Creativity

Breakthrough Ideas Are Not Created In a Vacuum

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Your next great idea will not come to you out of thin air.

I can say this with near 100% certainty because that’s not how ideas work. That breakthrough idea—the one that will make you rich and famous by Thursday—will not be created in a vacuum. More likely, it’ll be the result of a collision. A collision of dots.

Huh?

Let me explain. Creativity (which is simply the process of coming up with ideas) is all about connecting dots. These dots can be ...

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Are You Missing Out On the Most Important Business Tool?

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Quick Quiz: What do the following have in common?

  • The iPhone
  • The Tesla Model S
  • Spanx
  • The self-cleaning litter box
  • The Sputnik 1 satellite

Answer: They were all the product of a creative idea. As was every single other breakthrough that made a million dollars, cured a disease, or changed the world.

They all came from a creative idea.

Every company that exists—or that ever existed—originated with a creative idea.

Every billionaire on the Forbes 400 list is there because of a creative idea. (Sometimes that creative ...

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TED Talk Secrets That Will Make You a Superior Leader

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A little over a week ago, I was on a stage in Vancouver, BC, giving a TEDx talk about creativity to 2,700 people. The video will soon be available online, where it could be seen by (fingers crossed!) millions.

The road to a TEDx talk—whether it’s seen by millions or just dozens—is a long one. At this point, of course, I don’t know whether my talk will hit millions of views, dozens, or somewhere in between. But I do know two ...

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Where to Find the Idea That Will Make You Rich

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I can’t tell you what your next million-dollar idea will be—but I can tell you, with near 100% certainty, where you’re going to find it. And it probably won’t be where you think.

In order to understand this, you have to understand what creativity is—and what it isn’t. Because your next million-dollar idea will be, by definition, a creative idea. And creativity, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t come from nowhere.

Creativity is not the “lightning bolt” that comes out of the blue. ...

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Did You Know That Mowing the Lawn Can Lead to a Cure for Cancer?

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If you’re wondering why your team doesn’t seem to be engaged in their work (which, according to Gallup, describes 68% of the American workforce), it may be because they just don’t give a crap about their jobs.

And that’s partly on you.

Among the needs that virtually all of us share is the need for purpose. We all like to feel like we’re a part of something bigger. And, sadly, many leaders do an absolutely terrible job of helping their ...

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Want Better Ideas? Then Stop Brainstorming!

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I used to be a fan of brainstorming. What could be better for generating ideas than gathering your team around a table, presenting the challenge, and then letting the ideas flow! No bad ideas here! Just open the mental floodgates and let the brilliance pour out! Each idea sparking another, and another! Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Except it doesn’t work.

Brainstorming—despite the positive press it’s gotten, and still gets—doesn’t work. Why? Two words: human nature.

As humans (sorry puppies, I’m speaking ...

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Stop Treating Creativity as an Option

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Turning creativity into money.

That’s how I sometimes described my job as the Executive Producer of a hit comedy TV show in Seattle.

Turning creativity into money.

See, our job, week after week, was to be creative—on demand. BUT, that creativity had to lead to profit. If what we created—jokes, comedy sketches, parodies—didn’t draw an audience that advertisers would pay to reach, our creativity would have gone nowhere (and our careers would have quickly followed). But we did draw that audience, ...

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Why Coming Up With a Great Idea is Worthless

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“I hate coming up with a great sketch idea.”

That’s what Bob Nelson told me when he was one of the writers on Almost Live!, the comedy TV show that I executive produced in Seattle for 15 years. (For the record, Bob Nelson went on to earn a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for the movie Nebraska.)

“I hate coming up with a great sketch idea.”

Now, why would he say something like that?

Because coming up with the idea is the fun part. ...

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Stop Whining About “Change”!

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As I look out my office window, I see the leaves on the trees are starting to change color. Believe it or not, I’m not shocked by this. Nor am I wailing about the fact that the temperature is dropping and that dusk is coming earlier than it did a month ago.

Am I superhuman? Perhaps, but not because of this. The simple truth is that, if you’ve been alive on the planet (Earth) for more than a few ...

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Profitable Creativity May Be Closer Than You Think!

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Would you like to find a creative solution to your current challenge du jour? It may be as close as the morning newspaper. (Note to younger readers: the “morning newspaper” used to be an actual thing. It was truly a marvelous invention. It appeared magically on your doorstep, required no scrolling, and never needed to be recharged.)

old-newspaper-350376_1920

I was ...

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