Censemaking No.22

Creative Decisions

Even a choice to do nothing is a decision made to do something.
That's the paradox of human thinking. 
Another truth is that many of our decisions are designed, whether we realize it or not. Learning how to make better ones and be more creative in the process is what will lead to innovative, healthier, more impactful outcomes. 
This week we're looking at decisions and how to make better ones, by design. We're also looking at how to choose creativity, how to make better teams (and choose yourself, and the psychology of innovation
Just like the smell of freshly roasted coffee, this newsletter is ready to perk you up. Let's get brewing something great.
Keep safe, sound, and creative -- Cameron 


Daydreams to Creations

Daydreaming gets a bad rap. Emerging behavioural science shows that daydreaming can enhance our creativity if what we dream about is meaningful to us. Mundane planning doesn't do much for creativity, but the more we allow our mind to wander to things that are important to us, the more creative we become. So next time you drift on your Zoom call, drift to something that matters and you might find yourself with a new solution to a nagging problem. 

Waves of Creation

Two weeks ago I attended The Great Wave conference brought together by the House of Beautiful Business think tank This remarkable event brought together music, art, and deep thinking about how to make business more beautiful for people, the planet, and our communities with creativity. The work of the conference continues largely self-organized with groups like the Design Education Slack channel and a variety of other resources that are worth checking out if you're stuck for creative ideas on how to innovate and do it in a way that's beautiful for us all. 


Decisions in Uncertain Times

Sometimes having a way to organize uncertainty is what we need. Venture capital investors Andreesen Horowitz have created a simple framework for making decisions in uncertain times that can be useful in organizing what you see. This 2x2 matrix considers whether something is perceived to be structural or ephemeral and positive or negative and can help you see ways forward. 

Designing Decisions

An election in the United States and a pandemic across the globe illustrate two different, but connected opportunities for decision-making. What we often forget is that decisions are most often designed, meaning we can design our choice options better by looking at six different areas and opportunities to consider what, where, and how we choose things. Design well, choose better

Better Decisions Under Duress

Our brain plays tricks on us when we're stressed or overloaded. The pandemic plays into both of these situations. Pro Publica goes deep into research that shows why we interpret risk and responses and why we might be willing to engage in behaviour that's much more risky than we realize. By understanding how we think we can think, see, and feel about risks in more healthy ways. 

Picking Your Team

The Weakest and Strongest Links

Are you better off amplifying the skills of your team's best performer on your team or improving your weakest? The answer depends on what 'game' you're playing. Author Malcolm Gladwell, speaking to the Google Zietgeist conference profiled research that brings together team performance, management, and network theory and shows that by knowing what kind of game you're playing you can recruit and support the best team.  
For further reading, I'd highly recommend you look at Simon Sinek's great distillation of the research on teams and game-playing in The Infinite Game

Picking Yourself

While we're talking about authors and books, Seth Godin has a new book out called The Practice. In this brief summation of the book, Seth outlines some key points in becoming a better creative professional - no matter what work you do. Central to this is the idea that we need to pick ourselves, not strive to be picked if we want to do our best work. Go ahead, pick yourself and make a ruckus. As Seth says: being creative is a choice. 


Designing Better Meetings

Whether its on Zoom, Teams or in-person meetings are almost inevitable if you work with other people. One reason many of us dread them is that they are badly organized. Designer and educator Daniele Catalanotto is trying to change that, even a little, with his new free tool to help you organize your meetings. It helps you account for the transitions, delays and shows you how much time you really spend (or need) to help you spend that time wisely. 

Designing Better Services

Design research is all about understanding how your current and prospective engage with your service or product in the real world. Activity Analysis is a simple strategy to map out and learn what people do, how they do it, and in a way that can be used to bring your team together to learn, together. 


Psychology of Innovation 

This second in a series on the Art & Science of Innovation will be looking at the way perceptions, emotions, thoughts, motivation and others all influence service design, creation, and the translation of ideas into innovation. This one-hour webinar is Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 1200 ET. Register here for the Psychology of Innovation. The cost is free. 

Systemic Innovation Festival

The Rockwool Foundation is hosting a global festival of systemic innovation this coming week. They have already posted up videos, a white (or rather, green) paper on systemic innovation, and have created a variety of events and links that are designed -- appropriately so -- for cultivating systemic innovation. Register and join in from Monday, 9th of November at 15:00 (CET).
Like a good coffee, knowledge is best when shared with a friend. If you like this forward it on to someone you want to have coffee with. 
"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice" - Wayne Dyer
For much more, visit Censemaking online.
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