Blog logoMatthew Lang


A 7 post collection

Stoking the Creative Fire

 •  Filed under Links, Creativity

It's time to get out there.

"If you get out of your daily routine—which for most of us is being on social media, or your laptop and phone—and you get out with a pencil, pen, or whatever tool you prefer and just start looking around," says Kulik, "something you’re trying to solve in one part of your life might be solved by using your creative brain."

This One Simple Technique Will Stoke Your Creativity Every Day by Fast Company

Busy or Thinking?

 •  Filed under Productivity, Creativity

Paul Jarvis writes about the uncomfortable silence that is doing nothing but thinking.

The biggest fear that most of us have now is that our internet will fail or our tiny pocket devices will run out of power and strand us on a desolate island of not being connected to everyone else for upwards of 5–10 minutes at a time.

It's safer to be busy by Paul Jarvis

I for one welcome the chance to be stranded and let the world run on for a bit. Just for a bit mind you.

Ideas breed more ideas

 •  Filed under Posts, Creativity

I had an idea for an application, so I stuck it into Journalong for later. Two seconds after saving it, I had another idea for an application. Put that in too.

I find this happens quite a lot. Ideas seem to breed more ideas in a short period of time and usually the ideas have something in common. In this case the applications I thought about building were very similar but for different audiences.

Whether I will do anything with them is another matter. The next step will be to flesh them out a bit more with a mind map and see if there is potential in the idea and ask myself some questions.

  • Do I want to build this thing?
  • Will I benefit from building it?
  • Can I monetize this idea? (I ask myself this a lot these days)

If I can answer yes to all these questions, I'll start work on it or schedule it in for later if I'm currently busy. Always having a good side project to work on is a great way to keep on learning.

If I answer no to any of these the idea gets scrapped there and then.

This little workflow has worked well for me in the past. Weeding out the good ideas from the bad ideas means I spend less time on an idea that isn't going to benefit me in some way.

Be a game changer

 •  Filed under Posts, Creativity

It’s a sad fact of life, but there’s many workers out there simply dotting the i’s and the crossing the t’s when it comes to their jobs. They start at nine, do what’s required of them, and then make a bee-line for the door at the end of the day. I'll be the first to say that even I have been guilty if this behaviour. Yes, you are doing your job, but surely there’s more to your job than doing the minimum necessary?

It’s not always the worker’s fault though, many jobs out there just don’t ask or want people to be creative. They look for the basic skills needed for the job and nothing else. Many employers just want the job done and nothing more. Is that enough?

NHS meals idea

James Martin, a British chef and TV personality had a show that recently ran on TV, where he was trying to improve the kitchen and meals service of a number of NHS hospitals in England and Wales. In one show, he improved the costs of one kitchen by reducing the amount of waste food generated. Rather than just making enough meals so that everyone had a choice, James suggested that the kitchen staff take orders for each ward and make enough food to fulfil the orders.

From one day’s service, the kitchen had reduced it’s waste and also it’s costs. That cost projected over a year ran into a saving of tens of thousands of pounds. As anyone who knows about the current state of the NHS and it’s financial problems, ideas like this are exactly what’s needed to improve the NHS to allow to run effectively and also pay for itself.

When the kitchen and meals manager was shown the savings, she did nothing more than just smile. Why does it take a celebrity chef to come in and implement such a simple idea that saves thousands of pounds for the hospital? Where’s the innovation from inside the NHS? Do employee’s even have the time to be creative during their jobs?

Be innovative on company time

In a previous job, I wanted to compile a newsletter for customers notifying them of news and events in the world of ERP software. I pitched the idea to my boss at the time, who wanted the same thing done. I suggested putting together a first draft of the newsletter together and sending it to him before sending it to customers. I was asked by my boss if I could do the newsletter in my own time. So I have an idea, but I must do in my time?

I don’t know if my employer at the time was aware of this fact but I have my own things to do in my time. Working on ideas that benefit my employer in my time is not own. And here in lies another problem. Employers need to allow their employees to be innovative and creative on company time.

I’m not suggesting that every company should follow Google’s example of allowing their employees to be creative. What I am suggesting is that employers allow their stuff to set aside some time to develop ideas and be more creative.

Being a game changer at work means doing more than simply doing the absolute minimum necessary to get through the day. Being a game changer means thinking about the work you and continually reviewing your work to look for more effective of ways of doing things. Not only does that require that as a worker you be more productive, but as an employer you need to allow your employees to be creative and develop idea during company time.

So what are you waiting for, how can you change your game today?