Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

The Christmas Card Project

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

With Christmas almost here, and our cards nearly all out in the mail, I thought it would be nice to tell you about our Christmas Card Project, which has been going now for the past eight years.

In 2005, we decided to play our part in encouraging young artists and designers by helping to bring their work to a wider audience.

So, we envisaged a “virtual gallery”, in which Christmas cards, which seemed to be becoming a dying ritual, would be treated like artwork, and sent out every year with a different young artist’s work. The result would then become a virtual exhibition. In the long artistic tradition of limited edition prints, where only a certain number of prints of a particular design are ever made, and each one is personally numbered in pencil, we made this our model.

The first artist we chose was a recently graduated art student, Laura Amos (now working mainly in photography), whose work we discovered at the Graduate Exhibition of Adelaide College of the Arts. I was blown away by her huge black and white abstract painting which dominated the exhibition and had in spades what every gallery curator looks for: wall presence. When Laura agreed to provide an art piece for the cards, she was given a free choice of subject matter, but when I told her of my family tradition of collecting nutcrackers every Christmas, she chose the Nutcracker theme, and we have stuck to it every year since.

The idea is simple: Find a young artist who interests us, vary the style and medium every year, print a limited number of cards and send them out to as wide an audience of family, friends, clients and associates as we can.

The brief is simple too: The cards must be black and white, they must not be “schmaltzy” or sentimental, and they must be an interpretation of the The Nutcracker story by ETA Hoffmann, which was made famous by the Tchaikovsky Ballet of the same name.

Every card is hand numbered and handmade, and every card features the artist’s signature and their biography on the back cover.

Last year we upped the ante by asking a street artist to paint a black and white mural on a wall. It was a hard act to follow!

But this year we think we’ve upped it even more. This year’s artist is Emily Seidel, who has a particular passion for fabric, and her design, based on wood prints of the 1800’s has been painstakingly hand printed on fabric, in a process that has been through three separate printing stages. All up, I estimate that each handmade card has been touched 8 times in different stages of production including by the artist, the printer, and the card designer who is responsible for putting it all together. And this doesn’t include the hand written message!

When we have 10 designs, we plan to hold an actual exhibition of the cards.

In a world where Christmas can often become a tacky, material event of excess or greed, and where most Christmas greetings are now sent electronically, we hope that by holding this building mini exhibition of work, thought and hope that the young artists bring, and that our friends and colleagues can touch, keep and collect, we are keeping alive some of the original meaning of Christmas, which is a story of hope and sharing.

We wish all our clients, friends, associates and partners, in Australia and across the world, a very Happy Christmas, and a wonderful and prosperous 2013!

 

Stephen Kohl, Lynette Jensen and the other directors & staff at Genesys Australia

 

 

Bio for Emily Seidel

 

Emily Seidel lives in Sydney and has had an interest in design, art and fabric since she was very young. With a particular eye for pattern, shape, line and unusual texture, she brings a wide Australian cultural experience of living in various country and city locations to her work, which seems to be also underpinned by the aesthetic of her German ancestry.

We asked Emily to design our 2012 Nutcracker Christmas card because we like her interesting design eye and her feel for fabric, and we were interested to see how an artist drawn to texture, with a German heritage, would interpret the German Christmas fairytale The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffmann, which was made famous by the Tchaikovsky ballet of the same name.

We are delighted by the result. Emily’s dark, mysterious and layered design is inspired not only by The Nutcracker tale, but also by European woodcuts from the 1800’s. The design, through its layers, mixed media and texture, evokes feelings and dream-like images of deep European winters when families were closed in and longing for the return of the sun, and told each other stories like The Nutcracker to bide their time and express their fear of darkness, while they waited patiently for the return of spring.

This is the underlying historical origin of Christmas – a winter’s tale, and a story of hope.

Lynette Jensen

Related posts:

St. Nicholas & The Christmas Season

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, Creative Innovation 2012, Mind, Consciousness, Working Life and is 100 the New 70?

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Baroness Susan Greenfield, renowned British scientist and broadcaster, will be a keynote speaker at Australia’s cutting edge Creative Innovation Conference in Melbourne this week. According to the Weekend Australian, the baroness has come to Australia especially for the conference, in partnership with Melbourne University’s Neuroscience Institute, and her work in mind and consciousness, and most recently how technology impacts on brain development, will provide a challenging and thought provoking perspective at the conference that has quickly become a leading forum in Australian and international thought leadership.

Susan Greenfield’s work encompasses neuroscience, psychology and philosophy, and her observations and enquiries have wide-ranging social, scientific and technological ramifications. Her research into consciousness and how it is affected by cognitive degenerating diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, leads to considerations about what consciousness is, and how society might be affected by longer and more productive lives if these diseases can be understood and conquered. Recently, she has been turning her attention to the possible effects of technology and social media on brain development, human culture and social functioning.

With increased understanding of, and defences against, aging diseases of the brain, the working life of human beings could well be extended, especially as science and medicine continue to increase human health and fitness, leading to longer life expectancy as well.

In the Weekend Australian article, in answer to the question, “Will 100 be the new 70?”, Greenfield says, “Yes, and the question then becomes: what are we going to do with the second 50 years of life? We should be re-thinking old age in positive ways, rather than just killing time with golf and Sudoko.”

So if 100 becomes the new 70, as a society we need to be ready to view age differently, and to find effective ways of maximizing and applying the wealth of knowledge and experience that will become a huge social resource if people can live longer and have a longer intellectually and physically useful and productive life. And this clearly has huge ramifications for how we view the workforce and think about our career spans and older workers and what they might and could provide. It has far-reaching effect for all of us.

This kind of thought-provoking research and discussion is the hallmark of the Creative Innovation Conference, now in it’s third year. The brain-child of Melbourne’s Tania de Jong, and sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank, the conference brings together intellectuals, business leaders and innovators from around the world and provides an opportunity to meet, challenge, think and envisage the way the future is shaped.

Creative Innovation 2012 will be held at the Sofitel in Melbourne from 28th – 30th November, where Baroness Greenfield will be joined by a host of international and local speakers including CSIRO’s Dr. Megan Clark, and UCLA strategist, Professor Richard Rumelt.

As it has before in it’s short and influential history, Creative Innovation 2012 promises to provide challenge, insight, debate and inspiration and we very glad to be a part of it.

 

You can read our Creativity Psych Report for the conference here, or on the conference websiteor find a summary in the Conference Program

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.


Human Resources & Innovation

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Innovation and Creativity articles dominate the July issue of HR Monthly, the official magazine of AHRI, Australia’s peak Human Resources body.

Like businesses and organisations the world over, who are increasingly recognising that innovation and creativity allow them to stay afloat and even get ahead of the game in a world changed by difficult and volatile global economic forces, HR Monthly asks how creative thinking and innovative practices are relevant and can be integrated into Human Resources.

Janine Mace begins her Switched On article with, “ It’s a war out there as companies battle to just keep up, let alone get ahead of the game … and innovation is increasingly being touted as essential for an organisation’s success.”

Mace interviewed innovation think-tank Hargraves Institute’s CEO Allan Ryan, Queensland University of Technology’s Dr. Judy Matthews, and Coca-Cola’s Derek O’Donnell to discover how they believe innovation is an essential ingredient in the success of all organisations, particularly those which will grow and flourish into the future. All three experts refer to studies and programs in place that identify the importance of innovation, and all believe that Human Resources has an important part to play in innovation.

Mace says, “Given the close ties between internal culture and innovation, it is unsurprising HR is viewed as a significant player in this area – both at the strategic and practical level.”

This understanding of the practical role HR can play in innovation is echoed in both By Design, in which Brad Howarth considers how organisations need to re-think the way they manage, engage with and develop their staff because “recession may just mean a new opportunity to rethink your workforce”, and in Core Values in which Jacqueline Blondell talks about creativity, innovation and good education with Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak.

To some extent so far, Australia has been sheltered from the more severe effects of the Global Economic Crisis, but as time goes on, even in Australia the economy seems to be flat, and it’s clear that we need to play the long game. That means that permanent changes need to be made.

Individuals and organisations need to hone their creativity in order to survive, and apply it to innovation, adaptability, problem-solving, team-work and leadership. It’s about playing smart, being lean and mean, rolling with the punches and seeing and exploiting opportunities.

And as the world takes on inevitable on-going challenges, Human Resources not only can’t afford to ignore the importance of creativity and innovation, but has a crucial role to play in helping smooth the way.

Human Resources is about people, and people need to be adaptive to survive.  By understanding how to find staff who are creative, and recognising, understanding and developing the creativity styles of the people they already have, HR can play a leading part in going forward into a world of increased skill, adaptability and creative problem solving and understanding.

And organisational success.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on the heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related posts:

The Secret Ingredient of Creativity

How to Spot an Original Thinker

Creative Innovation 2011 Conference

A Room With a View (Creativity in the Workplace)

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

The Secret Ingredient of Creativity for Profit & Productivity

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’ve noticed, as I go around talking to organisations about diagnosing, understanding and harnessing their creativity to improve their business practices, that there is one crucial ingredient of creativity that most people don’t know about. This makes me think that idea Incubation might be the secret ingredient of innovation and problem solving.

Some people, like Steve Jobs, know the secret automatically, but you can learn to use it too.

What is Incubation, and how does it work?

Incubation is what we do when we stop thinking intensely and deliberately about something, and allow our brains and thoughts to flow. Incubation is the process of allowing yourself to think about things at an unconscious level, and using it results in “Eureka”, or “light-bulb” moments and break-through ideas.  All “creatives” know how it works, and they use it deliberately to help them solve problems, create innovations and exploit opportunities.

Incubation should be factored in to any problem solving process, whether it’s developing new products, improving teamwork, knowing how to lead effectively or generally adapting effectively and well to change. Incubation is the secret ingredient for staying ahead of the game.

So how can you make it work for you?

The process of creative problem solving requires a number of elements coming together, and all human beings have an inbuilt ability to do it.  When we use Incubation, whether deliberately or not, we allow ourselves to percolate ideas from deep inside, without directly thinking about them.

This process involves a change of scenery or activity. It explains why sometimes we have breakthrough ideas or find solutions in our sleep or when we are in the shower. By changing the way your thought patterns operate, you can allow your brain to “free-range” and this change allows your brain to see patterns, put pieces together and join the dots.

While some people know how to deliberately use Incubation, everyone can learn how to do it. You can learn how to deliberately factor in Incubation time to your personal or organisational processes. Companies like Google and Pixar are famous for using various Incubation techniques, like allowing free time for employees and having free-form work places that provide various activities like talking, playing sports and walking around the grounds, and they have reaped the rewards by becoming dominating players in their fields.

But you don’t need to invest in new buildings or huge organisational change. It’s easy to learn how to increase and exercise Incubation. There are a number of exercises you can do (and which we can help you with) or you can do it yourself. On a personal level, you can go for walks, do crossword puzzles, look at the sea, play a game of squash, or doodle. Any activity that takes your mind off the problem at hand and that allows your thoughts to either roam freely or be focussed on an entirely different activity will do the trick. On an organisational level, you can introduce the deliberate use of Incubation into your decision-making processes.

The key is to understand that Incubation is crucial and necessary to the creativity process, and that with a small investment in time, and learning to understand how it works, you can maximise the production of all innovative solutions.

Working creatively and smart maximises individual and organisational out-put, productivity, ideas and innovation, problem solving, time management and ultimately financial and every other sort of profit.

Make Incubation your friend, and put it to good use.

 

To her surprise, she found the great detective, engaged in building card houses. 

“It is not, Mademoiselle, that I have become childish in my old age. No. But the building of card houses, I have always found it most stimulating to the mind.”

Hercule Poirot, Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on the heading to leave a comment

Related posts:

Creativity in the Workplace

How to Spot an Original Thinker

Why IBM found Creativity = Business Success

Creativity: The Essence of Being Australian

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Easter Time: Celebration & Symbolism

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Easter time is one of my favourite times of year, because in Australia around Easter the light is gentle, crisp and golden. In contrast to its underlying symbolism and meaning, Easter in the Southern Hemisphere is in autumn and in Australia there is a mellowness and relief in the air, as though the earth is resting from the intensity of summer, and gently closing itself in, in preparation for the hibernation of winter soon to come.

Easter itself is a celebration of spring and resurrection. Like Christmas, Christianity’s association with Easter came much later than its deep pre-Christian roots and symbolism.

In Christianity, the three days of Easter reflect and remember the story of the death of Jesus. Good Friday represents the day Jesus was put to death by the Romans, and so is a day of sorrow, and Easter Sunday is a day of rejoicing because in the Christian story, Jesus was resurrected two days after his death.

Tales of resurrection are not confined to Christianity. The Ancient Greeks, for instance, celebrated the story of Adonis, and carried effigies of his body through the streets in his honour, the Egyptians had the story of Osiris, and there are resurrection stories in many cultures including Scandinavian and Indigenous American and Australian cultures. The Graeco-Roman hero Heracles (Hercules) descended into Hades and returned, and was later rewarded with immortality by the gods.

Resurrection stories reflect the seasons of the earth and the cycle of life. Food crops are our main human source of sustenance, and these are closely and directly tied to the seasons. Spring is a time of replanting and renewal, and is a time of rejoicing after a long period of winter months of hardship and hibernation. The warmth and promise of spring enliven us and give us optimism and energy.

All the symbols of Easter then are symbols of fertility, resurrection and celebration. Eggs symbolise imminent rebirth, rabbits symbolise fertility, hot-cross buns which are traditionally eaten by Christians on Good Friday, represent the abundant use of dried fruits which historically got us through winter and which can be used up extravagantly with the return of spring and the coming of fresh fruit. Western and some other Christians have added decorative crosses to symbolise Christian understanding of death and resurrection. The bright colours with which we paint and now wrap eggs is a symbol of our collective joy at the return of spring and the “rebirth” of the earth following the “death” of winter.

The instinct for celebration and symbolism is central to our human psyche and keeps us alive, optimistic and looking forward. Whether we’re Christian or not, celebration and symbolism make us who we are as individuals, cultural groups and as a species.

Happy Easter!

And if you’re in the mood for irony, here’s a spoof Goo Egg ad!

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Adelaide Festival Time!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Adelaide is at its best at festival time, and right now the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the Adelaide Fringe Festival are in full swing, and Womadelaide begins tomorrow.

The buzz in Adelaide at festival time is amazing. The streets and parks are full of life, colour and energy.  Adelaidians love a party, and they flock to the city at festival time where they go to shows, stay up late, wander through The Garden of Unearthly Delights in Rymill Park, spend all weekend listening to world music under the trees in the Botanic Park, and throng, dozens deep, around buskers from around the world in Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s central shopping precinct.

People come from across Australia and the world to attend and to perform. The Festival of Arts is a premier international event and the leading arts festival in Australia. It’s responsible for bringing major, groundbreaking shows, events and performances to Australia, and for introducing much new work, ideas and discussion and debate. The Festival includes an extensive programme of free performances, exhibitions and discussion forums, while the Fringe Festival brings significant colour, edge and spectacle to a normally quiet and quite conservative city.

A Fringe Festival is a spin-off from a mainstream arts festival. Arts festivals draw audiences and participants, and they also draw buskers and other performers and artists who come to see the festival, to be around the general environment and atmosphere, and who stage casual or impromptu performances and events on “the fringe” of an official festival. In Adelaide, like Edinburgh, the Fringe Festival rivals the popularity of the main festival, and has become an independent event. In Adelaide, the Fringe is so popular that it is held annually and autonomously, and though it doesn’t seem to have lost it’s edge, it has become like a grown up child.

I love to be in Adelaide during festival time, and always try to be here then, especially since our Adelaide rooms overlook Rymill Park, the hub of the Fringe Festival. Every day here at the moment almost feels as exciting as being at the circus, as crowds of people go past our windows on their way to the events at the park, stop for coffee on the footpaths of the coffee shops surrounding us, and groups of little school children look like flocks of birds chirping excitedly with looks of wonder and glee. Yesterday, a group of about thirty 5-year olds dressed in purple uniforms and big sun hats looked like little walking, giggling mushrooms rushing past.

Though I’m a Sydney girl, my connection to Adelaide began before I was born when my mother came to Adelaide as a graphic artist and worked here for 6 months in an advertising agency. “A working holiday” she always called it. Her time in Adelaide struck her so deeply that I spent my childhood hearing stories of the elegance and sophistication of the city, the beauty of the country around Kapunda where the houses were wondrously rendered with mud that held ancient relics like shark’s teeth, and of towns where German settlers had established communities like Hahndorf and the towns of the Barossa Valley.

So Adelaide is my second home, and it feels etched into my being. Though the Adelaide Festival of Arts didn’t exist in my mother’s time here, her love of Adelaide was based on the very real commitment to and love of the arts and culture that the city has always had at its heart and which the Adelaide Festival of Arts embodies.

Sometimes in Adelaide I miss the hoards of people I’m used to in Sydney and the other bigger Australian cities. But festival time in Adelaide makes up for that. Right now, I’m fairly sure that Adelaide is the most vibrant and dynamic place in Australia to be. It’s festival time in Adelaide!

 

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

Creative Innovation 2011 Conference

A Room with a View

Sydney Trapeze School

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Play to Your Strengths

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

When I was a child growing up in the middle suburbs of Sydney, every household seemed to religiously read The Australian Women’s Weekly. It was a cultural and social mainstay: both a barometer and a bible.

One of the main things I learned from the Women’s Weekly is to play to your strengths. Over and over again, and in various ways, The Weekly published articles about how to emphasize your good points and disguise or compensate for your bad ones. (What shape is your face? How do you disguise a pear-shaped body? How do you make narrow shoulders look wider? What is your best colour?) From these articles I grew up learning how to look for my good features and compensate for the ones I didn’t like so much.

Though the lesson was generally intended to apply to your appearance, the regularity of these articles over many years became deeply entrenched in me, and I expect all the other young readers, and it soon became such second nature that it wasn’t hard to apply the principle to my whole life, not just to the way I looked.

I came to understand that the same principles are taught in sportbusiness, advertising, graphic art, leadership and coaching, and that they apply to every area of successful life management. In graphic art for instance, we are taught to quickly grab the attention of the viewer and convey the message instantly and effectively, and you need to understand the best points of something to be able to do that. In sport, we play our best players and team combination, put them in the right positions for their talents, teach them to compensate for each others flaws, and we understand to “never change a winning team”.

Yesterday, our Genesys Australia team examined our creativity & problem-solving profile. We have assessed many other teams and groups recently, and we decided it was time we “put our money where our mouth is” and looked at our selves.

Looking at our collective strengths and weaknesses, and examining how these fit with our aims, practice and style as an organization, I was reminded of the Women’s Weekly and it’s lesson to know yourself, and I was extremely gratified to have the opportunity to see how we all looked as a team and to see where our strengths and weaknesses lie.

We combined our individual results from the me2 Diagnostic, and examined our team in terms of the dimensions, which include idea generation, personality, motivation and confidence. We charted these on graphs, so that we could clearly see how we all fit together.

Our over-all score is well above average, which is reassuring in a post GFC world, where organizations need to be ready to constantly change and adapt.  As a group, we are high on fluency, idea generation and confidence in sharing ideas. We performed well on achievement and incubating ideas, and can see how we can increase these areas further. Though still in the average range, our lower score was in competiveness, which, after some discussion, we believe is consistent with our strong service-based ethic to help our clients solve their problems. It also reflects that we are both a psychology practice and a very cohesive collaborative team whose members work closely and well together. But we will keep our eye on this – perhaps we need to develop ourselves a bit more in this area and we will introduce some exercises and measures to help us.

The graphs showed a very creative team that has many healthy elements of diversity, and yes, strengths and weaknesses.

By understanding your strengths you can obviously use them to your best advantage, and you do this by minimising or reducing weaknesses and by using, fine-tuning and developing strengths. Many people waste a lot of time concentrating on weaknesses but they are only part of the picture. The key is to play to your strengths which means know your weaknesses and minimise them, but focus on and hone your strengths.

The Australian Women’s Weekly taught me that you can’t play to your strengths unless you know what they are. Yesterday, using the me2 Diagnostic, our team gained a clearer and more focused idea of how to do that. And it gave us a reassuring sense of understanding and self-confidence.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

How to Spot an Original Thinker

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Creative Innovation 2011 Conference: Creativity, Innovation & Business

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The innaugural Creative Innovation Conference was described last year by Micenet Australia Magazine as “The Best Conference Ever”. Last week I, and two of my associates, attended Creative Innovation 2011 and I can un-ashamedly say that the 2011 version was indeed the best conference ever.

Creative Innovation 2011 brought together world-leading thinkers in the areas of innovation, business, cognitive thinking, invention, philosophy, creativity, and strategic and organisational planning and development.

Never before have I attended a conference where I was never bored, where the mix of speakers was varied yet related, where the timing was seamless, punchy and perfect, where entertainment was not simply distraction but was meaningfully woven into the fabric of the conference itself, where the venue was stylish and pleasant and not overwhelming or tacky, and where the conference participants were genuinely enlivened, challenged and clearly felt a real sense of connection to the ideas, the speakers and each other.

World famous thought leaders and thinkers like Dr Edward de Bono, Professor Daniel DennettRaymond Kurzweil and Brendan Boyle rubbed shoulders with each other and the conference participants. Major names in Australian business, like Steve Vamos, Non Executive Director at Telstra, Pip Marlow, Managing Director at  Microsoft AustraliaSimon McKeon, Chairman of Maquarie Group (Melbourne) and CSIRO and 2011 Australian of the Year, and Michael Rennie, Managing Partner of McKinsey and Company presented stream-lined, engaging addresses full of life and applicable, sensible, practical advice and thought-provoking ideas. Gifted and inspired young thinkers and problem solvers like Victor Finkel and Tan Le brought not only new ideas and ways of seeing, but hope, inspiration and light.

Ci2011 was sponsored by the crème de la crème of Australian business: ANZ was the major sponsor, supported by GE, The Financial Review Group, Telstra, Deloitte, and many others, as well as the Victorian State Government and many Australian universities including Deakin, La Trobe, The University of Melbourne and Swinburne.

We were honoured to have played a role in the conference too, by using the me2 Creativity Diagnosis to assess the creativity of applicants for the conference scholarship program, an inspired innovation which allows for 10 people to not only attend, but to pitch their ideas for change & innovation in 60 second presentations interspersed throughout the conference. Our study revealed a number of interesting characteristics about the creative make-up of the 2011 scholarship applicants and their creative style, and helps to identify the various traits that indicate creative out-put and approach, and it would be interesting indeed to compare the results of the 2011 group with applicants in other years. (A summary of the report appears on pages 18 & 19 of the conference program, and the full report is on the Ci2011 website.)

Creative Innovation is the brain-child of Melbourne soprano and social entrepreneur, Tania de Jong AM, who, with the help of her stellar team from Creative Universe and Creativity Australia, and backed-up by the organisational support of Baldwin Consulting (for whom nothing was too much trouble) managed to change the medium of a conference presentation into something much more like an art-piece. The end result was well envisioned, beautifully orchestrated and delivered, and had charm, meaning and provided every participant with considerable food for thought and spirit.

There is much more I could say about this astonishing event, like the way MC Michael Pope managed to keep it running smoothly, effortlessly and with great aplomb and wit, like the brilliance of the young performers such as Stefan Cassomenos and Andrew Suttar or the grace, wisdom and palpable kindliness of the trio of luminary Conference Ambassadors and chairs Hugh Morgan, Sir Gustav Nossal and Professor Alan Fels, but I’m running out of space.

To find out more (and there is much more!) I highly recommend you visit the conference website, and do everything you can to be there next year!

This was not the sort of conference that inspires you on the day but quickly leaves you. This is the kind of event that stays with you like good theatre or an outstanding concert: it touches you and changes you, and you feel its effect permanently.

I didn’t know a conference could effect me like an artwork, which is the point: leading businesses like ANZ, thinkers like de Bono and artists like Tania de Jong understand that creativity is the spark that ignites all future development, innovation and inspiration.

The vision, organisation and delivery of the Creative Innovation Conference, begun as an idea over drinks, shows how creativity and business so easily comes together. All really successful outcomes take an inspired idea and build on it with commitment, planning and thorough organisation, to produce the delivery of an ultimate result that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. It’s true of business, innovation, art, sport and all successful human endeavour.

Creativity is what takes us to the future, and unites us. Creative Innovation 2011 proved that.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

Why IBM Found Creativity = Business Success

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

In 2010, IBM published the Global Survey of CEOs 2010 and found that,

“More than rigour, management, discipline, integrity or even vision – successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity”.

IBM and the more than 1500 CEOs they interviewed from 60 different countries are not alone are in this view. Ernst & Young in their Connecting Innovation to Profit Report, 2010 said,

“The ability to manage, organise, cultivate and nurture creative thinking is directly linked to growth and achievement.”

Why is creativity so important?

Creativity underpins everything we do. It’s hard-wired into our DNA. We can’t help but be creative. Creativity is the ability to solve problems and exploit opportunities. It’s what got us out of the caves and experimenting and discovering. As a species, we have an insatiable desire to make new things, to see what we can do with what we’ve got, to invent and discover, to play with ideas and to see if we can push things to the limit.

Creativity is the raw material of innovation, or in other words, innovation is creativity put into action.

This means that to change and adapt, to invent and develop, to find solutions, to lead well, to get and stay ahead of the pack, to grow and flourish and ultimately to succeed financially, we need creativity. And it follows that the individuals and organisations who can harness their creativity the most will do the best, especially in the post GFC world of constant rapid change.

Creativity applies to everyone.

It’s a myth that only some people are creative, like artists or designers, or that creativity applies to the arts and innovation applies to science or engineering.

We believe and perpetuate these myths to our individual and organisational peril. Everyone left alone on a dessert island would display creativity because they would find that necessity is the mother of invention. They’d look for food, build shelter, cloth themselves in ways they might never have thought of before in order to survive.  They’d use their natural, innate creativity.

Why not get as smart as we can and learn to harness our creativity in business?

During the GFC, in our workplace psychology practice, we noticed that the old ways of doing business, finding staff and operating organisations were fast becoming less relevant. Organisations were “stripping fat”, and cutting back spending on things like recruitment and non-essential training, and looking for new and expedient and cost-effective ways of doing things, and expecting more value for the money they did spend. This attitude seems to have remained.

So we started researching products and theories that would help identify and develop the new imperative to think smart and to change and adapt.

Earlier this year, we discovered that from research at Manchester Business School, a new tool for the workplace had just been developed that identified underlying creativity. If you could assess creativity, and work out in what ways individuals were creative and how they applied their innate creativity, then you could use this information to understand, develop and train individuals and organisations to apply creativity more effectively. Impressively simple idea!

It was what we were looking for, and we knew it was what was so widely needed in the world of business and organisations.

So, we have just launched the new me2 Creativity Diagnostic Tool after a three-month Australian validity study in which we assessed hundreds of people from across the country from many different areas and levels of the workplace. The more we trialled it, the more accuracy we saw, and as a psychology practice, the data really impressed us. Having been used in 41 countries by over 3,500 people so far, it is showing no bias for age, ethnicity or language and the research suggests it is predicting 86% variance for creativity compared to the 3-14% that other tools like Myers-Briggs (MBTI), the Big Five and Hogan Development Survey predict.

The me2 Diagnostic Tool by E-METRIXX is based on years of solid research and development into the psychology of creativity by Dr. Mark Batey and the Psychometrics at Work Research Group from Manchester University. We like it because of the credible research, because it works so well and because it is extremely user friendly.

One of our clients described it the other day as “the sexiest new HR tool” and I think he’s right. It’s very exciting, and also quite humbling, to know that you are introducing a new way of understanding and doing things into the workplace.

Can everyone be creative? You bet!

What has creativity got to do with business? Everything! It underpins innovation, problem-solving, team work and leadership and has unlimited potential to apply to profit as well.

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

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* We were asked to conduct a study on creativity using the me2 Creativity Diagnostic for the forthcoming Creative Innovation 2011 Conference in Melbourne featuring Edward De Bono & sponsored by ANZ, the Financial Review & Business Review Weekly. The report will be published in the conference program and is available on the conference website

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.

How to Spot an Original Thinker

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Original thinkers who drive innovation, adaptability and problem solving are highly valuable and sought-after, so if organisations were able to identify and encourage original thinkers they would have a huge advantage in the marketplace.

Can you spot an original thinker? Dr Mark Batey of Manchester University’s Manchester Business School believes you can.

In a recently produced MBS video interview, Original Thinkers, Dr Mark Batey, a world-leading psychology of creativity researcher, outlines the four dimensions he believes make up an original thinker and that organisations can look out for to identify original thinking in their current or potential employees:

Ideas generation

Original thinkers are highly fluent, which means they produce lots of ideas. Even though sometimes their ideas might not be practical, and it might be hard for other people to see how these solutions might be used, the key is the volume of ideas they are able to produce.

As well as the number of ideas they produce, original thinkers tend to produce different or unusual ideas.

In their approach to thinking, original thinkers often like to incubate, or let their thoughts percolate for while. This period will often be followed by a “eureka” experience, what Dr. Batey calls “Illuminative Moments”.

Personality traits

Original thinkers are inclined to be very curious. They ask lots of questions, and want to know how things work the way they do, and why.

The other personality trait that stands out in original thinkers is that they are comfortable with a high level of ambiguity and uncertainty. Original thinkers tend not to see things in black and white, and are quite happy with contradiction, competing evidence and shades of grey.

Motivation

Original thinkers tend to be motivated intrinsically. This means that they have a strong drive that comes from within them. They will be very self-motivated.

In addition, Dr. Batey believes these people are quite competitive, and they will quite likely want to “beat” other people with their ideas.  Although they may work well in a collaborative team environment and be willing to share their ideas with colleagues, they will want the team to do better than it’s competitors.

Confidence

Original thinkers tend to be very confident about their ideas. This applies to having ideas, believing in the quality of their ideas, sharing them, and being able to confidently implement them.

 

In September 2009, Olivier Serrat wrote in a paper for the Asian Development Bank, “Creativity plays a critical role in the innovation process, and innovation that markets value is a creator and sustainer of change. In organisations, stimulants and obstacles to creativity drive or impede enterprise.”

The ability to identify original thinkers would clearly provide huge advantages to organisations faced with the fast changing pace of a developing national and world economy.

As Mark Batey says, “It’s not just being an original thinker, it’s being an original applier as well”.

Watch Video: Original Thinkers: Dr. Mark Batey

Lynette Jensen

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of Genesys Australia and is committed to helping people achieve work-life balance through good job fit. In addition to contributing to this blog, she also writes regularly for HR Daily Community and Dynamic Business Magazine. Her articles have been re-published in India & the United Kingdom.

Please click on heading to leave a comment. More posts below.

Related Posts:

The Creativity Imperative

King of the Manning River: Creativity & Problem Solving in the Workplace

NB: We are an independent workplace psychology practice. All views expressed here are our own and are the opinions of Stephen Kohl & his associates, which do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and developer of GeneSys assessments, Psytech International.