Why Brainstorming Rarely Works

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Brainstorming is popular – way popular – especially in corporations and nonprofit organizations. But the truth is, research has shown over and over that people produce better quality ideas when they start by working alone. And yet, companies, nonprofits, and churches have enshrined “brainstorming” as the #1 go-to method for coming up with new ideas. Why?

Some Distractions Can Actually Help You Be More Creative

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Today, the world is filled with distractions. Email and social media are two of the biggest culprits that rob creative people of focused concentration. There’s also listening to music, watching TV, or allowing people to interrupt your work. I’ve written plenty on this blog about how to avoid distractions, but to be fair, I need to mention that certain distractions can actually help creativity. The fact is,

What’s Your Organization’s Priority?

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Short blog post, powerful question: Is your organization run by the best ideas, or an organizational chart? Leadership is important, but as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs put it: “You [the organization] have to be run by the best ideas, not hierarchy. Otherwise, good people don’t stay.”  It’s one of the biggest reasons teacher’s unions (and other unions as well) are in trouble across the country. They’re based on

When To Give Up On Your Ideas or Projects

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Yesterday I wrote about resilience, and how important it can be to not give up on your ideas, your projects, and your dreams – even in the face of opposition. I used my friend Producer Ken Wales as an example of someone who pitched a movie idea for years and years and eventually made it happen. But the truth is, there are situations when it’s actually better to let go of an idea and move on – even if you’ve spent years developing and writing it. The problem is –

Creativity Is About Connections

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From time to time I write about creativity, and invariably it creates an energetic discussion. Are we born creative? Is it learned? Is it a gene? Maria Popova of Brain Pickings (one of my favorite sites) recently revealed in an interview what I think is a wonderful definition of creativity – both practical creativity and moral creativity. Take a look and let me know what you think:

Are You Listening to Your Own Team?

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When it comes to leadership, it’s not just a top down process. The truth is, for most companies and nonprofits, the best ideas come up from the bottom.  But sadly, most leaders are ignoring their own people.  Research has found that with most companies in America, the average employee’s ideas are only implemented once every

Where I Find My Creative Ideas

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At conferences and workshops people often ask me where my ideas come from.  I’m no genius of course, but since I write books, speak at conferences, create media projects, and consult with clients on creative issues, I can’t afford to recycle the same old stuff. In a distracted and cluttered world, great ideas are harder and harder to come by, so if you’re struggling, perhaps some of my creative habits will help. Here’s a partial list of things that help jack up the quality of my ideas:

Goals Are Dreams with Deadlines

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“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”  -Brian Tracy, personal success coach.  Whenever I feel my dreams losing steam, I always think of Booker T. Washington. Born a slave in 1858, his childhood years were anything but pleasant. The family’s farm cabin had no glass windows, and any opening to let in light also let in the freezing wind in the winter.  The floor of the cabin was dirt. The life of slave was back-breaking work that started before the sun came up and continued long after it went down again. His childhood was also lived out during the Civil War, which created turmoil, fear, and uncertainty in the lives of Southern slaves and added additional pressure to an already hopeless state of affairs.  But in spite of that desperate situation,