April2015

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

Creative Sprint let the best version of myself take control

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Why did you decide to do Creative Sprint?

I think it’s important to be vulnerable in order to grow as a person, and especially as an artist. Letting folks in on my rapid prototypes is really good for iteration and evolving ideas to the next level. Feedback is awesome, and to receive it, you have to make stuff for people to react to. Creative Sprint is in the spirit of creating output and sharing at all phases, not just at the point where you might call something your masterpiece. And that’s really freeing.

What was your greatest achievement during Creative Sprint?

To me, Creative Sprint has been about mustering the courage to be the art, accepting unconditionally the expression made as a living filter of reality.

I was at a dinner party on a Gramercy rooftop mid­-sprint, and I watched myself, as if from above, setting up photo shoots for my newly-crafted gold eyeglass frames (part of that days task), over conversation and drinks. This was not normal behavior around people in politics and academia, yet it felt like the most natural way to behave because I was on a mission. Nobody else found it odd either—they saw my creating as naturally as I had. It was a big learning moment to be able to be my creative self very transparently and unapologetically and to experience no repercussions.

These 30 days have been a kind of realignment I’ve only otherwise gotten from yoga, meditation, or days spent in the woods/ on the road. I could see over the weeks that Creative Sprint actually let the best version of myself take control. I’ve improved in every other aspect of my work. Ideas that came to me during meetings were more relevant to the context, I collaborated more efficiently, communicated more clearly.

What is your biggest learning from the month?

With ever increasing collaborative challenges each day of the Creative Sprint, my output became more effective at creating moments to interact, play, laugh, and think differently together.

This was important for me to learn through doing, as it echoed my Design for Social Innovation grad work at the School of Visual Arts, where I’ve had to learn a lesson about not losing sight of the fact that my work is better when it is not the end, but the means to the end: a way to form connection, empathy, and understanding between people.

How will you apply that learning going forward?

Collaboration is the answer. Creative Sprint provided unique constraints each day, which incrementally edged more towards co-­creation and learning together.

We artists sometimes get the urge to stay in our heads. But ideas only get better when we can get them out in the world in a sharable format, a draft to be iterated upon. When we take ideas outside of us and put them out there, we can share them, and get feedback. And the more kinds of audiences we try that with the better the next version can be. 

Margarita Korol AKA urbanpopartist

Design for Social Innovation MFA, School of Visual Arts, NYC

Production Manager at Adapt Lab Productions

After the first few days I noticed something.

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When I got pregnant I grieved for what I was certain was the end of my creative time.

We all know that kids, especially babies are time suckers, so when I read about April's Creative Sprint I defaulted to "I'm a new mum. I don't have time for this". But the idea kept eating at me and I thought, let me just see if I can squeeze some of this into my diaper changing-spit up-rocking back to sleep-baby consumed day. What I discovered shocked me. The artist in me was not gone in fact, it was coming back with a vengeance. First, I found the time, small slivers of my day for both planning/free-associating time (while rocking the baby to sleep or breast feeding) and actual time (like right after i put him down to sleep). I did my first creative sprint at 3:30 am after feeding the baby.

 After the first few days, I noticed something. Ideas where coming to me. Ideas that had nothing to do with Creative Sprint. Ideas for plays, scenes, poetry, sketches, even jokes. Yep, jokes. And (this surprised me more) I was coming up with solutions for things. Small functional things, like better ways to clean and dry the bottle nipples, and things that may simulate and calm the baby. He's not much of a sleeper and prior to Creative Sprint i was exhausted and stuck about what to do. I can easily say that doing creative sprint actually takes away sleep time so i know my ideas weren't coming from being more rested. Its like a it triggered a part of my brain that saw possibilities... both creative and functional. 

I loved posting on social media, for both the accountability, the boost, the inspiration and the challenge. Seeing the work of the other sprinters made me up my ante. It also make me procrastinate less. Half way into the month I noticed my inner perfectionist came out to play but seeing other sprinters throwing whatever they could that day for that challenge up on the internet, inspired me to do the same. 

I loved doing creative sprint. I can honestly say as a new mother and an artist, I needed this desperately. 

Emma Gordon

Founder, Science Baby

 

 

 

the sense of accomplishment every single day

Why did you decide to do #CreativeSprint? 

About one year ago, I met Noah and Mica and was immediately attracted to their spirit; their energy; their openness to creative interpretation.  When I first received the email to sign up for this challenge, I didn't have to think about it, I knew it was something I wanted and was able to do.  It was an easy and exciting decision.  

What was your greatest achievement during #CreativeSprint?

Feeling the sense of accomplishment every single day.  It is entirely different from the way I feel successful at work.  This challenge was entirely self-fulfilling.  I wasn't doing it to get paid or recognized, I was doing it to learn something about myself, to test my limits, and to remind myself how important it is for me to have a creative outlet - too often I get lost and forget.

What is your biggest learning from the month?   

My biggest learning was that every single person has a different interpretation. One of my favorite parts about this challenge occurred at the end of every single day when I looked at other people's projects.  It really is amazing how each individual has their own, unique ability to create something.  

How will you apply that learning going forward?

Some days I loved my output, other days not so much.  And that is OK.  I learned to not be hard on myself, or get stressed or frustrated.  Instead, I became proud that I committed to something and stuck to it. I think the static learning that I need to apply to my every day - love, friendship, my career, and my hobbies - is this: good or bad the result, be proud that I tried. 

 

Bari N. Greenstein (AKA @Bgreens13 )
Global New Business Account Executive, Havas Health