Brenda Ueland published the book If You Want to Write in 1938 and in it she wrote, “…the imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp staccato ideas, such as: ‘I see where I can make an annual cut of $3.47 in my meat budget.’ But they have no slow, big ideas.”
I frequently find myself “briskly doing something.” Scrolling through my 15 Tweetdeck columns, cranking out a blog post before others get into the office and my meetings begin, checking email while I’m waiting for my sandwich at lunch, or squeezing in one last conference call on my drive home – this is the substance of many days. I do PR after all.
And we live in a world that places value on busyness. It’s a powerful validator for eager entry-level employees and top CEOs alike. This isn’t going away. When I meet teenagers who send thousands of text messages per month, I see the future of multitasking taking hold. A part of me embraces this because I operate at my most effective when I am busy. So I must be important, right?
That does not have to come at the cost of creativity, which is requisite for any kind of innovation, including even the smallest operational changes that can have enormous impacts. We need to create the space (physical or mental) from which the ideas that roil along the edges can sprout. I’ve never had a great idea while staring at my email.
Following is a short list of some approaches to fostering creativity that have inspired me, including a few others that are working for us here at InkHouse:
Ueland’s “slow, big ideas” are the substance of our clients’ innovations that inspire us to do what we do. We’re always looking for creative ideas to improve our work at InkHouse, so please add your thoughts to the conversation.
Beth is the CEO of Inkhouse, which she co-founded in 2007 and has grown into one of the top ranked agencies in the country. Beth’s been recognized as one of the Top Women in PR by PR News, the Top 25 Innovators by The Holmes Report and as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth believes that shared values, and the freedom to create are the foundations of all meaningful work. She brings this philosophy to building a culture of creative progress at Inkhouse.