What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘creative’? Think about it! We usually think of painting, music and design. Whereas ‘science’ and ‘technology’ fall on the opposite end of the spectrum, that of analytical and formulaic thinking. We see ourselves as either one or the other: you’re either a creative type, or you’re not. Authors Tom and David Kelly argue in their book Creative Confidence that not only is creativity a skill that we can all foster, but also it can make a profound difference regardless of your field.
The two authors are brothers who share a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. David’s design firm, IDEO, has helped companies make breakthrough innovations ranging from Apple’s first computer mouse to next generation surgical tools for Medtronic. They’ve continually done this for decades: taking creative ‘design-thinking’ approaches to a wide variety of fields and pushing the industry forward. With all this experience in mind, you end up with a book that guides you through the creative process while being full of inspiring stories and case studies.
It’s easy to see how creativity can play a role in something like marketing or in coming up with ideas for new products, but it gets really interesting when we look at jobs we don’t normally associate with creativity. Let’s talk about medical systems.
Doug Dietz is the head of design and development at General Electric. He designs magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) systems to peer painlessly into the bodies of patients. He had just wrapped up a project he was working on for over two years. His design had won international awards for technical excellence, and he was quite proud of his work. He wanted to go see patients using his machine, as a way to see the impact he’s made. Instead, he saw that most children were so terrified of the machine that they had to be sedated to use it!
This was a big shock because, to him, the MRI machine was functioning perfectly and efficiently. It was very well designed, but it had failed in his eyes because it was putting patients through such a terrible experience. He went back and started prototyping ideas for making this a better experience. Technical solutions such as making it less noisy or changing the shape and structure weren’t feasible. Instead, he reframed the machine as a space ship, with the noise being “the sound of the ship taking off”, adding colors and decals and everything. The amount of patients that needed to be sedated dropped significantly, not only giving them a better experience but saving everyone a lot of money.
This is just one example of the kind of “human-centered design thinking” that Tom and David talk about in their book. They talk about other tools and techniques, such as the cross-pollination of ideas. Creativity is all about making connections, often between seemingly unrelated things. You might not think that Formula One racing has much to do with pediatric intensive care, but the head of that unit at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital saw an opportunity for improvement. Watching a race on television, he was amazed by how quickly and efficiently the team was able to service the car in a matter of seconds. This was very different from how clunky and error-prone the process of handing off patients from surgery to the intensive care unit was.
He ended up getting a Ferrari pit crew coach to teach the nurses and staff how to better coordinate and collaborate. They started doing things like mapping out tasks and timing for every role to minimize the need for conversation in such time critical situations. These changes ended up reducing technical errors by more than 40%!
Being exposed to new ideas as often as possible can have a huge impact on your own creative process, especially ideas from other fields. If you’ve made it a habit to continually peruse journals and trends in your field, try taking a glance something completely unrelated, you might be surprised by the kinds of connections you make!
Another powerful technique they mention is talking to and understanding the customer’s point of view to improve products or come up with new ones. This might sound incredibly obvious but you’d be surprised how hard it is to get this right. Rarely does asking the customer actually tell you what they want. They often have latent needs that they can’t fully describe or might not be entirely aware of. Investing time in watching how customers use and interact with daily products can uncover a world of insight.
Imagine you were thinking of a way to improve the design of ice cream scoops. You might be sure that you know how people use ice cream scoops, based off how you use them, and go about analyzing and improving this experience. David and Tom, however, went out and spent time with people in the kitchen to see what they might have missed. They noticed that many people, after using the scoop, would absent-mindedly lick the cream off the scoop before putting it in the sink. They realized that a great scoop would not only be nice to handle, but has to be “mouth-friendly” as well. This realization could never have been stumbled upon just by talking to the customer. It’s these subtle needs that can make for a great product.
Bret Victor is an engineer with big ideas. While not mentioned in the book, he holds a similar philosophy with regards to design and innovation. Bret often talks about coming up with solutions to problems that ‘don’t yet exist’. These are problems that customers aren’t aware of, because we don’t think of them as problems, but instead as just the way the world works. His most famous example is the early days of text input on computers. We had a technology boom but computers were still trying to emulate typewriters. You could go into “type mode”, and start typing. If you made a mistake, you had to switch to “delete mode”, and delete everything back to where you want to edit. There was no way to move a cursor around. There was no “cut, copy and paste”, and no one thought there was anything wrong with that.
Whether you’re looking for a creative edge to your business, or inspiration to get the next big idea, Creative Confidence is a very useful and engaging read!
EDITORS: Sarah Shalaby & Nada Adel Sobhi
Book Review: “When Women Unite”, by Abir Yassin
When Women Unite, a one act play, written by Mahmoud Mansi. I would totally say about this play that it is not written to everyone, in a way it is shocking, controversial, questionable, and debatable. And on the other hand I would recommend it to each and every one. It is an eye-opener, can’t put it down kind of books. One can’t believe it is written by a man. The writer can totally get into women’s mind and their inner struggles regardless of their background and their beliefs.
What makes the play standout is mainly the dialogue. While reading, you find your own words and thoughts been told through the characters, to the extent that some lines you act it out while reading.
Concerning the ideas discussed, in a way one can consider it shocking, and on the other way it is so real and deliberated on so many levels through many channels out there. The play has no red lines, it goes through politics and religion and all those areas that one can consider tabooed.
The title, “When Women Unite”, gives the right idea about the main theme of the play which is “women rights” shown through three different ladies, with various life style, minds and orientations. The setting of the play, a demonstration, gives the thoughts a lot of space to be exposed as a bomb. Gives the characters the opportunity to speak out their inner and hidden ideas, which all women on planet Earth has in their black box. The playwright opened that black box with no mercy.
The characters’ development is a little bit fast due to the timeline of the play where by the end they reach their liberty. They reached this freedom when they opened up to each other and expose their wounds to the air.
As a reader, I may tell that it is a great time consuming play to be read. I didn’t waste a minute reading it, a very successful experiment by the writer.
Link to Book on Amazon.com:
Book Review: When Women Unite, Review By Nesma Yassien
About the Book
When Women Unite: A Play about Challenges facing the Modern Movement of Feminism and Gender Dialogue, written by Mahmoud Mansi.
The play is written about the movement of feminism, where women from different backgrounds were present in the same women’s rights protest. When they started talking about politics, relationships, religion, and feminism, they discovered that they were not on the same page. That’s mainly how the play starts and events progress.
Book Reviewer's Note
It took me roughly two hours to read the whole play. I will not lie when I say that I was a bit concerned to read a book about women written from a male (with an Eastern background) point of view. But I was surprised. I recommend including the play in universities with programs relevant to Women Studies Subject.
I liked the choice of characters especially the Harem Slave and the Conservative housewife. Their character representation is very interesting and fresh. These characters are given a platform to voice their opinions which I believe are very anti-stereotypes. Those two specific characters are either not well-represented in literature or are represented as passive, pathetic, and voiceless women. However, you managed to give them a new light by highlighting their multiple humane, feminine, and rebellious sides. For instance, people would never think that a conservative housewife and a Harem Slave would have such big ambitions that would eventually change society (which I believe is represented by the Enshrouded Man).
The first chapter does mirror our society’s mindset through the healthy argument/debate between the characters. The characters represent a variety of cultures, beliefs and background and that has made the play universal.
The play is also timeless and this is evident in chapter two. Discrimination against women has existed ages ago. According to the author’s choice of the characters of Cleopatra and Harem Slave, the issue goes beyond the boundaries of time and space.
Moreover, the characterization of Cleopatra is very clever. Cleopatra has been always portrayed in films and books in a negative light, but the author provided a whole new light to her personality by presenting her as Mother nature- a woman who has the venom and the cure.
Cleopatra discusses the concept of Evilness in a new light. Her words reminded me of Fyodor Dostoyvesky’s idea of pain in Notes From The Underground; how important pain is to the body. According to the Protagonist, without the feeling of pain, no one would realize that the body is dying. The same applies to Evilness in the play. Evil is important to set things right too. Also pain is essential to save the whole body, and so is Evil; it demands us to cure society as a whole without discrimination. The cure is knowledge, confession and acceptance.
The third chapter is fascinating. The characters reveal their past and the readers discover that they are more or less the same. All characters share things in common and they all experience a moment of epiphany after they confess and accept each others’ past.
We are all humans who sin and make wrong choices, but in order to become strong and to unite one should confront himself and accept and embrace her/his sins and wrong choices in life (same as when they confess and embrace each other). This is therapeutic. This is when they are truly free and equal. They all (including the Enshrouded Man) choose to make the right choice by following their passion regardless of how society would see them. This is When Women Unite.
Link to Book on Amazon.com:
Motivational Lead-Hers: tapping the untapped path. Interview with Sfurti Sahare, India’s Top Selling Author
Interviewer: Cinzia Nitti
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE
Sfurti Sahare is an Indian born woman – she completed her degree in computer engineering from Pune University and turned her attention to motivational speaking to inspire the young and the old alike and make a difference in their lives. Powerful Thinker, Motivational and Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Sports Performance Coach whose debut book, “Think and Win like Dhoni” got immensely famous and make her won many Awards in India and on International Platforms. She does Leadership Training for the First-time Managers and the Middle-Managers in the Corporates. She is the Founder of a Company, the Ace Square Enterprise which deals with training in Schools, Colleges and Corporates. Sfurti delivers also high power Motivational Programs in various Conferences across India.
Rome, 26 May 2018. My first TEDx Event experience as an attendant.
Sfurti caught my attention since the very beginning through her opening slogan “I don’t need a glass of wine to get my high!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK0cxy88VJk join her TEDx Talk to know what I’m talking about.
I remember I thought “I’m sure this girl is going to rock the stage”. And so it was! I had no idea about her life path and professional profile before hearing her story. A couple of days after the conference I contacted her to say simply “thank you”. Her speech was so inspiring, the words so strongly empowering that I thought she would have been a good role model for future Women Leaders and the importance to build strong connections without fearing social dogmas and common masculine-oriented mindset.
HR Revolution Middle East: Hi Sfurti and thank you so much for accepting our interview. Here we are, a year after your first TEDx Talk in Rome and a new coming soon book, “The Monkey Theory“. Would you introduce yourself by giving our readers a summary of your career as Motivational Speaker and Inspiring Award-winning Female Author?
Sfurti Sahare: Hi guys, my name is Sfurti and it means “inspiration“. Initially, when my mom named me it was very difficult for most of the people to pronounce it correctly. At some point, I used to ask myself “Why I don’t have a common name?”. But one day, when I was at school, I had a tough day because of an exam. So I went back to the hostel, I was alone in my room while other guys were happy and wearing colorful dresses – I realized “Sfurti is your name, you are born to inspire people, so you should get all the strength you have and focus on one right thing: succeed and have a purpose in life!”. From that moment I started taking my name seriously and today I am a motivational speaker and author. I do 3 things: 1. I train people, go to schools, colleges, conferences to speak about motivation, productivity, leadership and gender issues as well. 2. I super active on LinkedIn, Instagram and I write books. 3. I manage my office, so I’m also an entrepreneur. I think if you keep a good focus, work hard and believe you can do it, then you definitely will succeed.
HR Revolution Middle East: You are a first-generation entrepreneur from your family. You are also a motivational trainer, author, and owner of a training Company, the Ace Square Enterprise. How difficult it is for a young woman to convince the family members and take up entrepreneurship as a career?
Sfurti Sahare: I think it is way difficult because normally girls are believed that they can just do the housework after they get married. My mother was a working woman and it was pretty easy for me and my brother to be both supportive with housework. Then I moved to study in a bigger city and I already knew how to manage everything by myself. Generally speaking for Indian girls after marriage it is not easy to do anything else but manage housework, so I would definitely say it is more difficult than in other countries. I am strongly convinced that women should all work, be independent, make money by and for themselves because that gives them a sense of freedom not only on a personal level but also to people who care and support them. As I said, my mom used to work and I followed her step: I came out and started working as well. Her model gave me the chance to step forward and get into entrepreneurship. My message to everyone who is reading this article is: even if you are housewives and you think you are not enough qualified to work, try anyway to find and get a job because that is what makes you feel independent and free to build a better future.
HR Revolution Middle East: Despite “Millennial women” are changing women’s roles in the workplace (www.humanresourcesmba.net), there are still barriers to their professional advancement. What would you specifically suggest to Women in the HR world to improve their skills, get higher profile assignments and human value?
Sfurti Sahare: I truly believe that women are always considered a step below men. Same reason why today is very difficult to see women at higher positions in the business world. Sadly, this is not going to change through an interview but I strongly believe that real change could happen starting by the way we raise our boys. Teaching them equality between boys and girls is necessary for a new generation based on balance and equality from a gender perspective. In my house, my mother raised me and my brother exactly that way. He has to clean his room by himself, he has to take care of all his duties without expecting his sister was there ready to do the job for him! Everything was equal … and when this will happen on a large scale, things will truly start changing and in the end, we will finally see the change we are fighting for now. It is a matter of social norms. Another important trait to manage any kind of discrimination at work is that I want women to be emotionally stable in the workplace. I know it is not easy, women are known to have and feel emotions in a very intense way, but while working they can sound very irritating for others. If women want to believe in themselves I think they can go ahead, perform better and get whatever they want in professional places. Plus, we must consider that with increased distractions and hype around social media, the attention span of humans has gone done … and it is less than the attention span of gold-fish which is 8 seconds. Our mind acts like a monkey and keeps swinging from one idea to another. It leads to unnecessary stress, anxiety and confusion. That is why emotional stability is one of the key points: if women learn to manage their emotions, they can work properly and gain more credibility and human value – which helps them achieve better goals.
HR Revolution Middle East: We are often used to imagine and apply rigid schemes in hiring and training employees, whether they’re men or women. Do you think there are alternative and creative ways that can help companies motivate and develop Female Leaders? Would it be correct to start from the perspective that women are different?
Sfurti Sahare: Women are different and I think the most important starting point would make them always feel safe in their professional places. As I said before, raising boys and girls in an equal way would be undoubtedly a plus to motivate constructive competition and make the best out of them. My new coming soon book, “The Monkey Theory” (releasing on June, 26th) presents a creative approach to manage the mental chatter and help an individual achieve focus, discipline and mental space. For example, mental chatter is one of the most destructive things to handle and it makes the matter worst. I have tried showing how feelings control us and then I labeled them. Once you label them, it comes easy to identify and get over them.
HR Revolution Middle East: “Think and win like Dhoni” taught the readers the art of never giving up and build strong connections between cognitive abilities and emotional management under pressure. Have clear goals, focus on the process instead of getting obsessed by results, trust in the ability to reinvent the game after a tough defeat. What the coming soon “The Monkey Theory” is going to teach us (spoiler, please!)?
Sfurti Sahare: “The Monkey Theory” is basically this: you want to wake up in the morning and do workout, because you want to look young and great, right? Who stops you from going to the gym? Let’s imagine a monkey on our shoulder who suggests being lazy and complaining about our body shape instead of acting. Then, we want to control our anger? Sure! But there’s a voice in the head that keeps us focused on negativity? Well, the wild Monkey is dancing and tricking us. There are four families of Monkeys and once you learn to know and recognize them, you will quickly understand how to kick them away or keep them close to your positive daily routine. We are all good human being, the monkeys are there to paralyze our good thoughts. So we should all learn to deal with them and act positively.
HR Revolution Middle East: In a few creative sentences, what would “The Monkey Theory” suggest us to manage the multiple voices in our minds?
Sfurti Sahare: “The Monkey Theory” is a mind management tool presented very creatively through different types of monkeys that capture all our mental space. It’s about cognitive techniques that teach us how to handle the many voices inside our heads. All top achievers are laser focused. The reason I have put monkey characters is that I wanted the NON-readers to READ! The book will make sure that the person beat the negative monkeys and live peacefully with a positive one. When the monkeys will sit on our shoulder, we will exactly know how to balance all the thoughts and no trouble will threat us anymore.
Links to Sfurti Sahare’s Books:
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