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The Generative Blog

The easiest immediately effective creative hack, supported by research

I've shared this research with you time and again, but it's too important to let you forget. Researchers at the University of Munich found that staring at the color Green for 30 seconds dramatically improves subsequent creative performance.You'll find more information about the research on my site; there is a PDF of a creative green card for you to print out and keep close at hand--you'll find it by simply scrolling down on the home page at www.creativegenius.carlnordgren.com I stare at mine throughout the day. I also painted my office walls green.  ...

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Remember your natural born Creative Genius, part 1

And please remember this always: When we were four 98% of us scored as creative genius on an assessment NASA had developed to identify the most innovative scientists and engineers.  http://creativegenius.carlnordgren.com/research/ Once upon a time, when we were four, we had a bias for action. Our bias for action was so powerful teachers and parents would often tell us to stop, to please stop, and sit still or come to the table or go to bed. Our bias for action was informed by our knowing—without knowing we knew?—that it was through our bias for action that we learned the most important stuff we had to learn. When we faced a new challenge or opportunity we didn’t stand there and figure out the best...

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Political entrepreneurship? The next chapter in our story of greatness?

We live in extraordinary times. -We have the knowledge and the technology and resources to become the first nation that achieves a sustainable abundance for all our citizens even as we are buffeted by waves of crisis-like challenges. -But what makes these times even more remarkable is that the large majority of the American public is eager for radical change as evidenced by the number of passionate supporters of President Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders. -What these two men have in common is important: They are seen by their supporters as truth tellers who don’t rely on conventional political language or behavior. It is extremely rare for such a large majority of folks to be eager for new approaches to systemic problems. To...

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Does common wealth generate our nation’s health?

Sorry for the cheap rhyme, my poet daughter just flinched…but it’s too true so I had to use it and it does what a good title can by helping orient you to what I am up to. I don’t mean commonwealth, a label used historically to designate a specific political entity and its assets. At our independence most of the founding 13 colonies chose to call themselves states. Three declared they were commonwealths—Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts; later when Kentucky split off from Virginia it retained its sense of self as a commonwealth—but historians and political scientists will tell you that today in the US there isn’t any difference of note between a state and a commonwealth. And once upon a time there...

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Creative value found in Humility

Relying on 30+ years of experiences as an entrepreneur followed by 14 years designing courses in creativity and entrepreneurship for Duke Students, I’ve identified 4 Generative Behaviors that serve our creative and entrepreneurial growth and performance most effectively. When you practice these four behaviors intentionally as you navigate your daily life they will help you steadily grow your creative capacity and develop your entrepreneurial instincts. And when you are focused on a creative or entrepreneurial project, applying these behaviors will improve your outcomes. Folks easily embrace Being Generous as Being Generative as one of the behaviors even before they learn that generous and generative come from the same Latin word generos, to produce. They have fun with Being Playful—it makes intuitive...

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Thinking is better than Knowing…

For years those words from Goethe guided my teaching and challenged my students. As a teaching guide it disciplined me to avoid defining the creative concepts I introduced to students. Instead I tried to surround these new ideas, providing multiple perspectives, and urged students to think about these concepts for themselves, to shape their own understanding of these creative ideas and entrepreneurial strategies, an understanding that was most useful to their purposes. It worked well for them. And as a challenge for my students? Well, these were highly successful young men and women at a world class university who had worked their butts off for pretty much their entire lives in order to know so they could pass the next test, then...

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Discovering > Predicting

Many of us are convinced that the crucial early accomplishment in the creatively entrepreneurial process of building something new is producing the Plan. That is the first step in corporations and has been their model for a long time. Rushing to complete the Plan is a practice most other institutions—schools, non-profits, governments—and many individuals have taken up. It seems a necessary practice in corporations, this immediate production of the Plan.  Because they have many creative initiatives and projects underway, of course each needs a Budget; fiscal responsibility demands it.  And to establish a Budget, each project needs a Plan of what is to be built and the resources needed to build it. That means that when the team is most ignorant about what...

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Why I didn’t allow ‘out of the box thinking’ in my creativity classes

It’s simple. What the heck does "out of the box thinking" mean? Does it mean the same thing to you each time you say it? Are you certain it means the same thing to you as it does to him or to her? If instead you have to find the words that capture the creative dynamic you are considering when you say "out of the box thinking" doesn’t it serve you to do so, and then to say it out loud? Isn’t it a bit of a creative workout to challenge yourself to find a new way to express what you mean? Might that lead to new understanding on your part? If creative and entrepreneurial thinking and behavior busts the status quo, why be restricted by status...

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