The Funny Thing About Creativity

Aug 16 2010 Published by admin under creativity

“He who laughs most, learns best.”  - John Cleese

John Cleese talks about the basis of creativity in our unconscious mind in this great video clip (thanks to @heartofinnovation for drawing my attention to this).  He also highlights some great tips for creating the right conditions for creativity :

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Showering with Ideas

Aug 10 2010 Published by admin under creativity

“There’s no half singing in the shower. you’re either a rock star or an opera diva.”  - Josh Groban

I don’t often sing in the shower (don’t worry – you haven’t missed much!).  However, I get many of my best ideas there, and based on conversations with friends, I think they do too.  Why is that?

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Movies, Dreams, Minds and Mirrors

Jul 28 2010 Published by admin under empathy

“All action is of the mind and the mirror of the mind is the face, it’s index the eyes.”  - Cicero

Although the world and story of Inception are not as easy to follow as Keeping up Appearances or other sitcoms (for example), I found myself immersed in its world at the cinema on Sunday.  In fact, I was so immersed that I lost track of time and my mind was completely focused on the flow of the film, undistracted by all those other concerns which normally creep in.

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The Importance of Feedback

Jul 16 2010 Published by admin under brain science

“Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.  They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.”  – Michael J. Gelb

The way in which our mind processes visual information is a miniature version of the way in which it processes all kinds of information, with multiple layers of processing and continuous feedback loops being used to construct an internal mental reality which most effectively helps us to maximize rewards from the external world.   That is, consciousness is merely a system for using feedback to help us create the future.

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How language shapes the future

Jul 13 2010 Published by admin under language

“Words form the thread on which we string our experiences.”  - Aldous Huxley

Two interesting articles I read today focus on the impact of language on our behaviour, providing evidence that the way we frame choices and how we describe those choices shape our subsequent behaviour.

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Cognitive Deficit?

Jun 30 2010 Published by admin under behavioural change

“Genius is nothing but continued attention.”  – Claude Adrien Helvetius

We all know that we should manage our time more efficiently, and most of us are very bad at switching off email and social networking connections to focus on work, but how much impact does constant disruption have on our efficiency?  More importantly, what is the longer-term impact of the deluge of data on our brains?

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Can brainscans beat surveys?

Jun 29 2010 Published by admin under brain science

“Brain researchers estimate that your unconscious database outweighs the conscious on an order exceeding ten million to one.  This database is the source of your hidden, natural genius.  In other words, a part of you is much smarter than you are.  The wise people regularly consult that smarter part.”  - Michael J. Gelb

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Elementary, my dear Watson

Jun 22 2010 Published by admin under brain science

“Anyone who has begun to think places some portion of the world in jeopardy.”  - John Dewey

You can learn a lot from the game of Jeopardy! as revealed in a recent blog by Jonah Lehrer and the original work by IBM, who have spent years building a “question answering” machine called Watson, in the quest to develop artificial intelligence.  While Watson performs impressively, (s)he has some significant failings, and chief among them is that (s)he doesn’t know what (s)he knows in the same way that you and I know what we know.  What I mean by that is that humans can be remarkably quick to react to a question, even when they do not have the answer, but only know that they know the answer (ie we recognise that the answer is buried somewhere in our brain, and therefore react to a question, without having the answer immediately to hand).  Think of all those times that you stick your hand up to ask a question, without knowing precisely what you want to ask – despite your pre-emption, you still manage to ask something intelligent.  Or remember the experience of having something on the ‘tip of your tongue’ – you know that someone’s name beings with K, but you can’t quite remember what the name is!

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Are you Conscious of your Desires?

Jun 12 2010 Published by admin under unconscious

“What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires – desires of which he himself is often unconscious.  If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinise it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it.  If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.  The origin of myths is explained in this way.”  - Bertrand Russell

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Virtual Lives

Jun 02 2010 Published by admin under brain science

“A purely disembodied human emotion is a nonentity.”  – William James

With advances in virtual reality, and more recently augmented reality, gamers are increasingly excited about the prospects of more immersive and engaging experiences, forgetting that man developed the supreme virtual reality machine tens of thousands of years ago – and use it everyday to navigate the world!

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