Tagged With creativity

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What would you try in your professional life if you weren't afraid of failing? Would you finally write that book of short stories? Strike out and open your own shop? Convince your manager you deserve to be in charge of a larger team?

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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New Year's resolutions are usually centred around a big aspirational goal: I'll work out every day, I'll write a book, I'll never eat junk food. But most of us fail at our resolutions. One problem is that we're setting our goals too high. If you want to reach a huge goal, first you have to set a small one.

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You have a problem. You gather a group of smart, creative people and say, Let's brainstorm. Together, you bounce around a bunch of ideas, whittling and honing them until you arrive at it: The Solution.

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This past month I participated in National Novel Writing Month (also known as "NaNoWriMo"). It was fun, exhausting, stressful and, at times, miserable. But it was also one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned regarding time management and creativity.

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A large source of my creative procrastination comes from this notion that my idea "just isn't ready yet", like it's fruit ripening on a tree. But you know what? That's bullshit.

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Life's more fun with nicknames. That's why we name our wireless networks "Julia Louis-Wifus" or "23cm tops come to Apt. 3B". But say you need to name a whole set of things, like software versions, conference rooms, or just placeholders in an example. At that point you can't just make up random names one by one. You need a system.

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"A good composer does not imitate; he steals," Igor Stravinsky supposedly said. Faulkner allegedly phrased it as "Immature artists copy, great artists steal." Steve Jobs put it most simply: "Good artists copy, great artists steal." The saying regularly inspires artists, thinkers and dorm-room poster designers. But in practical terms, what does it mean?

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I treat my earbuds rough, so every year or two they break. And every time, as I walk around the world without a constant soundtrack of Spotify and podcasts, I think to myself, "I really ought to do this more often." And then I have ideas.

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Everyone who works in a creative field, or wants to, should subscribe to the monthly newsletter Three Cents. In each issue, writer and editor Manjula Martin writes three brief essays and lists some well-curated links about creative work. It's helpful for learning industry norms and expectations, and it's a great way for freelancers and work-from-home creatives to feel less isolated.

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Hackathons are all the rage. Lots of companies run them as a way of engaging staff, kickstarting innovation and breaking the monotony of every day routines. Seek has now run a number of internal hackathons, scheduling one every six months as a way of kickstarting innovation in system design, business process improvement and finding new ways to work with customers.

I spoke with Seek's managing director Michael Ilczynski and Glen Cameron, the company's head of delivery about business hackathones. Here are some of his tips.

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jack Zhang, co-founder and CEO of cross-border payment platform Airwallex.

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So, you've been coerced into what seems like another no-win parenting scenario: It's LEGO time, and your aspiring Frank Lloyd Wright doesn't want your help in building an amphibious rainbow tank with 16 axles (plus wings). Even still, he's insisting on your participation because his genius must be witnessed (the brilliant ones are always so demanding).

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I spent 10 years "writing" a TV show about Silicon Valley. I spent hundreds of hours talking about it, collecting ideas in a giant Evernote file, brainstorming the soundtrack -- but not much time writing it. Because every time I thought I had a handle on it, I thought of a better version. Over the years, I adapted my unwritten pilot into an unwritten book, movie, web series and comic strip. I chased every idea at once, until the project loomed grand and unwieldy in my head. I was building up a mountain of idea debt.

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Some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives. Those journals served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and cathartic release for the people writing them. Even if you don't think you need either, keeping a journal has benefits you can enjoy immediately. Here's why you might want to sit down regularly to jot down your thoughts.