Creativity and open work mentality

Comedian John Cleese (Monty Python) spoke for 30 minutes about creativity in this video. His opening line was “What I have to tell you tonight about how to be more creative is a complete waste of time. So I think it would be much better if I just told jokes instead.”

His opening put the audience into a different listening mode – one less focused on recording facts and instead more flexible, more prepared to combine many pieces of his talk into their own thesis on what it means to be creative.

John Cleese: “Those regarded by their peers as most creative were not intellectually different from anyone else. They were simply better at getting into the right mood – a way of operating – that allowed their natural creativity to function.”

That’s like writing this blog. It’s not my work, nor part of my career objectives. I do it because I get to explore ideas that maybe a few other people would enjoy reading.

That’s like National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo). For the last five years I’ve written 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. That’s about 2 hours a day of committed effort, and no, I haven’t published a single thing. But I could have spend those two hours watching TV. At least now I have a much better idea of what I like to read and someday I’ll publish a decent novel you’ll spend two hours a day reading.

And that’s also why I have a repository of creative and poignant images. I’m dumping my image deck on your now since you’ll enjoy them more than my dissecting John Cleese’s talk. It suffices to say that he is absolutely right about creative, successful businesses maintain an open work environment where problems get solved, but not quickly or linearly. Mediocre businesses are closed and anxious – like google has become now that beating Facebook is more important than being yourself.

Marc’s Image Deck (Sep 2011-April 2012)

"I survived breast cancer and had a baby"

John Cleese says: For creativity we need space,


more time,

and a sense of humor (rather than a sense of urgency).

Kenyan & Ugandan stories from 2011
Wind looks different when you visualize the air speeds instead of the clouds.

John Cleese: Creative people are willing to play with a problem for longer, and accept the anxiety of having not solved the problem as they explore many more bad ideas before arriving at a good one.

We all have urgent, important problems to solve. But letting that urgency drive your behavior makes you less creative.

Colored countries are where Americans can travel with no visa or obtain visa upon arrival

John Cleese: Confidence is important for creativity. If you are afraid of making mistakes or offering up a stupid idea, you will filter out the nuggets that might lead to a creative breakthrough.

Where the world's money is.

John Cleese, quoting Edward Debono on “Intermediate impossibles”.

Humor and creativity is the merging of two different concepts that yield a third new concept that is neither like either of its parts.

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