The Comfort Zone of Conformity

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The words “conform” and “comfort” are disturbingly similar. You can’t even tell them apart at a quick glance. Psychologically, “conformity” has a strong link to “comfort zone” as well. Neither word goes well with “creativity”.

The Asch experiment, one of the most famous and popular in psychology, is a big eye opener. It simply exposes our group-confirming nature in an undeniable way. Humans are very prone to agreeing with what everybody else thinks, to go with the flow, to drop their own opinion in favor of the others’, to conform. That’s known as the “Asch Paradigm“.

It’s worth having a look at the video below – and think that you’re not any different from the people being tested. By the looks of the video, you can tell this knowledge has been around for a while, but still to this date too many people change their opinions for the wrong reasons.

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Introducing: Grown-up Letters to Santa

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Hello everyone! I’ve been working a lot on a project that is all about creativity: Grown-up Letters to Santa is a website that will try to bring Santa Claus back for grown-ups.
Yes, you read it right.
I’m planning to do this by helping people get back the creativity we left behind in our childhood. Have a look at the video, and check out the website:

3 Maxims of Creativity

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Here’s a thing or two creatives in advertising have to teach about creativity and idea-making. Created and written by Andy Fackrell, Regional Creative Director, DDB Group Asia Pacific, “The Idea Catchers” reminds people in our industry how valuable ideas are. As we see snippets of some of the most famous, most creative ideas of the last 30 years or so, the voice-over tells us those ideas are not great by accident.

The video is very advertising centric, and people in the ad industry will probably be touched. It is so specially for creatives – I count myself among them – who have seen their craft commoditized in more recent years. Within it, though, there are maxims of creativity the ad industry has proven true in its short history.

Here are 3 quotes from the video that are lessons on their own: Continue reading

Dishonesty: tap into your dark side to be more creative

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“With great power comes great responsibility”

Voltaire or Uncle Ben (Spider-Man’s uncle) – depending on your mood.

Dishonest people are very creative. Everyone can agree with that. We all know the examples: the con man coming up with lies to get money out of you, the crooked car salesman and his stories to get you to buy a lemon, fake letters from Nigeria and the sweet talk of the famed Brazilian “malandro” hiding his bad intentions.

Big examples in pop culture, like Kevin Spacey’s character Keyser Söze in “The Usual Suspects” (1994) and Christian Bale’s Irving in “American Hustle” (2014) drive home the same point – evil geniuses are very creative!

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Kevin Spacey as an evil genius in the 1994 movie “The Usual Suspects”

But what if I flipped the order around and told you this:

Being dishonest can actually make you more creative.

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Explore the obscure birthplace of originality

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originality vs obscurity

Once, when I was a young creative trying to make my way up in the ad world, a good friend of mine – also a creative – told me “the originality of your ideas depend on the obscurity of your sources”. It sounded a bit douchy to me back then. It felt a bit like we should be stealing ideas left and right. As I matured as a creative, I realized more and more how much truth there was to that quote. It probably stemmed from one of Albert Einstein’s most famous quotes (at least among creative circles):

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The formula for creativity involves the element of surprise

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Creativity and surprise are closely related. Surprise comes from seeing something unexpected or experiencing something you’ve never come across before. Here’s the surprise: we can say the same things about creativity – anything truly creative will surprise you.

Creativity will always have an element of surprise.

Comedians can really attest to it. I rank stand-up comedians really high on the creativity scale – they know how to take seemingly mundane situations and offer an unexpected point of view that surprises us. That’s the punchline. But comedy is only one of the many facets of surprise.

The element of surprise helping comic creativity

The element of surprise helping comic creativity in a cartoon by Vic Lee

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How the new Apple headquarters will boost creativity

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Apple, considered by many the most innovative company in the world, takes ideas seriously. More seriously than anyone else, probably. Apple’s future headquarters is proof of that: it has been designed with creativity in mind.

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The building, described by Steve Jobs as “a shot at being the best office building in the world”, has been conceived in such a way to incentivize the exchange of ideas among employees of different departments and divisions. Continue reading