Thursday, July 16, 2009

Urban Inspiration 1—COLOR

Today, I coordinated a little field trip out of the office.

A couple months ago, my boss presented us with this year’s BHAG—aka Big Hairy Audacious Goal (a BHAG encourages companies to define visionary goals that are more strategic. The concept was originally proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article titled, Building Your Company's Vision).

Our BHAG contained one goal in particular that really sparked my curiosity, “Cultivate a mindset of innovation…”

While I don’t officially consider myself an inventor, I do consider myself an idea person—particularly lately—since I have entered (and done well with) a few of my submissions on the website. It’s impossible to sum up the EN website and the company behind it (Eventys) without going into a long explanation. Suffice to say, it’s revolutionary and it is providing opportunity to
a lot of everyday folks.

At the same time the BHAG was introduced, we unfolded a new “goals” process. We were asked to relate our professional goals to the BHAG in general—to work towards our ultimate goal of truly living the document.

I thought back to that goal, “Cultivate a mindset of innovation…”

To work on my own creative mindset, I had already bought “Thinkertoys—A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques” by Michael Michalko. It teaches you how to train yourself to be a creative thinker.

One of the suggested exercises from Michalko’s book asks the reader to direct their attention to one color and spend all day seeking that color. The idea behind this focusing exercise is to help people see the world aro
und them in a new light. By focusing on the details, they have a greater experience with that color, and it forces them to pay attention.

Since design is seriously influenced by color, I thought this would be a fun way to begin the implementation of one of my professional goals—coordinating learning opportunities for our employees to help them develop a more innovative mindset. I called the workshop Urban Inspiration (1).

I gave the exercise a little twist, and asked everyone to bring in their digital cameras and walking shoes. We split up into groups of two—I think everyone had a camera—and then we chose colors (red, green, yellow, blue, brown, and silver/chrome). I gave everyone a list of things to shoot—a person, typography, a logo, 5 close-ups, a photo of something in the distance, something natural, something stereotypically urban—and hoped they would just shoot pictures of anything that color.

It will be exciting to see everyone's completed photo grids. I couldn't wait so I posted mine below.

Here’s a little inspiration from Michalko:
“Creators are joyful and positive. Creators look at ‘what is’ and ‘what can be’ instead of ‘what is not.’ Instead of excluding possibilities, creators incl
ude all possibilities, both real and imagined. They choose to interpret their own world and do not rely upon the interpretations of others. And most importantly, creators are creative because they BELIEVE they are creative… No matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. In the end, our own creativity is decided by what we choose to do or what we refuse to do. And as we decide and choose, so are our destinies formed.”


  1. I love your work and ideas! And thank you for joining our artist's group on facebook, come back often and post your love and work!!!!
    Rebecca Sweeney

  2. Thank you Rebecca! Glad to have you here!

  3. What a nifty idea! I wish I'd be around to particiate…