if the police take me away, call mom and let her know

I parked our car by the side of the road and got out. “Wait here and if the police take me away, call mom and let her know,” I told my daughter. She giggled and I walked down the road with my staple gun. A minute later I came back to the car. “Let’s drive around the corner and look at it,” I said. We drove around the corner and there it was - day 12 of CreativeSprint - my cardboard tree limb stapled to a telephone pole in a defiant act of public art - just Another Limited Rebellion. 

Starting April 1st, 2015, I signed up for the CreativeSprint hosted by Another Limited Rebellion. Noah Scalin described the CreativeSprint as a month long program designed to “get your creative muscles into shape.” Each day in April we created a small creative response to an assignment handed out by Mica Scalin every morning at 8:00 via email.

Now that it’s over, I look back on photos of a body of work that was nonexistent a month ago. Some of the originals are gone, washed away, melted, eaten, faded or collapsed. The important parts still live on because the experience of completing one daily act of creative problem solving  left me with so much more than photos.

During these 30 days of ALR’s CreativeSprint, my kids experienced this creative therapy along with me. It’s important for kids to see their parents act like kids too. Playful acts should not die with maturity. As we get older we must fight negative forces that try to convince us things aren’t possible. Practices like the CreativeSprint unlock the natural creativity spirit which has been beaten down through years of public education, a process that pounds us all into standardized zombie workers.

But the CreativeSprint did more than make me think like a kid again. The experience also enhanced my professional life, not only by reminding me that these creative jumpstarts are invaluable, but only reminding me that collaboration is the secret sauce for the creative process.

Creativity is simply problem solving and everyone can solve a problem. This means we’re all naturally creative. Because we’re all naturally creative, we also possess a high degree of collaborative spirit. I've learned that I can’t do it by myself, and the solutions we create together are more effective in filling the gap of unmet needs for customers.

Today that cardboard tree limb is still on the telephone pole outside my neighborhood. We check on it each time we drive out. Now it’s changed. Beaten by wind and rain, it hangs like wet noodles looking more like a soggy octopus than a tree limb.

So with 30 solutions in 30 days I learned that it’s the small stuff that counts. Woody Allen once said, “80% of life is just showing up.” He’s right. Once you show up you're more than halfway there. Problem solving starts with one small step. Sometimes you don’t need to know where you’re going. Just take that step and something good will happen.


Archie Miller (AKA @archiemiller)

Team Manager, Interaction Design CarMax