Creativity as Snowballs

 

I watched a Creative Mornings {Richmond}  video yesterday by an artist called Noah Scalin. It is an interesting talk which I would recommend that you watch if you have a spare 18 minutes. The best bit of his talk for me was at the end and it is about 47 seconds long which you MUST watch. I have extracted the 47-second video clip using TubeChop (below).

Scalin talks about his preferred metaphor of creativity in this clip. He isn’t a fan of ‘creativity as a well‘ metaphor which requires the individual dipping into the creative well within and drawing from it. “I am running dry {of ideas}” will be the language of a person who holds a “creativity as a well” metaphor. Scalin suggests the use of ‘creativity as snowballs’ as an alternative metaphor. Continue reading

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Longform Storytelling

My last blog post was two months ago. This year my blog outputs have been infrequent because I have devoted a lot of my time and effort to researching and writing longform pieces. One of my creative 2015 goals was to publish at least one longform piece and I have managed to publish two – the first is about ‘Pele, Arthur Ashe and the 1976 Nigerian military coup’ while the second one is on ‘Pele and the Nigerian civil war’.  I am Nigerian by birth hence my interest in telling stories about the country’s sporting and political history. These stories were written to appeal not just Nigerians but also to non-Nigerians. The responses to the pieces from both groups have been overwhelmingly positive. Continue reading

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The Sword versus the Sling

 

38 Then Saul gave David his own armour—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail.39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:38-40

I have blogged about the story of David, Saul and Goliath in past but want to explore this story from a different angle. This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a friend. Before David confronted Goliath in a duel, he had a conversation with Saul, the King of the Israel. Every Israelite soldier was scared to fight Goliath despite Saul’s reward of riches and his daughter’s hand in marriage. Saul, himself, was unwilling to fight Goliath. It was in this atmosphere of fear that David, a young shepherd boy, stepped up to be Israel’s champion against the mighty Goliath.

Saul gave David his armour and sword but David was uncomfortable using them. He decided to stick with his preferred weapon of choice – a sling – and returned Saul’s weaponry.

David and Saul’s story is a good illustration of the importance of discernment and good decision making.
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Effective Leaders aren’t Clumsy with Words

Exo 4:10 ‘But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words” (NLT).

Every great leader who accomplished his vision had to be an effective communicator.

Effective communication is the process of getting people to see what you see and what is required of them. There comes a time when you will have to share your vision with others and it is important that you are able to communicate your vision with clarity and simplicity if you are going to get their support. No one will help a man whose vision is vague and confusing. People need to know where he is heading and how he plans to get there. Continue reading

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The story of Black Africa’s ill-fated 1976 Professional Tennis Tournament

Image source:  Sean MacEntee

Image source: Sean MacEntee

I have just published my first longform story on the Atavist platform. This has been an 18 month side project which I have mentioned on this blog a few times in the past. I am very proud of it and wish to thank everyone who helped me report and write it especially my wife who read numerous drafts and provided feedback. I also wish to thank all the key participants (ex-tennis players and WCT officials) I interviewed for this piece.

The story is about the 1976 World Championship Tennis tournament held in Lagos, Nigeria, which featured some of the best tennis players in the world. This story also features the two biggest Black athletes (Arthur Ashe and Pele) of that era who just happened to be in Nigeria at the same time during one of the country’s most significant events.

I would encourage you to click the story link below to read and share the story:

The story of Black Africa’s ill-fated 1976 Professional Tennis Tournament

 

 

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Creativity and Reverse Engineering

I believe ‘reverse engineering’ is essential for producing creative ideas. The video clip below is a cool visual description of the terminology. This clip is the first 23 seconds of the movie trailer for Pay Check (2003) starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman.

I wrote a couple of blog posts a few years ago on creativity and reverse engineering. Though I have included relevant excerpts from both posts in this post, I would recommend that you click the links for these posts to read the full texts.

The first post titled “Creative Leadership 6” was published in 2010:

King Solomon, in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, said that there is nothing new under the sun. Everything is an adaption of something that has previously existed. Google and Facebook were not the first search engine or social network platform in their industry, but their founders adapted what existed before and then created something better than the rest. Today, both companies dominate their industries. Steve Johnson argued, in his September Wall Street Journal essay, that “big new ideas more often result from recycling and combining old ideas than from eureka moments.” Creative leaders are lifelong learners. They expose themselves to a diverse range of old and new ideas in order to make connections that they can adapt to produce innovative solutions.

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First Things First

I have to admit that April has been my most unproductive month in comparison to the first three months of 2015. There are several creative projects that I have been working on for a while which have stalled. This is because I haven’t managed my time in April as well as I would like.

It was during the period of coming up with today’s blog post as well as thinking about April’s productivity challenges that I recalled Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix. It just felt like the right topic for today’s post and a good model to help me examine my time management issues.

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Game Changer or Status Quo Manager?

Nigeria recently had its presidential elections which was won by General Muhammadu Buhari, who beat the incumbent Head of State, Goodluck Jonathan. This is the first time that a Nigerian ruling party has lost the presidential election in the country’s democratic history. There was a fear that the country would descend into chaos if the electoral outcome didn’t favour the ruling party. A number of wealthy Nigerians took short vacations outside the country during the election period to be out of harm’s way. Thankfully, worst case violent scenarios didn’t materialise and the ruling party accepted defeat. Continue reading

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The Sweet Spot

There is a career profile series called Get that Lifewhich is published weekly on Cosmopolitan’s website. I have read a few articles in the series especially the ones profiling individuals with creative writing careers and would recommend that you visit the website to check out some of the women profiled in the series.

The women in the ‘Get that Life’ series had found in their careers what Scott Belsky terms ‘the sweet spot’ which he discusses in his career-oriented chapter in the book – Maximize your potential.

 Aside from lots of hard work, great creative careers are powered by an intersection of three factors: interest, skill, and opportunity….The magic happens when you find the sweet spot where these three factors intersect. Scott Belsky

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Creative Success

The hardest thing with any creative activity is starting it. It is daunting when you confront the blank page and you don’t know what to do. You want to express yourself, create something good but you are stumped. You try to pull out ideas from your brain and you produce nothing intelligible. A lot of folks give up at this stage and believe that they are simply not creative.   Continue reading

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