Παρασκευή, 14 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Why Creativity Matters Most for Entrepreneurs


What is the most important quality of an entrepreneur? Many would argue it is passion -- an overwhelming love of what one is doing, and the drive and determination to see one's dreams realized. Others might say  leadership -- the ability to bring a team of people together and guide them toward a common goal. But some believe that creativity — a boundless imagination that is constantly innovating and seeing the world through a different lens — is the ultimate key to business success.
Phoebe Cade Miles, daughter of Gatorade inventor Dr. James Robert Cade, is one such believer in the power of creativity. She watched her father work tirelessly to invent a product that, five decades after its introduction, is still used by athletes around the world. Today, Cade Miles is working on her own entrepreneurial project, The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. The museum, scheduled to open in 2015 to commemorate Gatorade's 50th anniversary, explores the history of the famous athletic drink, and highlights the crucial role creativity played in its invention.
 "The invention of Gatorade is a perfect example of a creative collision," Cade Miles told BusinessNewsDaily. "It took experts from two seemingly unrelated subjects, nephrology and football, to bring about the completely new category of sports beverages."[Creativity Requires Confidence: How to Get More of Both]
Cade Miles shared her thoughts on why creativity is such a powerful entrepreneurial force, and how it can best be harnessed in a startup setting.
Creativity is a bigger predictor of success in life than intelligence. Most educational institutions and businesses still value intelligence over creativity. This may be because intelligence is easier to quantify, easier to manage, and easier to identify, whereas creativity can be difficult to spot because the most creative people often struggle in school. This makes it hard to discern the difference between a potential troublemaker and a truly creative person, who could bring great benefits to a company if their creativity were properly harnessed. A business should consider hiring for creativity in addition to intelligence.
Creativity actually needs structure to flourish, but not so much structure that it is crushed. Creative problem-solving works best when harnessed with highly focused and disciplined thought. The trick is being rigorous, but not rigid, in your work. Scientists who study creativity say it is essential to combine two modes of thinking, convergent and divergent, to have creative breakthroughs. Convergent thinking is highly analytical and focuses on arriving at one correct solution given the available data, whereas divergent thinking generates creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. A startup should build in ample time for divergent pathways of thinking to keep the proper creative tension with convergent modes of thinking.
Creativity can be learned. Everyone has creative potential and the creative thought process can be improved and strengthened. Learning new hobbies and skills is a great way to lay down new neural networks, but learning a new art form is one of the best methods to train the mind in developing creative problem-solving skills. The arts require the use of divergent thinking, which is the half of creative thought that is typically missing in corporate America.
Creativity happens best at the intersection of disciplines.Most breakthrough discoveries occur when two or more disciplines collide. Most people are afraid of collisions, but creative collisions are to be encouraged, because they allow you to view a problem from a new perspective. Creative problem-solvers are often able to connect two distinct areas of expertise and can translate potential solutions from one field to an unrelated area. 
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

by Nicole Fallon, BusinessNewsDaily Staff Writer 

Τετάρτη, 29 Ιανουαρίου 2014

A practical mind map tester

This is a great event for me and a totally new experience. Thanks to my peer Hand Buskes (MasterMindMaps) who pushed me in the adventure and the Biggerplate Event at Utrecht where we decided to make it happen, I'm going to publish a first book worldwide.

The book is about mind maps, a domain on which I focused a lot these last years. But the book is not about how to create them. Hundreds of books already exist on the subject and it is very easy to find the answer on the Internet. Moreover, learning how to draw mind maps is not a question of days, not even hours, it can be taught in a few minutes. What is more difficult is to apply the technique efficiently.

The number of mind maps is growing exponentially. A Google search finds you hundreds of millions maps. Because of the vast numbers and the enormous variety, consumers of mind maps are confused. What is a helpful mind map? Which one should I use? How to prevent readers to be frustrated by consuming incorrect, incomplete, unreadable or incomprehensible content? How to ensure mind maps bring a real added value to the information chain?

All these questions about mind maps today, Hans and I have intensively analysed them. Mind maps have become a fantastic mean of communication but like any new medium, it suffers from a lack of maturity. We can rule (or not) the way the diagram must be drawn, it's not enough to ensure that the output will have a good quality and will be useful for the user. It would not be a real concern if everybody was creating mind maps for their personal use. The difficulty comes with the fact that a lot of them are shared with the world hoping it will help.
But then, what is the book actually about? The new book 'A practical mind map tester'introduces a value scan, an easy to use instrument to evaluate how useful a mind map is. It checks whether a mind map in question, whatever the type, is useful and helpful for its consumer. In other words, it tests functionality. It includes five key performance indicators:
  • goal
  • information processing
  • readability
  • understandability
  • value
The elements of each individual indicator are described and tested extensively. Many of them are fresh to the mind map community. The scan isn't a final assessment. Following the results, further work can be done to strengthen the mind map making it more valuable to the user. Another possibility is to use the tester during the process of mind mapping, and proactively improve the mind map as you work on it.

Before you can get the book which will be launched first on Apple IBookStore very soon, enjoy this creative mind maps about the book. You can download it on Biggerplate.

"A practical mind map tester" - Book preview with a creative mind map

Our vision is to bring more value in the domain by seeking for simplicity, usefulness, uniqueness and quality in mind maps that are produced and shared. Our objective is really toconnect mind mappers and invite them to evaluate how helpful their mind maps are for users. In that sense, we have designed a very simple to use instrument to operate.

You will notice that the mind map above is made with iMindMap 7, using the new creative branch feature. But in the book, you will find many mind map examples designed with a multitude of software and apps such as Connected Minds, DropMind, Freemind, iThoughts HD, Inspiration, iMindMap, MindMeister, MyThoughts and Mindjet. Our message is clear, we want to invite ALL mind mappers to grow and participate to the future of mind mapping, whatever mind map type they create or mind mapping software they use. That's also the reason why we invited some actors in the domain to express their point of view throughout the book. I want to particularly thank Reinhard Zinburg, Adam Sicinski, Toni Krasnic, Philippe Boukobza, Barry Mapp, Liam Hughes and Susanne Edwards for their contributions.

Note also that one-third of the proceeds of this e-book will be donated to the non-profit organization 'Dessine-moi une idée', whose mission is to increase the efficiency and autonomy of people, especially children, giving them more opportunities to succeed in learning and coping with unusual situations.

I hope many of you will enjoy the book. I'll meet you on the day of release.
In the meantime,
be creative,
be open-minded,
be yourself.

Productivity Hacks: DaVinci’s Mind Mapping


This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share their secrets to being more productive. See all their #productivityhacks here.
Trying to get smarter, I once read a book on Leonardo DaVinci that promised to help you find your inner genius. The book was interesting and insightful, but I still cannot paint or draw and I never discovered a dormant talent for invention. I did, however, discover a technique called “mind mapping” derived from DaVinci’s approach to note taking. It revolutionized my approach to organizing ideas and managing complex tasks.
Leonardo is immortalized in his famous notebooks. He took notes, sketched inventions like the helicopter and drew beautiful images of the human body. He loved nature and was both intensely curious and exceptionally observant. He memorialized all he saw and all he thought. In his notebooks, the maestro would often connect drawings and words, in a free flowing tree-like branch structure. With a glance, you could quickly understand his meaning and impressions. That model was the inspiration for mind mapping techniques that can powerfully substitute for classic outlining, with its mechanical roman numerals, topics and subtopics.
Modern studies of the brain reveal that we process and recall visual images more strongly than written ones. The brain likes pictures. Drawing and connecting images also triggers the more creative regions of the brain. By mapping your thoughts in a visual manner you are sparking insight in the mind. Sketching out your ideas by starting with a central idea in the middle and then drawing out connections to other images and ideas that flow from your central thesis allows you to map out concepts and tasks in a quicker and more natural way—without the linear constraints of traditional outlining techniques.
In my world, I use maps all the time. When I stand at a podium to give a speech, I will only have a single page map in front of me showing and connecting the ideas I will talk about.
This helps me speak more naturally and not feel chained to text. I map out strategic plans for the organization, as well as plan projects and board meetings. I even map out my “to do” list for the week. Mind mapping is an exceptional technique for running brainstorming sessions as well. I also find mind mapping software very useful, and I can create map presentations rather than using the same old PowerPoint approach.
I recommend two programs. I use Mindmeister, which is purely an online, cloud-based tool. And I also use Mind Manager, which can be used both offline and online. Each has apps for the iPad as well.
Leonardo said “Everything is connected to everything else.” His integration of art and words through mind mapping opens up thought and leads to much greater creativity and productivity. Learn how to mind map and unlock your inner DaVinci.
Photo: justasc / shutterstock
Collage: LinkedIn Pulse

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