By Guest Contributor Anthony ‘Tas’ Tasgal
At a time when we suddenly have more time on our hands (as well as moisturiser) than we could have imagined, this ought to be a great time to do all those things we wanted to: to flex creative muscles, to probe into hitherto untapped domains and generally liberate ourselves from the so-called monotony of office-based work. To be Creative At Home (CAH).
We’re at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid
We are all spending more time than we could ever have expected scrambling around at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid (technically a triangle), which means shopping (queuing) for paper-based products, swimming in a sea of memes and nervously waiting government briefings and diving for pearls of meaning within the swarms of data.
But fear not, I come with ideas about how to remain mentally and creatively stimulated and not just resort to watching another re-run of United’s treble-winning season.
In my second book, “The Inspiratorium”, I explored the meaning of insight. Too often insight is promoted to just upgrade something that was an observation. True insight and original thought come from allowing our unconscious (System 1 in the language of Behavioural Economics) to incubate different ideas and make connections across varying domains.
“InCitations” is an anthology of -amongst many other things- seditious teapots, flat wives and self-loading freight intended to engender new discoveries and connections, whether in the commercial, educational or personal spheres.
So, in the spirt of all this thinking, here are a few ideas you can try to promote creativity and insight:
Seek out ESIs- External Serendipitous Influences: go explore some stories, leads, avenues and paths that you’ve always wanted to, and you’ll be surprised what you find. In “InCitations” I explored the myth of Hemingway’s “baby shoes for sale, never worn”, why a jumbo jet is complicated, but mayonnaise is complex, and the glorious maxim of graphic designer and Official WWII Poster Artist Abram Games, “maximum meaning minimum means”. Go explore some new byways.
Write something, anything, however little, however seemingly insignificant. In “The Storytelling Book”, I refer to EM Forster, who said, “how do I know what I think till I see what I say?”. If you’ve ever harboured a desire to write that novel, immortalise your insights in a business book or find somewhere to collect all those limericks you make up when you’re running (oh, just me then), now’s the time. It may only be as you write that your thoughts take shape, and this can be both immensely challenging and hugely rewarding. Just set aside a half hour a day, maybe at the same time (between breakfast and elevenses, -aka the toast-biscuit interim- works for me) and write. Then write again. As Hemingway (and others) said, all writing is re-writing.
Here’s one to test you. Use this time to identify, isolate and neutralise jargon. I am sure that someone as handsome/beautiful and smart as you doesn’t fall into the seductive trap of weaponising jargon, but you may happen to work with people who do. Falling prey to jargon is usually a baneful, joyless experience especially in the corporate world, where technical, scientific or grammatical jargon is designed to baffle and bewilder, in order to create and cement exclusive and protective priesthoods. So why not use this time away from the social norms of the office culture to list out jargon, then try to replace it with more human, expressive language: ostracise the jargonauts, now!
Cross the divide. CP Snow’s Two Cultures has never been more apparent. Try to build bridges and avoid the comfort and complacency of sitting in our own bubble of confirmation bias. I like examining how scientists like Peter Medawar, Dan Gilbert, Geoffrey Miller, Steven Pinker, Oren Harman and Marcus du Sautoy can reach out across the chasm of ignorance and apathy and make their fields and disciplines accessible, fun and desirable. The philosophy of consilience- fostering links between arts and science – is something that should start early in schools and develop from there. When better to start?
Finally, attend to the pleasures to be had from side effects, the oblique and the incidental. This is very much the goal of “InCitations”, so I hope it might help you alight on something unexpected, a moment of surprise, a small “aha” or “eureka”- which is the small, pleasurable hit from finding something new and true.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony ‘Tas’ Tasgal’ is a lecturer, speaker and strategist whose main occupation is advertising and marketing. He specialises in storytelling, behavioural economics and insights, and greatly enjoys etymology and comedy. He is the author of the award-winning books The Storytelling Book and The Inspiratorium.
Learn more about creativity and innovation
InCitations offers a series of memorable quotes, aphorisms and expressions (that is, citations) and by delving into their history and meaning(s) you will find ways of applying – or just pondering on – them that incite insight and add to a sense of smartness. The range of inspiring quotes, aphorisms and words provided aim to illuminate, trigger debate, conversation and reflection that will enliven and enrich your writing and thinking.
From the arts to sciences, advertising to psychology, this book encompasses it all. You will encounter writers, lyricists, firebrands, psychoanalysts and complexity theorists, The New Yorker cartoons, Spartan mothers and tractor boys, as well as learn the difference between jumbo jets and mayonnaise, and the significance of the number 45.
Welcome to The Inspiratorium – a place where ideas come to meet, grow, evolve and flourish. Crammed full of thinkers, thoughts and their distilled wisdom, this is a book that will develop and accelerate yours.
Flitting between the poles of science and art, quantum physics and epic poetry, philosophy and football, ancient history and artificial intelligence, this little book is a web of connections, of jumps and leaps that will take you to different places and areas that will intrigue and inspire. Open yourself to randomness, serendipity, spontaneity …take a leap into the unknown …welcome to The Inspiratorium!
The Innovator’s Book
Both enlightening and entertaining, Dr Max Mckeown delivers concise advice on how to move from original insights to new ideas, and from new ideas to valuable real-world innovation.You’ll learn how to increase creativity, understand the psychology of thinking differently, encourage collaboration, co-create with customers, overcome indifference, create an idea-hungry culture, rid yourself of creativity zombies and get to innovation paradise.
Drawing on over 30 years of the author’s research and experience, this honest, straight-to-the-point playbook can be dipped into or read cover to cover, giving you important reminders and guidance in how to make new ideas useful. Are you ready to change the world?
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