Executing On Creativity

I’ve just finished delivering a ZIG ZAG workshop at the “Convene LIVE” annual event, hosted by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in beautiful Ottawa, Canada. The theme of this year’s event was “Executing on Creativity.” In addition to my workshop today, Todd Henry delivered yesterday’s workshop on the theme of his 2011 book, The Accidental Creative.

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Todd Henry on his new book “Die Empty”

I arrived a day early so I could watch Todd’s workshop; he does great stuff and I was eager to see him in action. His title was “Harnessing creativity: Concepts and processes that lead to everyday brilliance.” His session closely followed the messages from his book. For example, the second half of his session was about the “five elements of rhythm”:

  • Focus (staying focused on business priorities, vision, and what’s important)
  • Relationships (interacting with people who will help you get great ideas)
  • Energy (how to sustain a high energy level)
  • Stimuli (make sure you expose yourself constantly to new and interesting stimuli)
  • Hours (time management)

My overall take-home from Todd’s talk: great advice about productivity, work effectiveness, and time management, but with a particular focus on creative professionals. Todd’s message reminded me of Scott Belsky (the author of Making Ideas Happen). I had a chance to watch Scott’s awesome keynote when he and I both gave keynotes at the Creativity World Forum in Belgium in 2011.

My workshop today was four hours, giving me plenty of time to engage the audience with hands-on activities from all eight steps of the creative process (each step has one chapter in Zig Zag):

  1. ASK: Find and formulate the problem
  2. LEARN: Acquire knowledge relevant to the problem
  3. LOOK: Gather a broad range of potentially related information
  4. PLAY: Take time off for incubation
  5. THINK: Generate a large variety of ideas
  6. FUSE: Combine ideas in unexpected ways
  7. CHOOSE: Select the best ideas
  8. MAKE: Externalize your ideas

Here are some photos of the attendees, using the “Affinity Diagram” technique to develop creative solutions for planning their next meeting.

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And I learned a lot about event planning! Thanks to Kelly Peacy of PCMA for doing such a great job organizing the event.

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