Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: Changing of the Guard

von Oech is out.  Edison is in.

Long time readers know we have spent the last year in partnership with Roger von Oech, author of the, Creative Whack Pack.  He presents a creative principle, tells a short story, and then challenges us to apply his principle to our situation.  Works like a dream.  Love it.

But, I've decided it's time for a change.  I'm getting complacent and complacency is the death of creativity.  We're moving on.

Turns out Edison - Thomas, that is - is a perfect match for our community.  Why?  First of all he invented the light bulb and, as you know, we have a special thing for light bulbs here at Highlowaha (or at least one lightbulb).  Second, Edison was an inventive genius - owner of more than 1,000 patents in his 84 years of life.  I'd say his creativity, coupled with his connection to Ray, makes him worthy of bringing home to mom.

The 102 principles we'll be reviewing over the next months (even years) are provided by Alan Axelrod, author of, "Edison on Innovation: 102 Lessons in Creativity for Business and Beyond." 

1.  "Experiment with Everything: All of us experiment all of the time - we just don't think of it in such formal terms.  Experimentation is, in fact our natural way of being in the world.  You can make it more conscious and deliberate by thinking in terms of experimentation, writing down what you try, observing the results, and keeping a record of those results.  At its most basic, experimentation is nothing more than trial, observation, evaluation, and recording.  And no subject is too trivial a candidate for experimentation.  Once acquired, the experimental habit will carry into all aspects of life, including the portion of living devoted to making a living."

A timely principle, don't you think?  This week we are talking about New Year's resolutions, how much progress we've made, and the obstacles that get in our way.

Principle applied:  Consider the past six months an experiment, regardless of whether or not you've made progress on your resolution.  Experimentation (trial), writing down what you try (observation), observing results (evaluation), and keeping a record of results (recording).

No topic too trivial?  Really?

Let's see.

Why am I incapable of doing my part in preparing varied and well balanced meals for my kids, as promised in my New Year's resolution?
  • Trial: Beyond setting the resolution and connecting with an "accountability partner," I haven't tried squat.
  • Observation: Inaction doesn't work.  Ambivalence about cooking is no motivator.
  • Evaluation: No plan for meals going into the week makes me reactive not proactive.  Weeks are busy and, ultimately, I default to the same marginally balanced meals.  We make time for those things we are either good at or enjoy. 
  • Recording: Quality/variety of meals = O change;  100% still a slacker; 100% intent on turning it around in the next six months (partly, so I don't have to contend with Sting Ray).  
Your turn.  Tell me about your New Year's Resolution Experiment.  Trial, Observation, Evaluation, Recording.  Progress or no progress, it's all part of your grand experiment.

Signing off until tomorrow...


Chaotic said...

Trial: got a stairmaster to exercise on while I watch my fave TV show, but still don't do it

Observation: I don't watch much TV so it's not really a motivator for me

Evaluation: I must find a way to make sweating more entertaining

Recording: 5 times a week is daunting- when I miss one I give up the rest of the week, so shoot for 3 instead.

Claudia said...

Perfectly done, Chaotic. Exactly what Edison would have wanted.

Robin said...

Trial: I tried reading longer books to maintain interested to get the girls to ask to read (aka remind me).

Observation: They don't.

Evaluation: Back to the drawing board

Recording: Read something I like to get me to remember.

Kat said...

Trial- Tried organizing an area a week.

Observation- I started out great, but lost momentum after a few weeks. Organization has been hit or miss since then.

Evaluation- I get burnt out when I try to do too much at one time.

Recording- I will still attempt an area a week, but I will plan it out ahead of time. When that project is done, I will not start anything new until the next week.

Cheryl said...

Trial: Complete 12 paintings by the end of the year... logically, one a month.

Observation: The subject matter didn't hold my interest and I didn't like the way the pieces were coming together as pre-planned. I put it aside.

Evaluation: A change in subject matter may be in order or a change in approach and medium.

Recording: Keep at it. Find time to focus energy. Something could click and 12 pieces could come out of no where.

Heather said...

Trial: Tried to save money just by being more frugal

Observation: I'm already pretty frugal so no money was really saved.

Evaluation: I have to make this a family effort.

Recording: Get Bal on board and really commit to cutting ALL unnecessary expenditures...even the ones we "think" are necessary.

Katie K said...

Trial: Wanted to get into better shape like I was two years ago.

Observation: I am too busy and wasn't making the time to work out and make healthier meals.

Evaluation: I must 'commit' to taking me time so I can go work out and not allow myself to buy junk at the grocery store or keep going out to eat.

Recording: I must start with a small goal of 5 days a week, exercising for 30 minutes. That's manageable and then as I build the time for me, I can make it longer than 30 minutes.