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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

Fostering Creativity: Interview with Bob Greenberg


While at Alan November’s Building Learning Communities (BLC) this summer I was introduced to Mr. Bob Greenberg, developer of a video interview series called “The Brainwaves” (thanks to Tom Whitby for the introduction!). We had a bit of an issue with some construction work going on outside the hotel, but I think it turned out fine. I’m really riffing off some hot-pink Post-It notes I used to brainstorm the night before. Perhaps I’ll take the ones I didn’t use and write a post…

Some major points (if you don’t want to watch the entire pink post-it fest):


 (really helped me get through cancer treatment as you can see in my TEDX talk)


 ( we need to get rid of that lone genius myth)


Since creativity is remix, and we “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”, it’s imperative we give attribution when we appropriate.


The best art comes from collaboration (although “combinatorial” can also mean mashing up different elements)…so it’s essential to be connected. Seek out your creative soulmate (s).


If you are a teacher (like me), be prepared…if you are married to a creative person, likewise. And don’t worry- you can clean up later.


I’ve got an entire blog post about this one you can check out here.


You need to make time for creativity on a daily basis…try doing something small, like a @Serendipidoodle or a #threethirtysketchquote.


Creativity can be addition, subtraction, or – my favourite – happen in constraints.


One of my favourite quotes from Michelangelo, (learn more in this post), refers to having such a keen sense of wonder and ability to notice and see things in the mundane that could be art…


Again, doing a little something each day can really build up and become something more substantial (but even if it doesn’t who cares?)


The nemesis of creativity, to paraphrase Sylvia Plath, is self-doubt. These are some things I do to combat it (not always successfully)

And if you are interested in the “trash your inner troll” concept, I actually appropriated that from my dear friend @Braddo and created a little movie using my sketches, Keynote, and iMovie.


Not everyone is your mom and will like you – you need to be resilient…BUT…believe me there is a niche audience for everyone and every type of creative expression.


Niche audiences and “fans” aside, always be true to yourself – do what YOU want to do (unless you are getting highly paid by a client and don’t mind the compromise).


As I wrote in this post, we are becoming an increasingly visual society. Or perhaps reverting back to pre-Gutenberg ways (as in this post)…whatever- just practice more visual thinking like sketch-noting, photography, and film.


Like Da Vinci (lessons from whom you can read about in this post), notebooks are an essential tool. They can be fancy Moleskins or cheapo composition books. I’ve even written lyrics on backs of Starbuck’s receipts as they come to me in the car. Do yourself a favour and invest in a few.

More thoughts on Creativity in my double-dip interview with Tim and Scott Bedley here:

#creativity #davinci #braddo #michelangelo #bedleybrothers #bobgreenberg #tomwhitby #blc

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