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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

Park that Spark!

innovative spark

A while back the lovely Wes Fryer (we’ve never met, except on Twitter, but I’m the type that definitely counts that as “real life”) asked me to share my thoughts about maintaining the spark for innovation. He’s crowdsourcing a keynote, which is something I’ve done in the past and loved it (so much so that I plan to do it again)

I like to organize any “tips” I give into short collections of alliterated words – that, and rhyming or assonance, just seems to work for me both as a learner and a teacher.


I decided I could break it down into 5 C’s in ascending order:


I make a point to do a little of each every day. It keeps me fulfilled and on my toes, plus I like to think I can help or inspire others as well.

Here’s the video I did in 1 take with some pink post-its:

I did another version (a mashed-up vlog with jump-cuts) not in one take you can SEE HERE (Wes liked the first one better, and so do I, I think).

1. WIDE-EYED WONDER…look closely, ask questions and stick with them, appreciate the little things, desire to make things better..or prettier!


2. LOOK, LURK, LISTEN, LIFT, LIKE…hunt for things that inspire you, add value, and share.


3. FOLLOW, FRIEND, FELLOWSHIP…I think everyone is an artist I can learn from and be inspired by in some way. Connection is about people in both digital (virtual) and physical environments. But although you want to surround yourself with those who build you up, it’s important to have those who appreciate you for you, as opposed to what you produce, and those who will be straight up with you and offer constructive criticism.


4. COMBINATORIAL CREATIVITY…my best work has always happened when I team up with someone who can bring something else to the table. Sometimes its a balancing act of varied talents, and other times they are the power pack for my rocket (or vice versa). Lately I’m exploring the possibilities of mass collaboration, or crowdsourcing.


4. DON’T WAIT TO CREATE…it’s really important to set aside some “white space” every day so that you can be creative in your own way. Perhaps it’s writing a short blog post, or taking a photo to share on Instagram. You might want to explore “daily creative challenges” like those by #ds106 and @Serendipidoodle. It might be working piecemeal on a longer, more involved project. I’ve also discovered the tailored social media site @Somewhere as a source for inspiration and as a way to get me to respond creatively (with a short post and sketch) each day.


6. #daretoshareThis has been my mantra for a while now. I constantly harp on the value of radical transparency (and I’m not the only one – you should check out Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work). The thing is, the feedback you get from sharing your work with others is like keeps you going. It could even make your work better. Take a risk and realize not everything must be “perfect”. Also, I’ve learned that there is pretty much a niche for everything so even if your thing is  drawing Steampunk feminist manga you will probably find a receptive audience.


People I referenced in the videos:

Brad Ovenell-Carter (“playing in the sandbox with cool people”)

Harold Jarche (“Seek Sense Share”)

Austin Kleon (“you are a mashup of what you let into your life”)

Special thanks to Wes Fryer for inspiring me to reflect on this!

#BradOvenellCarter #wesfryer #austinkleon #collaboration #haroldjarche #creativity #curation #innovation #curiosity #connected #ds106 #serendipidoodle

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