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Adjusting Creative Perspectives

Hello, again.

A change in our perspective is the journey we can take no matter what kind of limits we have to actually physically going places.

One thing the pandemic has done for many of us is impose a lack of contrast to our lives. People, places, things (just consider meetings over Zoom) start all feeling the same.

This is where a change in perspective can mean so much to our ability to see things, dream things, and deliver new ideas into reality.

This issue perspective and creativity sit in our line of sight. We’ll going to look at how to find time you didn’t realize you had for thinking big (and how to better organize your time), how to learn faster and deeper, and ways to see architecture differently, design thinking tools and much more.

Seeing small things differently allows you to do different, bigger, or better things, better.

Thank you for seeing these possibilities along with me — Cameron

Seeing Work Differently

If only we had the time to think big. We do. That’s what the Schultz Hour is for. Author Dan Pink explains in under two minutes how to create an hour per week to transform your thinking and see the world differently as a result.

What can a 13th-century monk teach us about information overload? A lot. Vincent of Bauvais wrote a 4.5 million word encyclopedia through focused, organized work and software firm Atlassian has taken his lessons and found a modern twist on a surprisingly old problem.

Too busy to tackle futures-thinking because you’re stuck in the present? Futurist Scott Smith argues that writing things down, posting them up, sharing them with others are the ways to transform physical spaces where we can start to see things in new ways beyond the everyday. Try it out.

How will our physical space change due to the pandemic? Knowable Magazine prepared a comic — yes, a comic — based on observations and evidence from past pandemic that literally illustrates how we might see our physical spaces in new ways once its safe to get together again.

Seeing Challenges Differently

Picking up new skills is not something left to the young — we all can do it. Research has shown that developing a beginner’s mindset is the way. A simple shift in perception along with deliberative practice can transform a novice into a skilled practitioner. Try approaching your next problem as a beginner and notice what changes.

Another way to learn is to frame what you know in a way you can explain it to others in many different settings. That is the Feynman Learning Technique. It has three steps: 1) pretend to teach a concept you want to learn about to a student in the sixth grade, 2) identify gaps in your explanation, and 3) simply it all — that’s how you do it. .

Learning also comes from doing new things and that means overcoming challenges. Hardiness is a quality that helps use see tough situations and use them to our advantage. Commitment to what is in front of you, finding a sense of control, and a challenge mindset all come together to help shape our hardiness and how we learn from the challenges we face.

Another perceptive shift comes when we move from startup to scaleup and how we, as leaders, must change how we work with our teams. Coach and consultant Gillian Davis offers recommendations on steps you can take as a leader to better support your team as you grow from those early stages into taking your innovations to new levels along with your leadership.

Seeing Design Differently

Designers tend to think about their product and work from there, but David Williams from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has found that reversing this — work from your customer back to your situation — can reveal steps in development and implementation that can transform not only what you create, but how you put it into the world.

Designers Charles and Ray Eames were masters of their practice and one of the reasons for that was that they saw their practice as cumulative, not a single event or product. By seeing their work as part of a larger narrative they were able to create an entire process of learning from their past work — mistakes and successes — to build new innovations and ideas. How will you tell the story arc of your innovation efforts?

If you’re looking to develop, better, or expand your design thinking capabilities check out Overlap Associates’ helpful collection of free (or nearly free) design thinking tools.

And for many more tools and tips on how to do design thinking in practice consider the Cense Resource Garage where there’s dozens of articles on tips, tricks, and techniques for design thinking, foresight, evaluation and innovation practice.

Seeing Impact Differently

Happiness is more than a state of mind and research is showing how it is linked to kindness. Generosity, gratitude, and expressions of kindness to others has been shown to be a pathway to happiness (among many other positive outcomes). Create impact in the lives of others and yourself by doing something kind today and become happier, too.

Sustained innovation is not about doing one thing well, it’s about many things done over time. Over at Censemaking we’ve highlighted metrics you can use to help assess how well you’re building a culture of innovation and a habit of creative, sustained innovation practice.

Impact is not only something we create, but how we frame what we see. Designer and architect Enrique Martinez’ recent post on framing will help you see impact and value in a whole new light by focusing on the act of framing itself.

Seeing Opportunities

Some events coming up that might allow you to share your ideas and get new ones:

The Design and Critical Thinking Virtual Chalet goes every two weeks on Tuesday at 1800 GMT+1. The next event is March 16, 2021 and provides an informal chance to meet other critical thinkers and designers. For those looking for something more formalize, this group will be hosting a planning session for the group on March 23, 2021 — both registration details are available in the links.

Evaluation leaders Michael Quinn Patton and Mark Cabaj are hosting a four-part virtual workshop series on Evaluation for Transformative Change hosted by the Tamarack Community. Registration is now open and the event starts April 20, 2021.

Lastly, I (Cameron Norman) am delivering a workshop on Evaluation By Design for those looking to understand and integrate the foundations of design and design thinking into their evaluation practice. The event, hosted by the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Evaluation Society is March 23, 2021 and registration is now open.

That’s all to see this week. I hope you see much more in the week to come.

Thanks for reading and sharing this with others.

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