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The next issue is huge!
It collects my beginning of the year planning for creative success resources.
And it announces my 2015 / 2016 workshops and a new books and ebooks.
Plus you’ll discover new events, ebooks, galleries, quotes and much more.
Enjoy this collection of my favorite quotes on innovation.
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” — Theodore Levitt
“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” – John Emmerling
“Imagination plus innovation equals realization.” – Denis Waitley
“Ideas are useless unless used.” – T. Levitt
“Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.” – Alfred North Whitehead
“To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act.” – Anatole France
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” – Lee Iaccocca
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard
“Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter
“One of the challenges of innovation is figuring out how to wipe your mind clean about what you should be doing at any given moment, and not having a religious attachment to what’s gotten you there thus far.” – Andrew Mason
“Everybody believes in innovation until they see it. Then they think, ‘Oh, no; that’ll never work. It’s too different.’” – Nolan Bushnell
“Innovation is hard. It really is. Because most people don’t get it. Remember, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, these were all considered toys at their introduction because they had no constituency. They were too new.” – Nolan Bushnell
“The nature of an innovation is that it will arise at a fringe where it can afford to become prevalent enough to establish its usefulness without being overwhelmed by the inertia of the orthodox system.” – Kevin Kelly
“An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.” – Max Planck
“For better or worse, that is true with any new innovation, certainly any new technological innovation. There’s many good things that come out of it, but also some bad things. All you can do is try to maximize the good stuff and minimize the bad stuff.” – Steve Case
“We seem to forget that innovation doesn’t just come from equations or new kinds of chemicals, it comes from a human place. Innovation in the sciences is always linked in some way, either directly or indirectly, to a human experience.” – John Maeda
“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” – Margaret Heffernan
“Innovation is all about people. Innovation thrives when the population is diverse, accepting and willing to cooperate.” – Vivek Wadhwa
“Societies advance through innovation every bit as much as economies do.” – Geoff Mulgan
“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” – Steven Johnson
“Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.” – Bill Gates
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” – Steve Jobs
“You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people.” – Larry Page
“Most companies don’t have the luxury of focusing exclusively on innovation. They have to innovate while stamping out zillions of widgets or processing billions of transactions.” – Gary Hamel
“I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” – Jeff Bezos
“Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into invoices.” – L Duncan
“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” – Michael Porter
“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” – Peter Drucker
“The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present the decline will be fast.” – Peter Drucker
“Do you know what my favorite renewable fuel is? An ecosystem for innovation.” – Thomas Friedman
“Governments will always play a huge part in solving big problems. They set public policy and are uniquely able to provide the resources to make sure solutions reach everyone who needs them. They also fund basic research, which is a crucial component of the innovation that improves life for everyone.” – Bill Gates
“Conservatism cherishes tradition; innovation fetishizes novelty. They tug in different directions, the one toward the past, the other toward the future.” – Jill Lepore
“A key ingredient in innovation is the ability to challenge authority and break rules.” – Vivek Wadhwa
“Innovation is the whim of an elite before it becomes a need of the public.” – Ludwig von Mises
“Innovation, being avant garde, is always polemic.” – Ferran Adria
“We must not confuse distortion with innovation; distortion is useless change, art is beneficial change.” – Chuck Jones
“Creative experimentation propels our culture forward. That our stories of innovation tend to glorify the breakthroughs and edit out all the experimental mistakes doesn’t mean that mistakes play a trivial role. As any artist or scientist knows, without some protected, even sacred space for mistakes, innovation would cease.” – Evgeny Morozov
“Innovation almost always is not successful the first time out. You try something and it doesn’t work and it takes confidence to say we haven’t failed yet … Ultimately you become commercially successful.” – Clayton Christensen
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown
“Pure innovation is more gross than error.” – George Chapman
“We owe our existence to innovation. Our species exists thanks to four billion years of genetic innovation.” – Gary Hamel
“Time is the greatest innovator.” — Sir Francis Bacon
These are two book covers for projects I’m currently developing.
I create visual reminders for projects I’m currently working on. Then I place them in my working environment. They constantly prompt me to consider the work I’m developing at many times and in many moods. I sleep on it. I collect sketches and notes. I plan trips to make new exposures and list what I kind of material I’m looking for. I assemble relevant finished images in the series. I look for connections between images currently being made and images made in the past. I list many ways to develop the work.
What projects are you developing?
What kinds of visual reminders would be helpful to you?
What other things can you do to develop the work you want to do right now?
Plan for success.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I make those kinds of commitments at any time of year, whenever it becomes clear they’re necessary. But I do make plans at the beginning of every year. I review my Mission, Goals, Projects, and Actions lists. While I do this at the beginning of the year, this isn’t the only time I do it. I also do this every time I find something significant has changed in my life. Doing this helps me clarify where I want to go, make sure I’m on the path to getting there, outline the steps necessary to get there, and set realistic timelines. Doing this consistently has helped me more than double my productivity, in a meaningful way. It has also helped me make tough decisions when I’m faced with too many choices. It’s not that I didn’t have a life’s calling before I wrote my mission. It’s just that I wasn’t clear about it. Now I am. As a result, I feel personally empowered. To find my mission took a lot soul-searching, a little time, and it’s still a work in progress.
Make your plan.
Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth (an important distinction to make), I recommend you make a creative plan. If you do this, you too will find both your productivity and fulfillment will increase, in a way that’s meaningful to you. Having defined what you need to accomplish, your unconscious will go to the work of fulfilling it, generating many ideas over time. You’ll find yourself ready to make the most of unexpected opportunities as they arise. Put this all in writing using your own words. Writing increases retention 72%. If you write something down, you’ll be 75% more likely to take action on it. Remember, while other people can help you discuss and refine your plan as it develops, no one can do it for you. For you to truly understand and benefit from it, you have to do it. More importantly, for it to be right for you, it has to be yours.
Break it down into clear manageable pieces.
Set a mission (why you’re doing it), goals (what outcomes you want), projects (the big things you do)(set goals for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, and end of life) and actions (the small steps you take to getting your projects done)(detail your 1 year next actions list) for your creative life. You’ll have one mission, several goals, many projects, and innumerable actions.
Many people use a metaphor of varying altitude to describe the relationship between these parts; the mission is cruising altitude where you see the big picture while the actions are on the runway where you see more specific details. Moving from why to how to what, the higher levels are inclusive of all the lower levels, while the lower levels point toward achieving the prime directive. The specific words you choose for the higher levels are often more important than the words you choose for the lower levels, so it’s likely you’ll revise them many times. As you drill down, the items get more concrete, specific, timely, and numerous. For this reason, many people find that the most difficult part of the plan to do is the simplest, least detailed, but most abstract portion – the mission. Some like to work bottom up, rather than top down, because they can sink their teeth into something more concrete. You can work it either or both ways – top down or bottom up.
However you get there, make sure that when you arrive that your mission really resonates within you and is something that you would consider an inner calling, not something generated out of today‘s particulars and practical realities. A mission should call you to a higher ground of your own choosing and activate new inner resources along the way. Many find that by aligning their efforts with something greater than themselves (i.e. service to others), they do better work and derive more satisfaction from it than they could have first imagined.
I review my past year’s progress before I set a new year’s projects and action lists. Over time, I’ve found I’ve become more realistic about how much to take on and how long it will take to get things done. (But don’t be afraid to dream big! Blue sky thinking is important for connecting with your deepest values.) I always find a few things on my list that have been postponed (and I ask why) and a few get dropped altogether – because I decided to prioritize even better opportunities along the way. I also find that things get added to my past year’s list that weren’t on it at the beginning of that year. It’s important to be open to new opportunities along the way. For that reason, I recommend you review your lists periodically, especially when new major projects are considered. You’ll find this process gets easier every time you do it. The first time you do it is always the hardest; it requires a lot of soul searching and some setting up; once you find your answers and you set up your system it’s much easier to do the next time. A plan is a work in progress. The best plans are be flexible and evolve over time as you grow your vision with new information and perspectives.
The plans you make are there to further your progress. But if you don’t make plans, life just happens and you may not make the time for the things that matter to you most. Make that time.
What plans will you make for your creative life?
David Allen does an excellent job of describing this process in his books Getting Things Done and Making It All Work. I highly recommend them. They changed the way I live my life. And they’ve helped me be even more effective and fulfilled. But don’t wait to read his books to get started! Just get started!
One of the things I do at the beginning of every year is review the accomplishments of the past year.
I take my projects list from the last year and color code it, assigning one color for done, one color for soon to be done, and another color for not done.
I want to know what happened. It feels great to see a list of everything that got done, especially when you get a significant surprise windfall. It can also be disappointing to see what didn’t get done, especially when the items that weren’t accomplished are important. Seeing it the items collected in one place is always revealing.
I want to do more than just see clearly what happened. I also want to know why things happened.
I find the vast majority of things that got done were things I identified as important and scheduled time for – wishing won’t make things happen. If something great and unexpected happened, I want to know why it happened, so I can make similar things happen again. If at the end of the year, I’ve completely rewritten my plan for the year, but it’s been substantially improved, I’m delighted.
If something important didn’t happen, I want to know why. I want to learn from my failures. How many items are close to being done? (A calendar date can sometimes be arbitrary.) Was something delayed for an important reason? Will the delay make it more successful? Did I not see the problem clearly? Were my expectations unreasonable? Did I not perform at peak? Did I overextend myself, taking on too many projects? Did I not allocate enough resources? Did I have the wrong team? Was the timing not right? Did I get distracted? What I can do to avoid this in the future? How can this apply what I learned on one project to my other projects?
This yearly review helps me mentally consolidate everything I’ve accomplished and everything I’ve learned. Often, while I’m doing this review, I learn more things and find more ideas. At the end of the review, learn from my failures and repeat my successes. I want to know if I’m on track and moving forward toward my long term goals.
With those insights fresh on my mind, I make a new projects list for the next year. (I copy last year’s list and delete everything that got done or is no longer relevant, add new items but be careful not to add an unrealistic number, and prioritize them.)
What plans will you make for your creative life now?
Enjoy this collection of my favorite quotes on attitude.
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” ― Marcus Aurelius
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” – Buddha
“Life is like a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” – Ernest Holmes
“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ― Winston S. Churchill
“Attitude is everything.” – Diane von Furstenberg
“Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.” ― Irving Berlin
“It’s not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you.” – Zig Ziglar
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” – Khalil Gibran
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.” – William James
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect It’s successful outcome.” – William James
“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you thing about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thoughts, and habits can be acquired. An action repeated becomes an attitude realized.” – Paul Myer
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” – John C. Maxwell
“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.” – Earl Nightingale
“We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.” – Elbert Hubbard
“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” – William James
“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” – Albert Einstein
“Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity.” Winston Churchill
“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.” – Sugar Ray Robinson
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford
“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.” – Willis Whitney
“They can because they think they can.” – Virgil
“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” – Denis Waitley
“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz
“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” – Ralph Marston
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out” – John Wooden
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” – Colin Powell
“For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” – Walter Scott
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy
“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit
“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” – Og Mandino
“A child’s attitude toward everything is an artist’s attitude.” – Willa Cather
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana
“Humor prevents a hardening of the attitudes.” – Joel Goodman
“Our minds can shape the way a thing will be because we act according to our expectations.” – Federico Fellini
“A positive attitude can really make dreams come true – it did for me.” – David Bailey
“The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl
“Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.” – Anonymous
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – John C. Maxwell
“Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.” – Irving Berlin
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on change.
“Some men see things the way they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were, and ask ‘Why not?” — George Bernard Shaw
“A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows.” — William James
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin
“Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” – Bertold Brecht
“There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus
“Change alone is unchanging.” – Heraclitus
“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
“Change is inevitable. Change is constant.” – Benjamin Disraeli
“Change brings opportunity.” – Nido Qubein
“Change in all things is sweet.” – Aristotle
“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Herbie Hancock searches for a definition of creativity.
“Unlocking The Secrets Of The Creative Process – Part 3” A Conversation With Photographer Eric Meola
October 27, 2014 | Leave a Comment |
Photographer Eric Meola and I share our insights on the creative process in this three-part conversation. In the third installment we discuss the role of chance and surprise in creativity.
EM: In describing how he wrote “Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan said that he found himself writing what he called “this long piece of vomit, 20 pages long.”
“And out of it,” he recalled, “I took ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and made it as a single. And I’d never written anything like that before and it suddenly came to me.”
If nothing else, Dylan has always been incredibly prolific. “Practice, practice, practice,” says Bruce Springsteen. And then one day there’s your father’s image “Galaxy Apple.” Is that part of what process is about … the yin and yang between chaos and discipline?
JP: Process is how you get there. It doesn’t just happen. And it unfolds through time. The final results may have come quickly, but it took a long time for Dylan to get into the specific state of flow that would produce his song. The same is true for everyone, including photographers.
This reminds me of a time when I introduced a friend of mine to my father. He said, “Oh, you’re that photographer. Gosh I’d like to have your career. All those 1/125ths of a second. What’s that add up to? A 20-minute career?”
Dylan’s statement, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” seems related to Picasso’s “It takes a long time to grow young.”
EM: And Dylan as a teenager in Hibbing, Minnesota, used to listen all night to Hank Williams and Little Richard on the radio—it was all part of the “process” of gearing up for “Bringin’ It All Back Home.”
You mention using a Spirograph as a child to make circles, ellipses and various radiating designs. And some of these patterns continue to show up in your latest imagery. How important is a sense of wonder to photography, or any art form?
JP: How important is a sense of wonder to a life well lived? I think it’s essential. Keeping our sense of wonder alive and well increases our openness, curiosity, sensitivity, perception, playfulness, passion, pleasure, and many other positive benefits. This is related to keeping our inner child or the childlike (not childish) aspects of ourselves active and vibrant.
EM: We’ve discussed chaos versus discipline in art. What about a happy accident—serendipity? What role does “chance” play in process? In the film Pollock, Ed Harris shows Jackson Pollock stumbling onto the process for his drip paintings. Do you ever look at something you’ve done or have been thinking about and suddenly make a leap to a concept that had not occurred to you before? I’m also thinking of Kubrick’s famous visual metaphor early in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ape throws a bone that morphs into a rotating space station.
JP: There are two questions here. My answer to both is yes …
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