In Part 1 of this post, I talked about how very creative people seem to share similar work habits. They don't consciously plan to execute in a certain way, it just happens. To demonstrate the point, I referenced a guest column in Fortune Magazine by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO who talked about his Moleskine notebooks and other tactics for solving problems.
In Part 2, let's look at the second tactic Tim refers to in his column. It's one I see used all the time by people who want to innovate. He says, "try to stage accidents." He refers to a small library he frequented that had no real stacking system. Books were lined up next to each other based on absolutely no order. He would find completely different topics next to each other. He said those juxtapositions fostered rich answers.
I heard the same idea expressed by Alvin Toffler in a C-Span Book TV interview about his book Revolutionary Wealth. He described himself as "a reading machine" as most creative people do. But he credited his creativity with the fact that he reads wildly different books and articles at the same time. He said he shifts timeframes, points of view and location. He says these differing views and ideas create connections he never would have thought of otherwise.
So what's the conclusion to draw from these comments? I think it's simply that artists work their ideas. They don't cling to one idea and reuse it constantly, afraid that they'll never have another. They let their ideas flow. They pummel them, shape them and pair them with other good ideas to create synergy. That's a good idea for anyone who does marketing for their business. Let the ideas grow and combine and don't be afraid to make them work.
The cliche 'great minds think alike' does seem to be true when it comes to creativity. There are several tactics that creative people use that I see repeated again and again. A case in point is the guest column from Tim Brown CEO, IDEO in the November 12th issue of Fortune.
In it he talks about two tactics I see very often:
1. 'Stages' Notebook:
The first is that he keeps what I call a 'Stages' notebook. I write about this in my upcoming book about social media marketing for Sourcebooks, Inc. A stages notebook is one of several notebooks that creative people use to develop their ideas. The first notebook has early stage ideas. Ideas that are worth developing are moved into a second stage notebook and worked on. Then a third stage notebook receives the ideas that are worth taking further. That way good ideas are not lost and can benefit from the incubation process.
Tim Brown refers to his moleskine notebooks where he says he "goes through the finished ones and highlight the big ideas so they don't get lost. Dancer Twyla Tharp does the same and talks about it in her book "The Creativity Habit. She says that even though Beethoven seemed very undisciplined, all his ideas were carefully documented in a variety of notebooks with ideas in stages.
Although I'm sure he doesn't claim to be psychic, check out Seth's blog and read about his Meatball Sundae (and his great upcoming book of the same name!) He always seems to know what issues the online marketer is dealing with.
As a marketing consultant, his description of a marketing meeting with a new blogging consultant is what I face almost daily. I call it 'pin the tail on the tactic' marketing. Clients want a social media tactic to pin on their online strategy. They aren't interested in how it fits in, or whether its even right for their organization. They want a ___fill in the tactic____ so that their management will feel they are 'keeping up.' In this regard, size doesn't matter. Big companies and small suffer equally.
I'm hoping that Seth's new book gets people to focus on what they need to do to make social media a reality.