Monday, April 27, 2009

The Process

Glenn Griffin and Deb Morrison, professors at SMU and the University of Oregon, asked me to participate in a joint research project on the creative process. They sent me a Sharpie and a poster-sized piece of paper and asked me to illustrate my creative process.

Not too long ago, I presented a version of this to a guy I am working with in Seattle, a scientist who runs a biotech company, to help him understand how I work. "That's our process too," he told me. Interesting.


Dr. Glenn Griffin said...

Jelly: We so appreciate it! Very cool. - G

deborah said...

Nice stuff. What we're finding is that when thinking about the promise, creative folks take great pains to show that feeding part of the process. Which all means we've very excited about this book and what it shows. Glad you're a part of it. deb

I'm Jelly said...

From Twitter:

@Elan_M @JellyHelm Absolutely! I would just emphasize "ask questions"...(the better the "questions", the better the "stuff"...)

Yeah, sometimes. The only problem is that you don't know when the question is "better"...

The discipline we successfully used in 12: each student wrote at least 100 questions after the preliminary project briefing. Absolutely no judgment on quality of question. Stream-of-curiosity. When a chain of questions got too weird, they'd come back to the topic and try to begin with a new angle.

We'd post all the questions, and everyone would circle the questions that were most interesting to them.

Most interesting to me - and you won't believe it unless you saw it yourself - but there would often be more than 2000 questions, with not one repeated. Seriously.

Then we'd edit down to the selected questions, and after some discussion, the solution was often staring us right in the face, just waiting to be created.

Max said...

That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Do the folds help?

I'm Jelly said...

Hard to say on the folds. Helped me line up some of the words, but also a little tricky to sharpie over.

I'm Jelly said...

From Twitter:

@crcrcr @JellyHelm Awesome Jelly. Nice that each piece is just as important as the next. At least yours makes a full circle. lol.

Bolshevik said...

I once heard a Science Friday podcast with Alan Lightman, MIT physicist. He said his process for problem-solving is:

1) Prepare Mind.
2) Get Stuck.
3) Change Perspective.
4) Breakthrough.

Pretty similar.

At SxSW last year, I heard a talk about the process where they emphasized the importance of separating the Divergence phase (coming up with lots of ideas) from the Convergence phase (editing & refining). I think that's important too. However you name the steps, it's an iterative/cyclical process.

Colin Dodd said...

Feed your brain on your own time, slacker.

We have work to do!

Casey Caplowe said...

In working on plans for GOOD (and our next website), i drew a circle chart suggesting the necessary steps to create an ecoystem for taking action — or just doing things in general. I came up with pretty much the same thing as you, but with slightly different words:

> Learn > Propose > Do > Report > (repeat)

I've never been set on the word choice, and i like the tone of of our list, but the steps seem potentially universal.

TenFifty said...

Jelly old bean
get in touch-steve dunn

I'm Jelly said...

Tell me how, Steve!