CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield performed a simple science experiment designed by grade 10 Lockview High School students Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner. The students from Fall River, Nova Scotia won a national science contest held by the Canadian Space Agency with their experiment on surface tension in space using a wet washcloth. Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA
Pocket, formerly Read It Later, is an application for managing articles found online on multiple devises. I have found this app to be incredibly compatible with my own lifestyle.
I tend to start my morning by scanning twitter, email, etc., opening articles with no time to read them. Before Pocket, I would have an absurd amount of tabs open in my browser, slowly closing them as I made my way through each article. Now, with the Pocket plug-in for Chrome, I simply add each page to “my pocket” and read them throughout the day when I have a spare minute, either on my iPhone or iPad. Articles sync on all devices within seconds, and after you read, you can archive, favorite, or share each page. Plus, Pocket is integrated into over 339 applications you may already use, allowing for easy saves on mobile devices as well.
Overall, using Pocket is a seamless process, offering the kind of experience you wish was true for all multi-devise apps. Unlike competing apps such as Instapaper, Pocket is free for desktop and devices.
A highly controversial (in my opinion) article that makes huge assumptions of “creative” types, but may provide a good laugh after the anger settles.
Originally from the Harvard Business Review Blog
by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Moody, erratic, eccentric, and arrogant? Perhaps — but you can’t just get rid of them. In fact, unless you learn to get the best out of your creative employees, you will sooner or later end up filing for bankruptcy. Conversely, if you just hire and promote people who are friendly and easy to manage, your firm will be mediocre at best. Suppressed creativity is a malign organizational tumour. Although every organization claims to care about innovation, very few are willing to do what it takes to keep their creative people happy, or at least, productive. So what are the keys to engaging and retaining creative employees?
1. Spoil them and let them fail: Like parents who celebrate their children’s mess: show your creatives unconditional support and encourage them to do the absurd and fail. Innovation comes from uncertainty, risk, and experimentation — if you know it will work, it isn’t creative. Creative people are the natural experimenters, so let them try and test and play. Of course, there are costs associated with experimentation — but these are lower than the cost of NOT innovating.
2. Surround them by semi-boring people: The worst thing you can do to a creative employee is to force them to work with someone like them — they would compete for ideas, brainstorm eternally, or simply ignore each other. That said, you cannot surround creatives with really boring or conventional people — they would not understand them, and fall out. In line with this, recent research indicates that teams made up of diverse members who are open to taking each others’ perspective perform most creatively.
The solution, then, is to support your creatives with colleagues who are too conventional to challenge their ideas, but unconventional enough to collaborate with them. These colleagues will need to pay attention to details, mundane executional processes, and do the dirty work: Messi needs Busquets and Puyol; Ronaldo needs Alonso and Ramos.
3. Only involve them in meaningful work: Natural innovators tend to have more vision, research I’ve done indicates. They see the bigger picture and are able to understand why things matter (even if they cannot explain it). The downside to this is that they simply won’t engage in meaningless work. This all-or-nothing approach to work mirrors the bipolar temperament of creative artists, who perform well only when inspired — and inspiration is fueled by meaning. This rule can also be applied to other employees: everyone is more creative when driven by their genuine interests and a hungry mind.
As novelist John Irving said, “the reason I can work so hard at my writing is that it’s not work for me”. At the same time, in any organization there will be employees who are less interested in, well, doing interesting work; they are satisfied with simply clocking in and out, and are incentivized by external rewards. Companies should ensure that trivial or meaningless work is assigned to these employees.
4. Don’t pressure them: Creativity is usually enhanced by giving people more freedom and flexibility at work. If you like structure, order and predictability, you are probably not creative. However, we are all more likely to perform more creatively in spontaneous, unpredictable circumstances — because we cannot rely on our habits. Don’t constrain your creative employees; don’t force them to follow processes or structures. Let them work remotely and outside normal hours; don’t ask where they are, what they are doing or how they do it. This is the secret to managing Don Draper, and why he never went to work for a bigger competitor. This is also why so many top athletes fail to make the transition from a small to a big team, and why business founders are usually unhappy to remain in charge of their ventures once they are acquired by a bigger company.
5. Don’t overpay them: There is a longstanding debate about the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Over the past two decades, psychologists have provided compelling evidence for the so-called “over-justification” effect, namely the process whereby higher external rewards impair performance by depressing a person’s genuine or intrinsic interest. Most notably, two large-scalemeta-analyses reported that, when tasks are inherently meaningful (and creative tasks are certainly in this condition), external rewards diminish engagement. This is true in both adults and children, especially when people are rewarded merely for performing a task. However, providing positive feedback (praises) does not harm intrinsic motivation, so long as the feedback is perceived as genuine.
The moral of the story? The more you pay people to do what they love, the less they will love it. In the words of Czikszentmihalyi, “the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.” More importantly, people with a talent for innovation are not driven by money. Data from our research archive, which includes over 50,000 managers from 20 different countries, indicates quite clearly that the more imaginative and inquisitive people are, the more they are driven by recognition and sheer scientific curiosity rather than commercial needs.
6. Surprise them: Few things are as aggravating to creatives as boredom. Indeed, creative people are prewired to seek constant change, even when it’s counterproductive. They take a different route to work every day, even if it gets them lost, and never repeat an order at a restaurant, even if they really liked it. Creativity is linked to higher tolerance of ambiguity. Creatives love complexity and enjoy making simple things complex rather than vice-versa. Instead of looking for the answer to a problem, they prefer to find a million answers or a million problems. It is therefore essential that you keep surprising your creative employees; failing that, you should at least let them create enough chaos to make their own lives less predictable.
7. Make them feel important: As T.S. Eliot noted, “most of the trouble in this world is caused by people wanting to be important”. And the reason is that others fail to recognize them. Fairness is not treating everyone the same, but like they deserve. Every organization has high and low potential employees, but only competent managers can identify them. If you fail to recognize your employees’ creative potential, they will go somewhere where they feel more valued.
A final caveat: even when you are able to manage your creative employees, it does not mean that you should let them manage others. In fact, natural innovators are rarely gifted with leadership skills. There is a profile for good leaders, and a profile for creative people — and they are rather different. Steve Jobs had better relationships with gadgets than people, and most Google engineers are utterly disinterested in management. One of the reasons for the rapid plateau of start-ups is that their founders tend to remain in charge. They should learn from Mark Zuckerberg who brought in Sheryl Sandberg to make up for his own leadership deficits. Research confirms the stereotypical view that corporate innovators — intrapreneurs — exhibit many of the psychopathic characteristics that prevent them from being effective leaders: they are rebellious, anti-social, self-centered and often too low in empathy to care about the welfare of others. But manage them well, and their inventions will delight us all.
“E-inkey” concept keyboard by Maxim Mezentsev & Aleksander Suhih. The keyboard (hypothetically) uses E-inky technology to create a keyboard whose keys are customizable and responsive to the programs you are using.
GREAT design, the management expert Gary Hamel once said, is like Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of pornography — you know it when you see it. You want it, too: brain scan studies reveal that the sight of an attractive product can triggerthe part of the motor cerebellum that governs hand movement. Instinctively, we reach out for attractive things; beauty literally moves us.
Yet, while we are drawn to good design, as Mr. Hamel points out, we’re not quite sure why.
This is starting to change. A revolution in the science of design is already under way, and most people, including designers, aren’t even aware of it.
Take color. Last year, German researchers found that just glancing at shades of green can boost creativity and motivation. It’s not hard to guess why: we associate verdant colors with food-bearing vegetation — hues that promise nourishment.
This could partly explain why window views of landscapes, research shows, can speed patient recovery in hospitals, aid learning in classrooms and spur productivity in the workplace. In studies of call centers, for example, workers who could see the outdoorscompleted tasks 6 to 7 percent more efficiently than those who couldn’t, generating an annual savings of nearly $3,000 per employee.
In some cases the same effect can happen with a photographic or even painted mural, whether or not it looks like an actual view of the outdoors. Corporations invest heavily to understand what incentivizes employees, and it turns out that a little color and a mural could do the trick.
Simple geometry is leading to similar revelations. For more than 2,000 years, philosophers, mathematicians and artists have marveled at the unique properties of the “golden rectangle”: subtract a square from a golden rectangle, and what remains is another golden rectangle, and so on and so on — an infinite spiral. These so-called magical proportions (about 5 by 8) are common in the shapes of books, television sets and credit cards, and they provide the underlying structure for some of the most beloved designs in history: the facades of the Parthenon and Notre Dame, the face of the “Mona Lisa,” the Stradivarius violin and the original iPod.
A reinterpretation of Charles Joseph Minard’s Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l’Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813, a flow map published in 1869 on the subject of Napoleon’s disastrous Russian campaign of 1812. Sarah Pease, 2013.
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) have announced the formation of the Congressional STEAM (STEM+Arts and Design) Caucus. The group will host briefings and advocate for policy changes that will encourage educators to integrate arts, broadly defined, with traditional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum. The goal is to encourage the creativity needed to drive our innovation economy forward. A kickoff briefing sponsored by the Rhode Island School of Design was held today on Capitol Hill.
“There were digital music devices before the iPod, but it took creative design and interface development from Apple to transform the way the world listens to music,” Bonamici said. “We frequently discuss the importance of STEM education, but we can’t ignore the importance of engaging and educating both halves of the brain. Creative, critical thinking leads to innovation. The integration of the arts into STEM curriculum will excite creativity in the minds of our future leaders and innovators.”
“When we talk about training the next generation of workers – creative minds and creative thinking are some of the most important qualities that employers look for when making hiring decisions,” said Schock. “Studies have shown that arts education increases test scores and lowers dropout rates – arts education helps to close the achievement gap, improves academic skills essential for reading and language development, and advances students’ motivation to learn.”
“I believe art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century,” said RISD President John Maeda. “Adding art and design to STEM to create STEAM will keep America competitive. As a lifelong STEM student – I spent many years at MIT before coming to RISD – I’ve seen firsthand the progress that STEM education can produce. But I’ve also witnessed STEM’s limits. Innovation depends on the problem solving, risk-taking and creativity that is natural to the way artists and designers think. Art and science – once inextricably linked – are better together than apart. We are so pleased that Congresswoman Bonamici and Congressman Schock are leading the formation of this caucus in recognizing the critical importance of art and design to the greater economy.”
According to a study led by Robert Root Bernstein of Michigan State University, Nobel laureates in the sciences are much more likely to engage in arts and crafts than other scientists and the general public. These creative scientists have an “ability… to explore a wide range of apparently unrelated activities and to connect the knowledge and skills gained thereby into integrated networks that can be brought effectively to bear in raising and solving important scientific problems.” STEAM education will foster creativity, innovation, and thinking outside the box - all of which will help our students on the path to global competitiveness.
Caucus members will work to increase awareness of the importance of STEAM education and explore new strategies to advocate for STEAM programs. Current members of the caucus include Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).