggest themselves, and each is disturbing. First, our creative potential is virtually shut down by early schooling. Teachers are the first to admit this. A kindergarten teacher told me recently, “I can’t believe I get paid to have so much fun every day–before the kids get mined.” Ruined? “Well,” he said, “in the first grade the kids have to work all the time. There’s no more time for fun, because there’s so much they’ve got to learn. They’re not even allowed to daydream any more. It’s a wonder that any of them ever grow up to be artists or inventors. In kindergarten, on the other hand, all the kids are artists and inventors.”

There’s another reason why creativity seems to be in short supply: Myths about creativity are deeply entrenched in our culture. Myths have enormous power to shape everyday behavior, often to people’s detriment. When people believe the world is flat, for example, they’re unlikely to venture out to sea very far, and “lands away” remain undiscovered.

When it comes to creativity, myths keep most people firmly shorebound. Only artists have creativity and creativity is rare, we’re told. Creativity is mysterious and magical and divine, people say It’s in your right brain, the headlines swear.

None of these beliefs is true, not even slightly The brain hemisphere distinction is based largely on clinical studies of about 40 “split-brain” patients–people whose brains were severed surgically in order to treat seizures or other neurological problems. The initial studies of such patients, conducted in the 1960s, seemed to show significant functional differences between the left and right cerebral hemispheres. In the 1980s, however, scientists began to reinterpret the data. The problem is split-brain patients all have abnormal brains to begin with.

As a practical matter, the right-hemisphere myth is nonsense because virtually no one has a split brain. The two halves of our brain are connected by an immense structure called the corpus callosum, and the hemispheres also communicate through the sense organs. Creativity has no precise location in the human brain, and people who promise to reactivate your “neural creativity zones” are just yanking your chain.

Enough about myths. What about science? In the 1970s, in animal studies I began at Harvard with behaviorist B. F. Skinner, I became intrigued,–obsessed is more ac-curate–with the fact that much of the interesting behavior we observed in our subjects had never been trained. We would provide certain training, and then new, often very complex, behavior would emerge. Perhaps more important, I eventually realized that the new behavior wasn’t random but that it was related in orderly ways to the behavior that had been trained.

Over the years, students, colleagues became increasingly adept at providing certain minimal training that would inexorably lead to the generation of a specific, complex, new performance–one that could be called “creative.” What ultimately was concluded is that previously established behavior manifests itself in new situations in new yet orderly ways. Novel behavior is truly new, but the particular novel behavior that emerges in a new situation depends on the particular behaviors that were established previously–that is, on prior knowledge. Creativity, in short, is not something mystical; it’s an extension of what you already know. To be more specific, new behaviors (or “ideas”) emerge as old behaviors interact, and the process by which behaviors interact is orderly.

Say you start to turn a door knob that has always turned easily It won’t budge. At first, you start to turn the knob harder; then perhaps you pull up on the knob or push it down. Then maybe you wiggle it. Eventually, you shove the door with your shoulder or kick it with your foot. What you do will depend on your history with doors. Eventually, you’ll shout for help–maybe even call out for “mommy,” even if your mother is no longer among the living.

Creative Cages

New ideas are like rabbits streaking through consciousness; they’re fleeting. If you don’t grab them quickly, they’re usually gone in a flash. Sometimes, a catchy title for an article pops into my head but by the time I get to my desk, the thought is gone — and I can’t get it back.

The most distinguishing characteristic of  “creative” people from “regular” folks,  is that creative people have learned ways to pay attention to and preserve some of the fleeting ideas that occur to them. They have capturing skills.

The scientist Otto Loewi struggled for years with a problem in cell biology. One night, a new approach to the problem occurred to him in his sleep.   He grabbed a pen and pad in the dark, recorded his new ideas, and went back to sleep. Morning came and he couldn’t read his writing! Had he imagined this great solution, or was it real?  The next night he was blessed by the same flash of insight. This time, he took no chances; he pulled on his clothes and went straight to his lab. He won the Nobel Prize for the work he began that night.

People who are serious about exploring their creative side develop and practice various methods of capturing new ideas. Artists carry sketchpads. Writers and advertisers carry notepads or pocket computers. Inventors make notes on napkins and candy-bar wrappers–especially inventors of new foods!

Salvador Dali, the great surrealist,used to grab ideas for paintings from the very fertile semi-sleep state we call the hypnagogic state. He’d lie on a sofa and hold a spoon in one hand, balancing it on the edge of a glass placed on the floor. Just as he’d drift off to sleep, he’d release the spoon, and the sound of the spoon hitting the glass would awaken him. Immediately, he’d sketch the bizarre hypnagogic images he was seeing.

Anyone can do this. We all have bizarre perceptual experiences in those moments before we fall fully asleep. Dali simply developed a way to seize some of them.   Capturing skills can be taught to people of all ages and in all occupations. Teachers, parents, and managers can boost the creative output of a group simply by providing some simple training and the right materials.

Capturing is easier in certain settings and at certain times, so our odds improve by identifying the settings and times that work best for us. Keep writing materials handy or sit by a pool, on a cruise ship or in a cabin in the woods.

— the above info was found online — 

I find my capturing moments after a restless evening, or in the car on an extended trip.

inform, inspire,

Where are you going?

Written by Heidi Cornelisson
I am part of a coffee and connection group that meets once a week. Being a regular commitment I have a set route to and from the venue. But one day this was challenged when I left with a friend heading in the same direction as me. He was in front of me and I saw him drive straight at a roundabout where I usually turned right.”Where’s he going?” I wondered, “Is there another way to the freeway?”But I turned right as usual, staying with the familiar. As I stopped at the red traffic light leading onto the freeway I saw my friend whizz past from another side onto the onramp.”His route is obviously quicker,” I thought again and never caught up with him on the freeway. He’d made significant headway.The following week I still turned right at the same roundabout not willing to go straight and potentially getting lost. Sure enough, this time, despite having left after me, I saw my friend whizzing onto the freeway again.”Damn! I should’ve tried the new route,” I muttered.I have since eventually taken the alternate route and it’s not only quicker, but simpler. My route was a huge detour, catching more roundabouts and traffic lights. Although familiar I’d settled for a difficult route.I’m using that roundabout as a metaphoric decision-making point for your life.

  • How many potential decision points do you have in your life?
  • Do you keep turning right because that’s familiar or are you willing to try something different?
  • Which decisions do you continually make that are merely habitual?

Familiar and safe options may have served you well in the past. But, as you know, if you keep doing the same things, in the same way, thinking the same thoughts … you’ll keep getting the same results. I see so many people who feel stuck in their lives because of old habits.

Some people who have started exploring personal development realise the impact of their past on who they are and how they live.

They then get stuck all over again, but now, consciously, in the past.
“It’s because I never had a father that I can’t keep a relationship now.”
“It’s because my mother was too concerned with my weight and appearance that I have low self-esteem now.”
“It’s because my teacher told me I’d never amount to anything that I have a fear of success.”

Whatever the case may be, what you’re saying is probably true and the thoughts you have about yourself are as a result of that particular experience. But remaining in this excuse-place keeps you beholden to the past repeating same behaviours. Is that what you really want?

Once you’re aware of old beliefs and you hang on to them for too long, they’ve become excuses. These excuses are then like carrying around a ball and chain with you, preventing you from moving forward. This would’ve been like my car automatically turning right each week and me feeling powerless to change its direction. I had to consciously fully engage the vehicle and take a different route. I then found myself, within seconds whizzing onto the freeway as well.

As with driving a car, you have the power to change the direction of your life as well. For example:
“Although I have picked up a low self-esteem, a fear of success and an inability to have a meaningful relationship from my past, I can now choose to let these go. This is not who I am as I now choose differently. I am willing to change, believing my life can get better and I’ll ask for help if necessary.”

  • What is it time for you to change in your life?
  • What from your past have you been holding onto
  • Where are you stuck in a repetitive rut?

Stop using the past as an excuse for where you feel stuck. It may be the reason, but let go of attaching to the excuse. Kick off those shackles, choose differently and take a self-empowered step forward in a different direction with new thoughts and beliefs. You may even move through life with ease and learn that the more you trust yourself, the more your self-esteem, your fears and relationship skills will evolve naturally

Time moves in one direction, memory in another.
William Gibson