Heart of the Art

To the Heart of Living Systems



Martial Arts Strategy & The Five Elements

The five element theory is a way of taking a lot of information and organizing it in a way that makes it easy to understand. Used properly it becomes a way to understand complicated relationships and see solutions to problems. Martial arts strategy is a very complex dynamic and readily lends itself to being analyzed in a five element system.

Walking improves creativity

For centuries, great thinkers have instinctively stepped out the door and begun walking, or at the very least pacing, when they needed to boost creativity.

Creativity & Emergence

The most effective and meaningful changes I’ve observed have come from both embracing creative practices and also establishing new foundations: generative principles of engagement, expanded mind sets, new frameworks, and entering into a “co-creative partnering” type of relationship with each other, and with the unknown. For example, weaving improv-based principles as the rules of engagement in meetings can transform both the energy and outcomes

Ed Catmull: Creativity Inc

The story of Pixar on the surface but really the learning journey of how a geek learned to lead one of the world’s most successfully creative businesses.

Your perception is your reality

We all get caught up in our stories. Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to suck.

Real Learning is a Creative Process

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom in not putting it in a fruit salad.’ We seem to be seeking short cuts, ‘get rich quick’ solutions. We want stuff to happen now, to happen fast. In so doing we lose the essence of wisdom, of skill at a high level. This takes time to acquire, to practise, to refine. It takes time to understand when things work and what makes them fail in other situations. It takes time to suspend judgement, to not view things in terms of absolutes, good or bad, right or wrong. Sometimes we forget what it is to learn. Every so often it is good to be reminded.

The Health Benefits of Creativity

The moral of this story is that the process of making art — whether that be writing, painting, singing, dancing, or anything in between — is good for you.Build something. Share something. Craft something. Make more art. Your health and happiness will improve and we’ll all be better off for it.

At the Fishhouses

For me the parting words from Elizabeth Bishop in her 1955 poem At the Fishhouses, are a wonderfully allegorisation of the sea as a medium of knowing. A metaphor for knowledge and the intransigence of change.

Great Places Have Soul

Great places have soul. They aren’t simply about great architecture, great infrastructure or great locations. There is a life to great places, a vibrancy built on the relationship between the people who live, work and grow there and the place itself.

Your innovation team shouldn’t run like a well oiled machine

The principle of emergence in living systems says that global patterns of behaviour arise from simple underlying rules. You can watch this on your desktop if you do a quick google search for Craig Reynold’s ‘Boids’. Here you can download a simple program that accurately mimics the behaviour of flocking birds. It looks very real. In this HBR piece, the authors take the analogy of the ant colony to study how innovation occurs in large organisations. Their suggest is that by organising more like an ant colony and less like a machine you can set the pre-conditions for innovation to occur.

Disruptive Innovation

Introduced by John Atkinson. Disruptive innovation has halved the average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO. It is a buzz phrase; everyone now says they want it. But do they? What is it? What does it mean? Is it that… Continue Reading →

The Dark Side of Creativity

We often think of creativity as a wonderful thing; bright uplifting tunes, inspiring paintings, life-changing products. But creativity has its dark side too. This accords with a systems view that withholds judgement. Things may be neither good nor bad, they simply are. When viewed in a wider frame actions take on different meanings. This article looks at the darker side of creativity as being an important element in the mix that we cannot do without.

What is Flow?

The concept of ‘flow’ was developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . But the experience of ‘flow’ is nothing new. It’s existed since man first breathed. And we’ve all experienced it- that perfect moment of lostness and simple, pure existence. When the rest of the world ceases to exist. When our bodies and minds meld together. Just ‘being’.

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