urbanus vulgaris

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Category: behavioural insights

Today is a great day to publish an insight on creativity.

by jiookrednav

150104_John Cleese on creativity

Well I started to get interested in creativity about thirty years ago, because I went to a conference at Cambridge and I started reading the research and I started comparing it with my own experience and I got very, very interested in it and I also got interested in the fact, that basically once you’ve established one or two principles, that’s all you can say about it, because to sum up something I sometimes take three hours to say:

All creativity comes from the unconscious. If creativity came from logic and intelligence, then all the logical and intelligent people could do it. But they can’t. It all boils down to getting to a playful and relaxed frame of mind. Most of it has to do with relaxation, because unless you’re relaxed you can’t hear the promptings from the unconscious.

Nobody ever had a bright idea when they were attacking a machine-gun-nest. You see what I mean? If you’re occupied with activity -and that is one of the reasons why there’s so little creativity at the moment, because nobody gets any peace any more, because these damn things are ringing all the time, and beep there and you know. You sit down, another e-mail comes in. It’s absolutely poison, because interruptions and anxiety will kill any kind of creativity.

You have to get in an atmosphere where you’re a little bit in a cocoon of you’re own, you close the door or you go sit in the park and you just stay quiet and for 20 minutes nothing happens, because you can only think of the things you ought to be doing: You know, people you forgot to telephone…, so you have to have a little notebook and you write those down and after 20 minutes, the mind starts to calm down, just as it does in meditation, it’s almost an identical process. And then if you start thinking about the subject, not too hard, you don’t want to get tense, play with the thought, and you get little ideas start popping up, but if you’re mind is full of, zoom, zoom beep, beep, you’ll never hear those little ideas, it’ll be drowned out you see what I mean?

This remarkable insight was explained by John Cleese in this interview, starting at about 52 minutes: http://www.npo.nl/college-tour-special-john-cleese/25-12-2014/VPWON_1234760

And here’s some more from Cleese on this blog:

As well as identifying that ideas and breakthroughs percolate in the deep recesses of our brain, Cleese talked about some of the key, practical traits of truly creative people. In doing so he told a story of Brian Bates, a psychology professor at Sussex University. Intrigued by how the creative mind works, Bates chose to study the work practices of architects, because the profession required the combination of two brains in the creation of beautifully groundbreaking yet structurally sound buildings.

“He did a very simple test. He asked various architects to name who, in their opinion, were the most creative architects in the field. He then asked those creative architects to tell him what they do from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. He then went to the uncreative architects—without perhaps explaining that’s why he was talking to them—and asked them the same thing. Then he compared the two. He discovered two differences, and neither was to do with intelligence.”

“The first thing he discovered is that the creative architects knew how to play. They could get immersed in a problem. It was almost childlike, like when a child gets utterly absorbed in a problem. The second thing was that they deferred making decisions as long as they could. This is surprising.”

“If you have a decision to make, what is the single most important question to ask yourself? I believe it’s ‘when does this decision have to be made’? When most of us have a problem that’s a little bit unresolved, we’re a little bit uncomfortable. We want to resolve it. The creative architects had this tolerance for this discomfort we all feel when we leave things unresolved.”

“Why would those two things be importance? The playfulness is because in that moment of childlike play, you’re much more in touch with your unconscious. The second is that when you defer decisions as long as possible, it’s giving your unconscious the maximum amount of time to come up with something.”

Summing it up, he narrows it down to 5 Lessons in this lecture (transcript here). “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating”:

150104_John Cleese on creativity 02

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

 

Flashback: Some 25 years ago some people had their first banana.

by jiookrednav

titanic-banane

Meet “Zonen-Gaby”  from the Germany Democratic Republic. This year the “Mauerfall” is 25 years ago and I saw this legendary magazine-cover from 1989 in today’s newspaper. ;)

The cover takes a pun at traditional media of the time, that portrayed the new Germans with western consumer goods and western products reducing new found freedom to, well, consumption.

Compare an ideal of the sixties to an ideal of today….. I recommend the tiny house at 27:30 in Manhattan.

by jiookrednav

 

Die Zeit: New life on the Stalin Allee in Berlin

by jiookrednav

henselmann

“Berlin, this post-war rubble. Today it is mangy and sexy, cheap and showy, brash and noble. A city of contrasts, which is converting towards the most exciting city in Europe. The signs are everywhere. And especially in one particular street. A street whose history reflects the post-war history of Berlin.

The Karl -Marx -Allee begins near the TV tower at Alexanderplatz, extends nearly three kilometres to Friedrichshain and is wider than the Champs- Élysées with 90 meters. “The last great European boulevard built”, said the Italian architect Aldo Rossi about it.

Built as the Stalin Avenue in the early fifties in “Soviet-pastry-house style”, Germany’s first socialist main road should impress the rest of the world. The workers of the GDR should be awed and delighted. A few months later these workers lit the popular uprising of the 17th June 1953 on the Parkway . The Red Army had to help quell the launching revolution.

More than two decades after the street was renamed Karl -Marx -Allee, East Berliners again demonstrated on their boulevard, now for the fall of the wall. Then: the German unification, euphoria, disappointment, unemployment, the rediscovery and Gentrification of the avenue.

There are still people living here, who have experienced it all. And many newcomers. We have visited them. For the portrait of a road.”

Beautiful website by the influential German newspaper “Die Zeit” presenting the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin:

http://www.zeit.de/kultur/karl-marx-allee/index.html#prolog

Tip: Google Chrome offers automatic translation!

Why you will fail to have a great career

by gailiute

Well this is definitely one of the funniest and the most inspiring talks i heard recently!

Christy Wampole – How to Live Without Irony

by fangruben

“He [the hipster] is an easy target for mockery. However, scoffing at the hipster is only a diluted form of his own affliction. He is merely a symptom and the most extreme manifestation of ironic living. For many Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s — members of Generation Y, or Millennials — particularly middle-class Caucasians, irony is the primary mode with which daily life is dealt. One need only dwell in public space, virtual or concrete, to see how pervasive this phenomenon has become. Advertising, politics, fashion, television: almost every category of contemporary reality exhibits this will to irony.”

Becoming local

by gailiute

Rasa Anaityte shared a nice reminder-documentary film about how our societal habits became so mass production/ artificial and unhealthy, that buying and eating local food is such fascinating thing to do, instead of being obvious (thank God we still have grandmas and grandpas in the villages and  cherry and apple trees in summer gardens in Lithuania :P :)

Description:

Do you know where your food comes from?

In the past ten years, the organic food industry has become big business and consumers have been left wondering exactly what the word “Organic” means and how they can really know what they’re eating.

With the rise of farmer’s markets and more and more chefs sourcing their ingredients from local farms, consumers are now able to meet and talk to the people who are growing their food.

LOCAL discusses the rise of the local food movement, the challenges of sourcing locally and how it’s become a growing part of the Austin, Texas food scene.

This documentary is the November film in my 12 Films Project, where I make one short film every month in 2011. To see the other films or to learn more about the project, visit the website at:

12filmsproject.com

Welcome to Lagos

by gailiute

I want to share with you great documentary series from BBC  that explore some of the most extreme urban environments in the world. The first one is about the dump in Lagos, city that hosts ~16 million people.

As the editors of the programme says:

“The dump became   symbolic of everything we were trying to achieve in the films. It looks at   first sight like a rough, lawless, dangerous place, and most people in this   country will be horrified to see people working there. But in actual fact,   through the eyes of the people who actually DO work there, it’s a   well-organised place where there’s good money to be earned. Decent, honest   people choose to work there, preferring a life of grime to a life of crime.   Some of them are university graduates. They are proud of   the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for   themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work.”

The second documentary is about Makoko – the huge floating slum, a home to 100 000   people living on houses built on stilts. This video is the start of the second documentary set. Since I did not find the full one, the rest you can follow on youtube. Makoko is quite famous as I understood, it has a website, www.makoko.org,  where projects dealing with this environment, are presented. I did not know, thats new for me.

The last part is about the sandy beach in the city of Lagos. Sunny and nice, it is an attractive place – and actually ~1 000 people reside there. Well squat the area to be more precise. And not because of the attractiveness or suitability of the area, but because they have nowhere else to live. The video is also the first set of part 3.

In the end after watching all of this, I got confused. Not that I felt urgent need to change my life, or to be a good will ambassador, or to help the poor – I just got confused because it seems that we exaggerate all problems. We have none :)

Good watching!

 

Your mentality – social class

by gailiute

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 1.13.19 PM

Knowing your social class does not change your behaviour or mentality, but sometimes it is interesting just to do these tests to check how average are you :) or how extraordinary. It depends.

There are a few ways to find it out.

1. BBC has created a social class calculator to show your position in a society according to income, interests and social interaction. I did it and actually it did not say my anything interesting. Here it is if you would like to try it yourself.

2. Motivaction has created a test to find out your mentality by analysing your values and lifestyle. This test intends to be used by businesses, designers, organisations, advertising or any other groups that do people related work and need to target them as precise as possible. In deed, this test is quite detailed and precise if done honestly. You can find it here in case you would like to try it.

Of course there are more tests that have similar intentions,  but it is not my intention to bring them all here :)

If you have any one good in particular, please share!

Designing the speed, not limiting it

by gailiute

This is a great example how traffic can become less of a problem in a living environment. In this case this is a story about a village of Poynton that used to be on the crossing of two extremelly busy roads. Well, it did not vanished anywhere, it is still in the same place, however the new approach to the crossing seemed to be such a good investment, that it started pay off right from the very first days, both by reducing risks of crossing the roads and by improving liveability of the village public space.

The idea is quite simple, yet genuine and brave – to get rid of the traffic lights  by designing the speed instead of limiting it. The concept of shared space is already in some countries, like the Netherlands, but for the village of Poynton it was quite challenging experience.

Looks that it works just great!

I found the video here.

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