Creativity Miscellany

The mind of an architect

In the early 1950s, the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR) at the University of California, Berkeley began developing new and different ways to analyze personalities. The scientists at IPAR attempted what many thought was impossible: to study creativity in a methodical and scientific way, working to determine what specific personality traits make certain people creative.

IPAR found that creative people tend to be nonconforming, interesting, interested, independent, courageous and self-centered, at least in general. Creatives could make unexpected connections and see patterns in daily life, even those lacking high intelligence or good grades.



Time capsule

In 2012, Russian workers repairing a statue of Lenin unearthed a time capsule with a letter from a Soviet youth group from 1979. It reads, in part: ‘‘Let your character be courageous. Let your songs be happier. Let your love be hotter. We do not feel sorry for ourselves, because we are certain you will be better than us.’’

— Source: NYTimes

Career Planning Miscellany

Anthony Bourdain on success

I’m not looking to rule the world, I’m not looking to create a permanent brand. It’s a quality-of-life issue with me.

Am I having fun? Am I surrounded by people I like? Are we proud of what we’re doing? Do we have anything to regret when we look in the mirror tomorrow? Those things are huge to me.

Source: Fast Company


On specialization

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, coöperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert Heinlein


Focus on what matters

Came across this quote today, likely others have seen it before, but it captures some great thinking:

Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t turn out – take another shot.


What every Apple store employee knows

APPLE is an acronym ingrained into every Apple store employee before they ever even step on the retail floor. APPLE:

  • Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome
  • Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
  • Present a solution for the customer to take home today
  • Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return

Source: Apple: My Key to Success


Before you die, make some changes

What do people regret the most before they die? Bonnie Ware worked in palliative care for many years, tending to people during the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. A handful of themes cropped up in the things they regretted during their final days:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

“I wish I didn’t work so hard.”

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

I feel good that I’m avoiding these and that my life is great and full of purpose.


This week’s remainders

One day I’ll get back to blogging regularly, for now some misc. finds: – has posted their list of the most expensive book sales for 2008.

Predictive Analytics World runs February 18-19 in San Francisco. Eric Segal, the conference chair, has put together a great event for predictive analytics professionals, managers and commercial practitioners.

Flashbulb Interaction (based in Seattle) has released their online book entitled Working through Screens: 100 Ideas for Envisioning Powerful, Engaging, and Productive User Experiences in Knowledge Work. The book “is a reference for product teams creating new or iteratively improved applications for thinking work. Written for use during early, formative conversations, it provides teams with a broad range of considerations for setting the overall direction and priorities for their onscreen tools. With hundreds of envisioning questions and fictional examples from clinical research, financial trading, and architecture, this volume can help definers and designers to explore innovative new directions for their products”. You can view the book online or download a PDF of the book for printing along with the accompanying idea cards.

Jakub Linowski has launched a little project called Wireframes where you can view new samples of design documentation coming from IA’s, interaction designers, and UX practitioners. Contribute or follow on Twitter.

One of my colleagues passed along this post about possibly using Surface for card sorting. Interesting idea.

You have to love this web stencil kit from Design Commission


Environmental impacts of sales and marketing

Two interesting pieces I came across this week that speak to the environmental impacts of everyday marketing and sales activities:

Drink Outside the Box

A standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters of wine and generates about 5.2 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions when it travels from a vineyard in California to a store in New York. A 3-liter box generates about half the emissions per 750 milliliters. Switching to wine in a box for the 97 percent of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars.

Source: The New York Times

Junk Mail’s Impact on Global Warming

…the logging, production, printing, inking, distribution, and landfill emissions of direct mail produce fossil fuel emissions surpassing the total emissions of more than 9 million cars, or put another way, the combined emissions of 7 US states.

Source: Report: Junk Mail’s Impact on Global Warming (there’s also a great interview with the author on Kevin Hillstrom’s blog

Clearly we all have a part to play in reducing our environmental footprint. What’s your company doing?


Bert and Ernie Mashup

Gotta love stuff like this. Brilliant!