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Hacking the Creative Brain - Web Directions 2015


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As tech professionals, what we need is a way to work better so that we can create more, right? Through exploring various concepts and approaches, including the neuroscience of creativity, productivity techniques, and emerging practices that spur innovation, we'll discover not only the ways in which our brains work best, but also what’s behind the times when we feel on fire with creativity and when we don't. We’ll translate this information into processes and techniques for dramatically enhanced creative productivity. Beware: this session challenges the standard norms around concentration, focus, productivity, and may change how you work…for the better.

Published in: Self Improvement, Career
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Hacking the Creative Brain - Web Directions 2015

  1. /* Denise Jacobs Web Directions | Sydney, Australia 30 October 2015 */ >> Work Better, Create More
  2. Who: @denisejacobs Where: @webdirections #wd15 What: #hackcreativity
  3. Want the Slides?
  4. SXSW 2006! h ps://
  5. After writing this…
  6. I had an epiphany
  7. Creativity: powerful and empowering
  8. Photo by Derek Kearney Shifted my focus to what I love
  9. Why I do what I do
  10. Intro The State of the Union
  11. What’s our most important tool for creating?
  12. This one!
  13. Managers
  14. Bureaucracy
  15. Clients
  16. Time pressures
  17. Mentally overwhelmed
  18. Oppressed
  19. “Houston, we have a problem…”
  20. When we are in the creative flow
  21. We are alchemists
  22. “Creativity is newness produced.” Sir Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds
  23. It feels like
  24. “Creativity is magical, but it is not magic.” Dr. Charles Limb, Your Brain on Improvisation TED talk
  25. “Creativity is all about making connections and seeing patterns.” Bruce Nussbaum,Creativity Intelligence
  26. Our Goals 1 Emancipate 2 Adjust 3 Practice Discipline 4 Generate & Execute
  27. 1 Emancipate
  28. Mass hypnosis
  29. Habits and thinking to quit
  30. Distractions
  31. Multitasking is multi-taxing
  32. Zeigarnik Effect
  33. Communication addiction
  34. | | Intermittent reinforcement
  35. Internalized the critical voices
  36. Become monsters in your head
  37. Instead of Creativity Source: Flickr
  38. Destructivity
  39. All due to Your Inner Critic
  40. ( p.s. *Everyone* has these thoughts)Photo: Denise Jacobs
  41. “If your demons are such that they fill the room the instant you contemplate creating, your studio will be too dangerous a place to enter.” Eric Maisel, author of Fearless Creating
  42. How to ID your Inner Critic
  43. “I should have done more by now…”
  44. “They’ll find out I’m a fraud”
  45. vs. “NAILED IT!”
  46. “It needs to be FLAWLESS”
  47. “I’ll do it tomorrow…”
  48. Fears!
  49. Fear of failure
  50. F.E.A.R. =
  51. Or…
  52. “Fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” - character of Cypher Raige, After Earth
  53. Hack >> Become a Fear Alchemist
  54. “The goal is to manage anxiety so that our energies are used for the productive and satisfying (act) of creating, rather than the destructive and debilitating art of self-torture.” Clare Warmke, Idea Revolution
  55. Banish Your Inner Critic!
  56. “The parts of your brain that are responsible for self-monitoring are literally turned off during creative endeavors….Creative people have mastered the art of turning off [the inhibitive] part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination.” Tina Seelig, InGenius
  57. Hack >> Say NO to Comparisons
  58. “You cannot compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”
  59. (Btw, this your new mantra…)
  60. Hack >> Know the Impostor Syndrome Paradox
  61. You will only experience impostor syndrome when you are competent and skilled. (re-read this as many times as necessary.)
  62. Breaking the loop
  63. Hack >> Reassign duty
  64. Hack >> Amp up empathy
  65. Hack >> Maintain perspective
  66. Hack >> Reframe #FAIL & mistakez
  67. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Henry Ford
  68. Change your body language, change your mind
  69. “Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes.” Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are TED talk
  70. Hack >> Cop a Power Pose
  71. Stand up. Assume a pose that embodies a sense of defeat, can’t do it, it will never work, “I suck/I’m no good/an impostor”, etc. Make yourself as small and powerless feeling as possible. Then, strike a power pose. Imagine yourself as a superhero looking off into the distance seeing your destiny of major creative butt-kicking. Alternate several times. Hold the power pose for as long as you can so that you can feel the change. #Exercise: Power Pose
  72. 2 Adjust
  73. Adjust: Train Your Brain
  74. Left v. Right brain?
  75. Right hemisphere h p://
  76. Left hemisphere h p:// enki enoriginals/4451172538/
  77. Instead: Left + Right brain = Creativity
  78. What are our brains constantly producing?
  79. Know your Brainwaves
  80. 13-30 cps/Hz Waking alert conscious thinking, external sensory focus, concentration. Computing, arranging, organizing, make sense of external world. Prolongation of beta can lead to exhaustion, anxiety and tension. Beta
  81. 8-12 cps/Hz Alert and lucid but relaxed thought, daydreaming, light meditation, internal focus, receptive state, visualization, creativity, accelerated or super- learning, increased serotonin levels. Alpha
  82. 4-7.5 cps/Hz High states of creativity, subconscious creativity, deep relaxation/ meditation, intuition, long-term memory, vivid visual imagery, creative inspiration, free idea flow, REM dream and deep sleep. Theta
  83. 0.1-4 cps/Hz Intuition and insight, transcendental meditation, physical rejuvenation and healing, expansive awareness. Most often found in deep dreamless sleep and unconscious states. Delta
  84. 31-120 cps/Hz Hyper brain activity and alertness, aha moment, super clarity, above average integration of sensory information, euphoria, sometimes anxiety. Gamma
  85. Alpha: the gateway to creativity
  86. Close your eyes and relax. Breathe through your nose. Now place your tongue at the roof of your mouth, turn your eyes towards the ceiling underneath your eyelids. Take several deep, long breaths. As you relax, you are changing your brainwaves from Beta to Alpha. #Exercise: Enter Alpha
  87. Explains everything
  88. Hack >> Breathe to refocus
  89. Hack >> Be prone
  90. Hack >> Showers
  91. Hack >> Space out/Daydream h p://
  92. Hack >> Get physical
  93. Makes a HUGE difference
  94. “When your brain is supposedly doing nothing, it’s really doing a tremendous amount.” Marcus Raichle, Neurologist
  95. Intend Alpha
  96. 3 Practice Discipline
  97. Exercise Discipline
  98. Focus on meaningful tasks
  99. Show up everyday
  100. And really commit to it
  101. Hack >> Delegate
  102. Freed me up
  103. Delegation works
  104. Clean-up habit fields
  105. Habit what?
  106. Clean up your work habit field by following the suggestions in the article “Habit Fields” by Jack Cheng. Create your equivalent of a “distraction chair” and move to it when you feel like you are inclined to surf the web, email, Tweet, Facebook, or engage in any other computer-related distraction. When you are ready to work again, come back to your desk. Rinse and repeat until your work habit field is clear again and no longer fuzzy. Hack >> Habit field reboot
  107. Manage time
  108. Single-task
  109. Say NO to Distractions
  112. Added bonus
  113. Tools Browser Extensions Google Chrome: Strict Workflow StayFocusd Firefox: LeechBlock Idderall Aids for digital blocking
  114. Hack >> Pomodoro Technique
  115. Hack >> Airplane/Do Not Disturb mode
  116. 4 Generate & Execute
  117. Generate: Start the flow of ideas
  118. Start with what’s there
  119. Everything is a Remix “Mona Lisa” by Paul Giovanopoulos,
  120. Hack>>Get your Remix on!
  121. Hack >> Create constaints
  122. Generate ideas
  123. Capture ideas
  124. Embrace disruption Photo: Denise Jacobs
  125. Write them down
  126. Sketch them out
  127. Talk them out (& record it)
  128. Gather and curate your ideas
  129. Evernote Diigo Tumblr Tools to do so
  130. “Creativity is more than a great idea, it’s the determination to see the idea through to fruition.” Clare Warmke, Idea Revolution
  131. Prototype
  132. Iterate
  133. •  Observe •  Suggest •  Tinker •  Review •  Apply feedback •  Reiterate The production-iteration process
  134. The stage is set for Flow
  135. How do you get there?
  136. •  Concept in mind: know what you want to achieve and what it looks like •  Practice in place •  Cleared space •  Time carved out and distractions eliminated •  Necessary materials on hand All of the previous steps lead you here:
  137. The Flow “Afterglow”
  138. Epilogue Liberation
  139. Previously
  140. Moving forward
  141. (Re)Gain Creative Confidence
  142. “…the confidence that, when given a difficult problem, we have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before.” David Kelley of Ideo
  143. What you produce is unique
  144. Hack your habits >> Different Results
  145. Practicing different habits >> Transform your life
  146. “Creativity makes day to day experiences more vivid, more enjoyable, more rewarding. When we live creatively, boredom is banished and every moment holds the promise of a fresh discovery.” Mihali Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity
  147. Let out all of your great ideas
  148. Get your creativity hack on!
  149. The End…? (or is just the beginning?)
  150. My upcoming book! Banish Your Inner Critic 26 Effective Techniques for Unleashing Productive Creativity
  151. THE CREATIVE DOSE A Creativity + Innovation Collective Work Better. Create More. Create Betterness. Creative Thinking & Problem-solving Creative Collaboration & Innovation Mindset Team Communication & Cohesion Speaking Skills & Executive Coaching @thecreativedose
  152. à Sign up on my mailing list here! Connect, Chat, and Collaborate! Photo used with permission:
  153. GET the Slides!
  154. Thank you!