2010: A Creative Year

Another year is closing and a new one is on the way. The start of every new year is filled with planning and goals for the next 365 days that follow. It's not any different for me. I have some crazy resolutions for the next 12 months, and I believe 2010 will be a creative year. One for the books.

I was reading some articles online. One in particular was a really interesting post by Mike Kuz (one of my favorite designers) for 24ways.org called a New Year’s resolution, where he talks about trying more and not limiting yourself to the web when designing for the web.

“A key factor in creating something original and fresh for the web is to stop thinking in terms of web design. The first thing we need to do is forget the notion of headers, footers, side bars etc. A website doesn’t necessarily need any of these, so even before we’ve started we’ve already limited our design possibilities by thinking in these very conventional and generally accepted web terms.” - Mike Kuz

Besides reading articles I love listening to podcasts when I’m running. I've listened to some really great ones, but there's two in particular that I want to mention. The first is from the IA Summit 09 called Creating Magic Kingdoms: User Experience Lessons from Disney’s Imagineers by Mike Atherton.

Mike talks about passion when doing something and how that helps us to achieve our goals. He uses Disney and their engineers or as he calls them- "Imagineers" as an example. It’s very motivating with great insights about the importance of trying and believing in what you’re doing.

“Our greatest asset was ignorance. We didn’t know we could fail” - Marty Sklar, Imagineer.

You can see the slides and listen to the podcast below.

The second podcast that I found useful was a great episode from the SpoolCast, podcast from the UIE.com by the mighty Jared Spool, called Innovation Beyond the Buzzword. It was an interview with Scott Berkun and he talked about the meaning of the word innovation and how we can bring it into our projects.

The part that I enjoyed the most was the discussion about how to be creative. He says that everyone is creative but somehow we deny that because it is something very particular of each person, there’s no right or wrong, but instead only points of views. We simply don’t want to expose ourselves or get into discussions or arguments about our thoughts and we end up choosing the logic fields like math or science where there’s one right answer.

“True innovation starts with you allowing yourself to be creative and recording your ideas religiously in a safe place like a notebook or sketchpad. Don’t self-censor, either. Initial precision and “getting it right” are the antithesis of creativity. It’s essential to let the ideas flow, and your ideas will improve as you continue to record them. Your journal is an incubator of ideas. Not every idea will be a success, and some will be terrible! But Scott says that’s OK. When an opportunity for change arises, you’ll have a treasure trove of ideas to pick though.”

They go on to talk about the importance of group trust when you have an idea because that's what's necessary in making the idea come true. This leads to one of the most important topics for us designers that is how to provide useful feedback, or honest and constructive criticism among teams and individuals.

“Good critiques take practice and trust within your team. This usually requires time and commitment.” - Scott Berkun

I highly recommend that you listen to this episode. You can do so below

Great design by Glennz, one of the most creative t-shirt designers out there. Glennz simply plays and tries different concepts for well known things like this one.

When I said in the beginning of the text that 2010 would be a creative year I meant that the best way to be creative is practicing and exercising creativity. There was a time where I believed that good ideas would come out of the blue. I later found out that there's always a lot of thought involved. Nobody simply comes up with a good idea if there's not a problem to solve, a question to ask, or a desire to fulfill.

I want to propose that we all make 2010 a great and creative year by sharing our knowledge and not being afraid of experimenting. Let’s be less critical about the outcome of our experiments and more cheerful about our discoveries in the learning process and the evolution path in the design skills. That's what's most important after all.

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