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We Seek Newsletter No.48

To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Breaks

Creativity and focus special • automated future • cult of achievement

Completely randomly, as I was preparing this issue I ended up with lots of creativity articles. Since this week e180 is at C2 Montréal (Commerce & Creativity), I felt it was a happy coincidence so here we go; a creativity and focus issue for you.

And do reach out if you are also at C2, maybe even for a braindate?

Let Go of the Learning Baggage

Farnam Street Blog • 7 min read

Yes I’m linking to that Parrish fellow again, what can I say, he’s good! On the unnecessary and unhelpful separation we keep between work, play and sleep, how they are different modes, all necessary to really learn things and on the guilt associated with the other two when at work.

Diffuse-mode thinking is what happens when you relax your attention and just let your mind wander. This relaxation can allow different areas of the brain to hook up and return valuable insights. … Diffuse-mode insights often flow from preliminary thinking that’s been done in the focused mode.

You Can’t Be Creative Without Being in Your Body

Jocelyn K. Glei • 4 min read

Blue light (from screens) promotes convergent thinking while walking improves divergent thinking. Be in your body and active when you need to come up with ideas. (It’s also better for you mood, really!)

So if you’re stuck, frustrated, or just feeling a little bit down, I highly recommend you step away from your desk, put down your phone, and go for a walk to reactivate your mind/body connection. Creativity — and even just plain being happy — is an embodied activity.

Very much related, also read;

To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Breaks • HBR

Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus • HBR

The secret to wild creativity is an obsessive spreadsheet, according to OK Go

Quartz • 4 min read

The OK Go lead with some of the process behind their videos and some of his approach; Don’t get too attached to an idea, resist templates, pay attention to small details and stay hungry.

“We try to find a sandbox and we gamble a whole lot of our resources on getting in that sandbox and playing,” said Kulash. “We have to trust that the process in the sandbox will reveal to us which ideas will not only be surprising but surprisingly reliable.”

Reinventing the Way Humans Learn: Our Story, Our Plan

We Seek • 8 min read

We are re-launching a few things this week, here you can read more about our story and the plan ahead.

The Product Manager as Knowledge Centralizer

We Seek • 9 min read

“The ability for a team to pivot, the ability to reach consensus, is a byproduct of common, centralized knowledge that is built up from daily actions and maintained and kept alive by the product manager.”

How to Prepare for an Automated Future

New York Times • 5 min read

Quite a good recap of a Pew Research Center and Elon University survey on The Future of Work, with multiple insights from many of the useful thinkers on the topic like Stowe Boyd and danah boyd. And since, as usual, lots of the answers center around constant learning, it’s very à propos for us.

“I have complete faith in the ability to identify job gaps and develop educational tools to address those gaps,” wrote Danah Boyd, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and founder of Data and Society, a research institute. “I have zero confidence in us having the political will to address the socioeconomic factors that are underpinning skill training.”

Our Cult of Achievement Is Crushing the Genius Out of People

The Big Think • 5 min video

Eric Weinstein on excellence and variance, on our education systems (and society) concentrating only on the former, neglecting and boxing in the latter.

The key question is: who are these high-variance individuals? Why are our schools filled with dyslexics? Why are there so many kids diagnosed with ADHD? My claim is these are giant underserved populations who are not meant for the excellence model.

The role of learning communities

Noddlepod • 3 min read

Learning communities as safe spaces to explore ideas and for cross-sector exploration and collaboration. And I quite liked this definition;

For me, learning communities are groups of individuals with a common goal, interest, task, programme or connection. Learning communities are more than just a network. Why? Networks are quite often full of people who are loosely connected. True learning communities forge connections that are deeper, stronger and longer lasting. They go way beyond the idea of being networked and a networked leader.

Further Reading


Header image from the HBR article To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Breaks.

Patrick Tanguay

Editor-in-Chief for E-180 Publications. Obsessively curious transdisciplinary thinker and learner. I help connect people and ideas.