Category Archives: Creativity

Top tips to kill creativity and new ideas

As humans we have this wonderful ability to use our mind, imagine a better future and make connections How to kill creativitybetween different events and solutions.

But, still I hear over and over again that people in different organisations are using a language and behaviour that kill creativity in seconds.

Here are some perfect tips how to kill ideas and suppress any form of creativity.

  1. Make this your first mantra ‘It’s been tested before, and it didn’t work then.’
  2. Your second mantra should be ‘This is the way it’s always been done’. Make your experience your weapon to avoid new ideas.
  3. Never imagine a better future for yourself or anyone else.
  4. Let your inner critic lead you and hold you back. And then brand yourself as average with no special talents.
  5. Make people who suggest new ideas feel nervous. Hey, it’s all about showing that you have the power. Practice a skeptic and cynical face in the mirror every morning.
  6. Be greedy. Steal others ideas and never give credit to anyone else, only push your agenda.
  7. Discriminate people because of their age. Say things like ‘You are too young to understand this’ or ‘You are too old to see how youngsters do things today’.
  8. Be suspicious of people who come from other backgrounds than you. Tell them in a passive-aggressive way so it makes them feel awkward and insecure.
  9. Never learn anything new and aim to be a total technophobe. New technology is not for you, and you have nothing to gain from learning more about it.
  10. Bully the people you work with, and never invite anyone with more talent than you into your group.
  11. Always say that there is no budget to try out something new, and if you can’s see an immediate return on investment there is no need testing it out.
  12. Never listen to anyone else. Change subject as soon as it sounds as is someone has something interesting to say. Interrupt and get overly excited about your own thought!
  13. It’s especially important never to listen to your customers. They don’t know much anyway!
  14. Aim to be a dishonest person with an agenda never to be trusted. If anyone trusts you with a secret, share it with others immediately.
  15. You don’t need to do anything today, wait until tomorrow or next week… You are NOT here on this Earth to express yourself creatively. Be average. Be a nobody. Especially have no integrity.
  16. If anyone you know is an artist, songwriter, poet or photographer, or something that involves their personal creativity, never work with them. They are obviously a threat.


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My search for what creativity is and what it means to me

Five years ago I started to research what creativity means to me. Creativity is one of those words that is used all the time but can mean many different things. I decided that I had to try out creativity in various practical ways to learn what it meant to me.

I didn’t have a detailed plan for how to go about my creativity project, but when you have both your eyes and ears open opportunities seem to come along more often.

Here are some of the events that I stumbled upon:

Creativity from a Buddhist perspective

One of the first things I did was to attend a course in what creativity means from a Buddhist perspective. I had no idea what to expect and I was curious about what it would be like.

The teacher used beautiful metaphors when describing our mind, brain and creative process. We meditated, something that I’m not very good at doing by myself but in a group works okay. The big question was: ‘What can you do to be more present, kind and loving in your life towards yourself and others?’ One beautiful exercise we did was to describe water in many ways, and how we see the earth. In the end we painted what we had learned during the evening.

The idea of painting your take-away is something I do when I run workshops. Ideas stay with you longer when you paint them instead of writing them down.

Creativity in business

The next thing I did to explore the magic of creativity was to go to a workshop about creativity in business. At the time I had a job that demanded that I was courageous and creative and I was like a sponge when it came to creative wisdom. In the workshop we explored how you create new ideas as a team and how to build up ideas instead of killing them.

Too many times I’ve seen organisations give credit to people who can be negative towards new ideas. If you are continually destroying ideas before you evaluate them, lots of ideas will never have the chance to start growing into something bigger. Being negative is easy; giving constructive feedback is a bit more complicated and requires more brain power.

Some teams get this automatically and let ideas stay alive for longer before scrutinizing them, but many aren’t even aware of how they are behaving, and that their negativity is actually stopping people from sharing ideas. I’m sure you recognize this.

Managing creativity in business is about awareness, behaviour and language. What kinds of words are you using and how do people react when you use them? This is a good question to ask yourself. What does the culture look like?

Being successful at driving change and innovation in business takes a big dose of courage, and not everyone has the stamina to do it. You will have periods where you have more or less energy. Be aware of this and then you can push for your ideas when the energy is there.

Improvisation theatre

My interest in creativity in business led me to explore the world of improvisation theatre or improv. I went along to some weekend courses with Sprout Ideas in London. I don’t think I’d laughed that much for a long time, we had lots of fun.
The basic rule of improv is that nothing is wrong: whatever you do is right. This rule is such a relief and helps you to see that you have the best solution inside you and your team.

I highly recommend going along to an improv workshop or seeing an improv show. There is a lot to learn from the flow of improv and saying yes to new ideas.

Creative painting

I randomly found a course about art and creativity with Paint Jam in London. I went along and it was hosted by an artist and an art therapist. We networked, listened to beautiful music, created crazy art, had coffee breaks and by the end I had painted four pretty cool paintings. There weren’t many rules, the flow mattered and the main choice you faced was what colours to use.

This led me to explore my artistic side more deeply, and a few years later I exhibited my abstract art in London. Interesting what an afternoon course can give you.

This course reinforced the idea that whatever you create is right and gave me more confidence in being creative with what I have.

Reiki healing

I’ve always been interested in what creates energy and what takes energy away. Have you noticed that some activities give you energy and some steal it? When we are being creative we are using our energy in a way that feels good.

When I was a student in Lund, Sweden, I had a massage and the massage therapist asked me if I would like 30 minutes of Reiki healing. I said ‘Yes, sure’. I had no idea what it was, but the following month I felt amazing and didn’t feel much resistance to doing the washing up, cleaning or concentrating on my studying – things that I’d found hard at the time.

A few years later I was sailing with some friends and a new person was on board. She was a leadership speaker and told me that she always healed the room before she spoke. She explained that it made the people who entered the room calmer and more open to new ideas. I was fascinated by her wisdom, and in 2010 I signed up for a Reiki course in London. It was fun and some of the techniques about how to manage energy are intriguing.

Creative writing

In 2014 I went on a creative writing course on Skyros in Greece. It was wonderful and we spent ten days writing together. We had a great teacher, Crysse Morrison, who gave us fun and inspiring writing tasks.

Some people in the group had a very loud inner critic and we spent time talking about how to get over that critical voice. If your inner critic is too loud you might never do anything differently and may just continue to do what you have done a million times before. For me the course was fun and inspiring and I trust my writing voice much more now.

More creative painting

When I spoke at the Richmond Events Digital Marketing Forum I seized the opportunity to go to Sven Spiegelberg’s workshop about art, psychology and creativity: ‘What can managers learn from Mozart and Picasso? Stress fields of creativity’.

He presented some ideas and theories about what stops us from pursuing our ideas and vision, and illustrated the circle of continual improvement. The steps are:

1.         Incubation
2.         Idea and vision
3.         GO!
4.         Crisis
5.         Result
6.         Go back to the start again.

Many people never even start step three while others never analyse results and that means that they are not developing their skills. If you are an ideas hunter who never dares to plan and press ‘go’ your mind will in fact be blocked off to new concepts.

So what is creativity?

What I have described here is just part of my journey exploring what creativity means to me. It’s hard to define creativity exactly, but when I talk about creativity it’s about trying out new combinations and respecting the idea development process.

When we explore the future and what new digital inventions mean to us it’s important to have an open mind that’s not blocking new ideas.

New technology brings new questions that will in turn bring new ideas. How well we treat these new ideas will define our future outcomes.

Tolerance and judgement are both part of the creative process. When we dare to express ourselves we are more likely to make a contribution with our ideas. Deciding whose judgment and feedback you should listen to is also part of the creative process.

The more tolerance for failure there is in organisational culture the more people will stretch their abilities.

Innovation and creativity are interesting subjects and I’m sure I have more to learn. We are not born with these kinds of skills, they must be learned.

What have you done to explore creativity? Please share your thoughts.

Thank you for reading as well, Sofie


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And check out my book ‘Digital Leadership: How Creativity in Business Can Propel
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Derya Canan Güzel: It’s the little things that makes me stay creative

This is the fifth interview about staying creative and inspired in a busy world. I believe that you have to know about your own creativity to stay healthy and sane. Derya Canan Güzel portrait

Derya Canan Güzel works as a marketing manager at the newspaper Akşam andAlem Radio in Turkey. Let’s see what she has to share. 

What are some of the secrets about your creativity and what inspires you right now?

Creative moments
Inspiration works in many different ways. For me it’s something that generally pops up when I’m working on the things I love and enjoy. Those are the times I feel alive – when you do what makes you feel good you also get other side benefits such as connecting the dots with another project and you may create new ideas and areas to develop.

Keeping my eyes open for trends
When I see various things in different fields, for example when I’m browsing design magazines, following TV series, exploring new places, new music and any kind of artwork or reading up on the latest tech innovations/communication tools, I can connect them with my work and it definitely helps to expand my outlook. So engage with lots of different stuff if you want to stay creative!

What helps you to stay brave?

The little things
What keeps me brave is the belief that whatever I do it will nourish me in the end. I call this “the importance of little things”. I think those “little things” make a huge difference in our lives.

Sometimes you can’t foresee the outcome or benefit of what you’re doing. I think that despite how unrelated or different from your core business an activity may be, keep doing it. This is how I started writing film critiques in a national newspaper (Akşam in Turkey same group as where I work with marketing which is very different).

I’ve been a film buff from a very early age, so I feel that I need to write in order to live my passion fully. I first started with a blog, then worked on marketing for low-budget films/TV series and later did some voluntarily work on a social cinema platform. This paved the way for my next steps.

All in all, little things can take you one step further and trigger your creative inspiration.

What scares the h*ll out of you?

There isn’t much but I suppose I fear not achieving my dreams and realising my potential.

I believe we’re capable of doing extraordinary things in life. We shouldn’t fear trying new things, I always love what Steve Jobs said about that: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

You work with big brands in communication and it’s a busy role. What do you do to calm your mind down?

For me, it’s a fantastic way to find peace in all the busyness. Watching a film or TV series, let’s say a creative production, makes me feel good. Especially if it’s a very well-written and produced one with glorious performances.. Also, with the sublime beauty of cinema, you see (and somehow learn) ) about the creative process.

It’s the best thing to get you away from all the stress and confusion of daily life. My motto is just “read!” It doesn’t matter if it’s a biopic, a novel or an article about politics. Reading definitely enables you to have special “me time” for yourself. Another aspect of reading is that you can improve yourself while relaxing.

With physical exercise I reboot my mind and go back to work with a nice and easy feeling.

Thank you for sharing Derya.


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Nils Elmark: ‘My “new” Remington typewriter keeps me creative’

This is the fourth interview about staying creative and inspired in a busy world. Nils Elmark portrait

Nils Elmark is a futurist helping businesses to make better and braver plans for the future. He lives in Denmark, works in London every month and also has an office in Sweden.

What are some of the secrets of your creativity and what inspires you right now?

Past, present, future
I let go of the past. I remember the past, of course, but I forget my interpretations of it. I live my life looking forwards; it’s a wonderful gift I have. My past is as open as my future.

The world is always new and ready for creation.

Bargain antique
I’m constantly inspired. The other day, I saw an old Remington typewriter in a shop window on Portobello Road. I went in and bought it and a whole new world opened up in front of me! Imagine all the stories that are hidden in my new piece of machinery. I am now writing ‘street poetry’ in English – my second language.

Staying curious about the future
I’m a consulting futurist and it is part of the job to be curious about the future. We are always moving into it.

I create adventures and go on expeditions into the unknown, and it’s not that difficult. Even a simple tube ride can be a micro-adventure. You can meet new people (give it a try and talk to people on the tube!), see new posters on the wall, pick up the Standardand read the news and when you get off the train you will have enough material and inspiration to start anything from a new business to a crime series.

Your mind is your capital, what do you fuel it with?
Jazz musician Charles Mingus said, ‘you can improvise on anything but you can’t improvise on nothing’, which is why you have to be interested.

Being interested doesn’t just happen. It’s a personal decision. You decide to be interested. That’s all it takes. And if you just stay interested things start to get mysterious. The more you learn about a subject and get involved the more you realise is hidden beneath the surface. You’ll never know everything about a subject and a whole new universe can reveal itself.

I get inspiration from everything but magazines are great sources of inspiration: I readWIRED magazine (UK edition), Vanity Fair (US edition) and Business Punk (German edition) to mention just a few. These magazines offer three different universes to explore.

The black box
You can’t pursue every exciting idea you run into so I save them on my phone, jot them down in my black notebook or put them in my black box. I have a big black box and whenever I see something that excites me I put it in my filing box: articles I tear out of newspapers, brochures and other artefacts I come across.

Until ten years ago I avoided public speaking; big audiences scared the living daylights out of me. But I’m over that and now I enjoy giving speeches and presentations – which is also a part of the job description of consulting futurist.

I have discovered that only a few things are as dangerous as you think they are – and even if you should fail in your attempt you always get another go at it. Again, it’s about moving out of your comfort zone. Start with a small step in the right direction; do something you haven’t done before and at some point you will be comfortable doing things that others haven’t done before.

Having radical ideas can be scary because if you are too creative people will tell you that your ideas are unrealistic and they’ll try to talk you out of them.

It is a socially isolating process to have ideas others don’t understand. Being creative takes courage, but I accept that now.

You travel a lot in your work, what do you do to relax your mind, soul and body?
I commute between three countries, or rather cities – London, Copenhagen and Helsingborg in Sweden – and one way of relaxing is through writing. I have a blog‘Writers on Wheels’ and when I am full of different impressions I write, which clears my mind completely. The blog is in Danish at the moment so English speakers will have to make do with a Google translation.

I don’t play sports any longer, but I walk an hour or two each day and ride my bike when I can (I’m from Copenhagen, everyone cycles there). Also, I carry my bags rather than roll them and I always take the left lane on the tube escalator so I guess you can say that I travel rather physically. And it keeps me fit enough.

Creativity works in the same way as this joke:
Question: What do you call a murderer with moral fibre?
Answer: A cereal killer!

The moment you hear the answer to the joke you realise that your entire train of thought was totally wrong and in a split second you re-interpret all the information to get to a new result. You create a new meaning for the past.

Check out Nils Elmark’s website here.


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Shaun Cooper ‘Appreciating people & situations helps me stay creative’

To know more about your creativity and how it works is one of the best ways to stay healthy and sane. Here’s the thirds interview in the series about staying creativeShaun Cooper portrait and inspired in a busy world.

Shaun Cooper was born in South Africa and now based in London. He’s been involved in entrepreneurial projects for along time, and now he’s focusing on mentorship and personal development programmes.

About inspiration
“For me inspiration is a big value of mine and I see it as a choice, a choice to constantly seek inspiration in everything as much as I can. There is meaning in everything if we seek it. It’s a proactive practice and a life long endeavour.”

“So what inspires me… I’m inspired most when I live my values and involved in things I’m passionate about. I’m inspired by my vision of building international businesses and helping people see their potential so clearly that they are inspired to realise their potential.’

I’m inspired by making a massive difference to young people and empowering them to achieve their dreams.

“I’m inspired by sport and this often brings the best out of me. I play rugby, football, golf, cricket and I would watch just about every sport there is.”

Learning From Legends
“At the moment I’m involved in a project called Learning From Legends, which is: learning valuable lessons from legends in in all areas of life and what is the key to their success. I’ve learnt just how normal these legends are but what differentiates them from the rest is inspiring. Learning about the adversity they’ve overcome and the choices they’ve made. It’s humbling and at the same time inspiring.”

About staying creative
“Being present, I believe, has to be the single most important element to our creativity and our ability to feel and breathe life into anything we do.

Curiosity is a great quality and often leads to being more creative.

“People – surround yourself with the right people. I cannot explain what a difference this makes in all areas. I’ve been actively building relationships and networks in line with my goals and aspirations and the creative impact others have on you is massive. I also find helping others do the same in fact helps me even more. As the adage goes, “we rise by lifting others.”

Appreciation and creativity
“Appreciating people, situations and things is instrumental to being more creative. Appreciation is a verb and practicing this brings a compounding effect to us and our work.”

What helps you to stay brave?
“Brave is a great word because we all have fears and face challenges all the time. One person I admire immensely is Nelson Mandela and he said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” How true.”

“What helps me be braver everyday is knowing that I have a choice and the ability to use all situations to help me become a better man. Especially fear. It’s there to help me become stronger. In saying that, I must be honest and say it’s not something I get right every time. Far from it. “

What scares the h*ll out of you?
“To be perfectly honest with you, not realising my potential scares me. Just thinking about it and writing this sends shivers down my spine. For me this feels like selling out for a life of mediocrity and having very little meaning and purpose in my life. I just can’t imagine selling out and not doing my absolute best to living my potential.”

What do you do to relax?
“Relaxing your mind is not just about the mind but it’s looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. To sharpen the saw everyday so to speak keeps you measured and grounded.”

“Being active, sound nutrition, hydration and breathing. You just can’t underestimate these four foundational elements to your energy. “

Mentally and emotionally
“Meditation is practice to focusing the mind. It’s a daily practice and something that has massive benefits in a number of areas.”

Passion and vision
“Finally, working towards something your passionate about is enlivening. I find developing a compelling vision that you feel inspired by is incredibly up-lifting. If you don’t have one, become passionate about developing one. It’s something that will change over time but it’s something that will help you lead yourself better, motivate you (especially during challenging times) and keep you focused and measured.”


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Staying brave & creative: Nadu Placca about entrepreneurial life

I love exploring the world of creativity and things that inspire us, here’s my second interview in the ‘creativity and what inspires you’ series. Nadu Placca portrait

Nadu Placca is an event manager based in London, UK, she organises all kind of events; awards, art exhibitions, tours and she also teach event management. Name an occasion and Nadu comes up with amazing ideas for your event. Here she shares her thoughts about creativity and what inspires her right now.

What inspires you right now? 

“Everything inspires my creativity! I love to travel, socialise, read and take short courses.”

Culture and travel
“My travelling enables me to look at the variety of detail in cultures and apply inspiration to my work. My friends are from a wealth of industries and understanding their perspectives always trigger new ideas.”

WhatsApp group
“I am also a member in a WhatsApp group titled “24/7 Entrepreneurs ONLY”. The title say’s it all! The discussions are often on topics I have never come across which forces me to research and gain additional industry knowledge.”

“Reading – well knowledge is power.“

Learning from other industries
“Studying short courses is a break away from the hustle and bustle of business. Being able to appreciate other industries and crafts and their processes makes the world less small. You’d be surprised at the processes of so many products and businesses.”

Staying brave

“Faith. It’s a weird answer as I’m not very religious, however I have great faith in the universe and it’s power.“

“I’ve never thought about my actions as being brave, I just take control!”

The Celestine Prophecy
“I read The Celestine Prophecy a few years ago and this has completely changed my outlook on life. I can’t explain this feeling if you haven’t read the book, and I strongly believe you can only receive the book when you are ready to, nothing before it’s time. But it has the power to change your life! A friend of mine said is was as if I gave her thousands of pounds instantly.”

Will Smith
“A line Will Smith said in ‘After Earth’ really put any fears into place. “Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real but fear is a choice.” I tell this to my daughter all the time from going on rides at theme parks to making new friends in a foreign countries.”

What scares the h*ll out of you? 

“Not being a successful role model for my daughter. Something I strive for in every action every day.”

About stepping outside the ‘comfort zone’ and staying sane as an entrepreneur

“Take the leap and don’t look back! Being an entrepreneur is a massive step and it takes commitment, persistence and faith. I, like others I’m sure, have bad days as well as good. I just keep going! “

“I try to speak to as many other entrepreneurs as possible and maintain a good channel of communication, we all need empowering and told we are great at what we do. Often we are too caught up in running our own lives and businesses that we forget to stop and look at our achievements.”

My mentor
“Being able to share experiences and learn from others is important and having a mentor who you can get advice from is essential. My mentor David McQueen kicks me into shape regularly.”

Thank you Nadu, you can follow her on Twitter


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Staying creative in a busy world. Annik Rau about spiritual haircuts

This is the first post in my new initiative to share ideas about creativity in a busy world. Annik Rau portrait

I love to listen to people about what they do to stay creative and sane when living an active life. Lately my personal injection of creativity was to go to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, beautiful for both your eyes and soul. We all have our own tricks and first out to tell us about her secrets is Annik Rau.

Annik Rau, Founder of PONY Express – a spicy public speaking club based in London, UK.

“One creativity secret is something I just discovered (just in time before going insane). I hired a systemisation consultant and started outsourcing and systemising the business. It simply frees up your mind. Once you stop DOING DOING DOING you start seeing what really is important. Your head is free to create and not worry about missing seven deadlines in a row. It’s so obvious but how many people do you hear saying ‘I am sooooo busy!’? It’s total BS once you start stepping out and seeing what really is key in your business. Then you really can start chilling out more and stop to smell the roses, as they say.”

“Another thing is scent. I always burn scented candles when I work. WoodWick are my favourites (they even crackle when burning). They remind me of Christmas, family and fun, which has a calming effect. I am more creative when I am calm.”

“A third thing is spiritual haircuts. I personally just love anything to do with magic and unicorns.”

“Right now I am totally inspired by the weather here in London. A little bit of sunshine makes a massive difference in the city. It’s the simple things.”

Staying brave

“At PONY Express we have something called ‘Impact Principles’ (see below). I have them printed on a little card that I keep in my wallet. Every time I am faced with a tough situation I get the card out and remind myself that we learn much more from failure than success and I should be more afraid of NOT giving it a go!”

What scares the h*ll out of you? 

“Bungee jumping. Part of my thinks I should do it BUT it’s just so scary. Then again, if someone were to hand me a massive spider I’d rather jump.”

About relaxing your mind and staying sane

“Outsource, systemise and ensure you have time to recharge yourself. I used to book myself in for massages and would then lie there and think ‘it must have been an hour by now…I have so much on…’ BUT you must break this cycle by reminding yourself that if you don’t have your health and a calm mind you have nothing. Smile to yourself when you catch yourself saying to people ‘I am so busy’.”

Impact Principles & Speaking Philosophy of Pony Express. 

1. STAGE TIME – Of course!

Someone invites you to speak, offers you their stage or looks for a volunteer in the audience. Your answer is always ‘OF COURSE’. Take every chance – drop every fear.

2. It’s NOT about ME

It’s about ‘falling from your head into your heart’. Once you realise you are on stage to be of service and not to let your crazy voices make get into the way, your nerves will vanish.

3. There is NO failure – only feedback

We learn from failure NOT success. Be afraid of not giving it a GO. Feedback is never personal anyway – performance, feedback, revision.

4. With Vulnerability comes Power

Vulnerability is the most accurate measurement of courage. Our imperfections are marks of authenticity and that’s the beauty of humanity. Let yourself be seen. Be you.

5. The 3 most dangerous words: ‘I KNOW THAT.’

This phrase means your mind is blocked. Have you let ‘knowing’ something stop you from hearing it again – knowing versus owning. Step back, bite your tongue and be open.

6. Always PLAY at 111%

Dare to go too far! Playing small means you’re comfortable, but not memorable. Greatness doesn’t come from playing small.

7. Repetition creates MASTERY

Practise and train. Be on top of your market. Watch other speakers. Be hungry for coaching. Practise and train some more.


There are only two options: make progress or make excuses. If the opportunity doesn’t exist: create it! Your success depends on what you put in.

Ensure to look back and see how far you have come! Use your special notebook and remember:

NO matter how slow you think you progress – you are still overtaking EVERYBODY on the couch.

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Setting Your Conditions for Creativity: Self Care

If you want to stay creative, a good start is to recognise what makes you tense, stressed and makes you feel disempowered. Being tense and stressed is a way to efficiently block your natural thoughts.

Think about yourself. Consider what is making you feel less creative. You will know from experience what is draining your creativity and energy. I call this part setting your conditions for creativity — essentially looking at what is going to make you blossom. Conditions for creativity are anything that maximises the chances in reaching a desired goal.

Some of my personal conditions for staying creative are: good sleep, exercise a few times per week and time to relax. Also, I know that if I’ve not done anything that’s fun for a long time my creativity is gone with the wind. I have to look after myself before I help others, and if I forget to do that my creativity works on low speed.

Having good conditions in place for creativity to grow reminds us that we’re not robots but humans with feelings and vulnerabilities. We’re all unique and the conditions for creativity that we allow to exist in our life are expressing who we are and what we need to be our best. So each person requires different conditions. Maintaining our personal conditions for creativity is putting the oil in a machine. We need them to function well and we need new oil too every now and then.

Remind yourself daily to talk to yourself gently. If a machine does not work because of lack of oil, you would not scream at it ‘Work now!’ Instead, you would refill the oil and let it start over again.

If you have a horrible headache, are tired and have not eaten well in the last 24 hours, it’s likely that your creativity is not in top form. Don’t kick yourself when you’re not feeling great. Your creativity will come back to you.

A person in the design industry I met at one of my workshops told me that she was always working on new projects that should go live soon. She told me that she often felt as if she could not function and that her creativity was very low. She was in this creative role and felt pressured that she should be super creative. We spoke about her concerns and it turned out that she felt as if she didn’t get enough recognition from her colleagues and friends.

I asked her who her biggest supporters and sponsors were. She identified them and then I encouraged her to ask them to give her more positive feedback and encouragement. After she had done this, she felt much better about her projects and she knew she had accountability partners who would support her and give her feedback even if she didn’t feel great. The others who didn’t give her positive feedback didn’t matter any longer as she was already feeling great with the feedback she got.

For some people it can help them to be creative to watch less TV. Others will be more creative by relaxing and having coffee with friends more often. I can’t tell you what’s best for you. You need to get to know yourself better to understand this. Do be aware that your conditions for creativity might change as you grow as a person. What was right last year might not be right this year.

When I was a student, I studied with a friend who was very creative and had a strict routine that he had to follow every day to be able to function. He was inner world-focused. When we met up again recently, I could see that he had changed. He now focuses more on the outer world and the people he has around him. His conditions for being a creative human being have changed. It is not the routine that makes him creative any longer but the people he meets and works with. His situation has changed — from living in a student environment to working for a big newspaper. This made his life very different and his conditions changed with him.

Exercise: Setting your conditions for creativity

Compare situations when you have been very creative and other circumstances when you felt drained and tired. What was it that was different?

An example can be: very creative and inspired — ‘I felt rested and had a good breakfast.’ Not creative — ‘I was feeling stressed and insecure; I had been sleeping badly for several days in a row.’

Now think about your conditions for creativity: what is it that blocks you and what makes you blossom? Make a drawing where you describe what is important for you to stay creative. This is your personal reminder of what’s important to you. Don’t use words. Drawings are much more efficient and will stay in your memory better. You’re also using more parts of the brain when drawing.

If you feel that going to a comedy show is great for you, draw a big laughing mouth. If it’s jogging, draw a jogger. If you need more sleep, draw a bed.

Keep this piece of art close to you for a while and remind yourself that you have to do these things that are good for your inner creativity. Put it on your fridge and make sure you follow them.

You have to have fun, talk to your friends, do things you’re entertained by that’s going to nurture your creativity, whatever that is — musicals, theatre, trips. Remember to do things that YOU think are fun and inspiring. It all starts within you!

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10 tips for Digital Leaders













Keep Calm and Become a Digital Leader

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ABBA: The Museum an example of Digital leadership in action

ABBA the museum - outside

The entrance to the museum.

Do you love ABBA like me? If yes, great – then we have one more thing in common. I went to ABBA: The Museum when I was in Stockholm and I LOVED it sooo much. I smiled, I laughed and I cried – the exhibition spoke to me in many ways.

Being born in Sweden means that you grow up with ABBA. And living in London, where the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! was first staged and is still going strong, you are made to listen to even more ABBA! One of the quotes in the museum said: ‘ABBA sits as a tattoo on your soul’. I agree, it does.

Walking around the museum was simply amazing. So much history has been brought together and Agneta, Björn, Benny and Anni-frid all tell you their stories through an audio guide.

ABBA: The Museum is one of the most digital exhibitions I’ve ever experienced. Great stories and experiences are mixed in a lively way. When I was there I recorded  a film of myself dancing to ABBA, I created a dancing ABBA avatar with my face on it, I remixed some ABBA songs and I also went to a singing audition to become the fifth member of the band. And after the visit I was able to download all my memories online and keep them for myself.

ABBA the museum - abba sits as a tattoo on your soul

The quote ABBA sits as a tattoo on your soul. It was said by Marcus Larsson a a Swedish music critic.

At every experience station you ‘checked in’ using your ticket, which had a unique ID number that you then used to log in online to access the material you had recorded or created.

Digital leadership in action 

The day following my trip to the museum I was not surprised when a friend told me that the CEO of the museum is Mattias Hansson, a man who used to be the CEO of Hyper Island, a frontrunner in digital media education. I believe that it would have taken a lot of creative digital leaders working together to create such an exhibition.

ABBA the museum - the piano they composed lots of the songs on

The white piano where many of ABBA’s big hits were composed. Björn and Benny spent the summers at Viggsö in Stockholm’s archipelago.

Have a look at this video, ‘Abba – The Last Video’ (very funny):

Sofie Sandell is a professional speaker and the author of the book Digital Leadership – you can download a free PDF on here or buy a hard copy or Kindle on Amazon.

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