Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fostering a Personal Culture of Innovation

With many thanks to Buffy Hamilton, The Unquiet Librarian, for this link, I wanted to share this fantastic list of 50 ways to foster a culture of innovation. It was designed more for companies, but many of the items on the list can be taken to heart personally. Buffy mentioned the items on the list that spoke to her in terms of her school library in her post. I would like to amplify on some of the items that spoke to me as an artist.

3. Have more fun. If you're not having fun (or at least enjoying the process) something is off.
I really don't think the "fun" factor of imaginative play can be underestimated. There are several big studies now indicating that some children don't know how to engage in imaginative play anymore. Imaginative play is our first creative work as children. Making things has always been fun for me. Even though I work at it very hard, it's the fun that keeps me going.

5. Make new mistakes.
This is something with which I have to challenge myself. I have perfectionist issues so I don't like to make mistakes. I read a wonderful book called Too Perfect:When Being in Control Gets Out of Control. It helped me to realize that I often don't do something because I'm afraid I'll make a mistake. Now I try to look at mistakes as part of the journey and something from which to learn.

7. Increase the visual stimuli of your organization's physical space.
Now that I have a much smaller studio space, I have also lost the space I used to pin up inspirational pictures or fabrics or statements that inform the piece I'm creating. Inspiration or design boards (like the ones interior decorators make) would be a good alternative to pinning things up on a design wall.

9. Ask questions about everything. After asking questions, ask different questions. After asking different questions, ask them in a different way.
While this is another one of those areas that many perfectionists find troublesome, I do not hesitate to ask questions. My challenge will be to keep asking and refining.

14. Embrace and celebrate failure....
See above. This is REALLY difficult for me. I'm also very optimistic, so I'm a lemons/lemonade sort of person. I'm always trying to resuscitate the dead. The challenge here will be to "call it" and move on to the next project.

20. Create a portfolio of opportunities: short-term, long-term, incremental, and discontinuous. Just like an investment portfolio, balance is critical. This is my absolute favorite of the ideas that this list gave me. I have a tendency to do large projects, then to start another large project when I need move in another direction. For me, smaller projects would be a great concept as would keeping track of the larger ones in which I'm loosing interest. Look for more on this soon.

31. Develop a process of trying out new concepts quickly and on the cheap. Learn quickly what's working and what's not.
Again, this is where working on a small project to try something out would make incredible sense. I have the vehicles already--doorknob art, small joys--to try new things without making a huge time commitment.

I would love to hear some of the things that help you readers to be more creative and innovative. Please share in the comments.


Diana said...

Thank you for asking us fiber artists to think about innovation.

Dana W. Fisher said...

You are welcome, Diana. Thank you for your visit.

Sally said...

"31. Develop a process of trying out new concepts quickly and on the cheap. Learn quickly what's working and what's not."---I have been a member of the Fast Friday group on QA from about the inception. These small, quick works have been a great tool to try new things---and having just over a week certainly leads to quick.

Loreen Leedy said...

At the risk of stating the obvious, reading blogs by other artists (and especially looking at the photos) has been very inspirational for me.

Jean Baardsen said...

I have perfectionist issues too. (Match mine against yours ANY day!) I've done the portfolio thing - a three ring binder with a section on each of the crafts that interest me. Another binder with pictures that inspire me. More time went into the binders than the projects.... I think my favorite quote is from Nike - Just Do It! I often say that to myself, and I occasionally listen.

margaret said...

In the original list, item no.16 hit home for me: to promote the *benefits* of new projects, rather than their features. This type of focus will help in making those scary leaps into the unknown!

Dana W. Fisher said...

Yes, I like the distinction you make, Margaret, and you are right about the benefits of this focus.
Thanks for visiting.
All the best,

Dana W. Fisher said...

Sally--I really like the concept of the Fast Friday group.
Loreen--As I told you, I think of the quilting bloggers I read as my virtual guild. I am constantly learning from them.
Jean--Boy do I hear you on the binders becoming yet another large project!! I have a quote posted in my studio that says, "If not now--when?"

I got behind on the comments. Thanks to all of you for visiting.
Kind regards,

quiltcat said...

I look forward to reading the original list...and the Scientific American article about perfectionism, something that i certainly suffer from (it's nice to know that it's also recognized as having some positive benefits). I like the idea of working on really small projects (like journal pages) to try out new techniques but i never seem to be able to make time. However, i do always have multiple projects going in different stages at the same time...helps me stay interested in all of them!

Dana W. Fisher said...

Hi Cat,
One of the great things about that book, Too Perfect, is that is does talk about the good things associated with perfectionism and it has a chapter on living with someone who's a perfectionist. It sounds like our work methods are very similar. I cannot work on one thing at a time.
Kind regards,