Sunday, 11 March 2012

Class & Culture

Melvyn Bragg on Class and Culture - Episode 3

Katy shared this link with our fellow Master's student, i caught the end of the episode and thought I'd missed something interesting so I'm definitely going to check it out. Here is the BBC's synopsis:

'In this three-part series, Melvyn Bragg explores the relationship, from 1911 to 2011, between class and culture - the two great forces which define and shape us as individuals and as a society.
Melvyn looks at the last 30 years of culture in the UK, and examines whether class is still relevant to what culture we create and consume. The 80s brought the all-embracing force of Thatcherism - from the new, aspirational house buyers, to the disenfranchised industrial working class and the cataclysmic miners' strike. Melvyn Bragg talks to the cultural voices of this radical decade - dramatist Alan Bleasdale; Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall (' was for posh people...'); writer Sue Townsend; genre-breaking band The Specials; and Chris Donald, the creator of Viz magazine ('...a comic created by a lower middle class Geordie became an organ of the metropolitan middle class...'). These people broke through to become key voices not simply of their class but of the whole, changing, cultural landscape.
Melvyn travels to Leith, where he meets Irvine Welsh, a brilliant and mischievous literary voice of both the 90s rave generation and Scotland's disenfranchised working class. In the 90s, our leaders claimed we were all middle class, and culturally there has been a reaching out to the nation with free museums and galleries, fuelled by the National Lottery. But is this open, accessible culture simply masking newer divisions - a super-rich class of bankers and celebrities at one end and a poor underclass at the other, demonized by 'chav' culture? We may be more culturally democratic and varied than ever, but is wealth now creating a new, more extreme class system?' (, 2012, 11/03/12)

Friday, 9 March 2012

JK Inspiration - Failure & Imaginnation

Now i am a HUGE Potter fan, so of course i was going to be drawn straight away to this clip of JK on TED! Don't worry though, if you're not 'Potty' about Potter the jokes and puns are kept to a minimum and it truly an awe inspiring speech about the importance of failure and imagination.

'...Expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction...'J.K.Rowling, 2008

'...Ultimately we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure...'J.K.Rowling, 2008

JK explains that failure enables you to 'strip away' the inessential, you are set free because your greatest fear has been realised and that rock bottom is a solid platform for the future.

'Imagination is not only the unique human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation, in its arguably most trans formative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans, whose experiences we have never shared' J.K.Rowling, 2008

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

I can lead!

'Philippa, I'd like you to be team leader' Uh oh, suddenly i feel weighed down, like I've been asked to carry a tonne of bricks on my shoulders. I've always preferred to be an active team player than a leader and the word 'leader' (as my fellow student Julia has blogged) has always been for me a 'loathsome' image.

To me being a 'leader' has always clashed with my personality and i have never really felt i have what it takes to be an effective leader. However, the Understanding and Managing Creativity as part of my module has been giving me greater insight into what leadership means. I have blogged previously about leadership and also management but today Julia's blog and her post: 'About being a leader (and its loathsome image)' has really struck a chord!

Julia blogs about her recent experience of being a leader:

'i was being passionate. Really passionate. It was rather about achieving a really good project outcome, about making the most of this experience and learning opportunity than about getting my opinion through or being the leader. I had a clear vision and it made me enthusiastic.' (Buschmann, J. 2012)

Passion, vision and enthusiasm! These i do have! So therefore i can be a leader right? I also like her 'Top 5' , 5 'musts' of leadership which i believe i can fulfil, how about you? What do you think?

Go and check out Julia's blog and let her know!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

IBM’s Creative Culture

I have been meaning to blog a little about IBM as until starting my masters i had very little knowledge or understanding of this multinational corporation, other than it was BIG and SUCCESSFUL.
Did you know that during 2011 IBM received 6,180 patents?! IBM was the lead patent recipient for the 19th year! (IBM, 2012)
The articles i have been reading online today suggest that the scale and success of IBM is due to it:
 ‘creating a culture of innovation’ (Macanfo, E. 2010)
IBM has ‘Think Fridays’:
‘we like to give half a day per week as think time. Our employees consider how you make your life, the clients’ life or the world easier.’ (Petite, J, 2010 cited in Macanfo, E. 2010)
Innovation Jam is an impressive online idea generation session. Over 150,000 employees, universities, IBM business partners and clients worldwide take part and in 72 hours generate thousands of ideas they explore:
‘IBM’s most advanced research technologies and considered their application to real-world problems and emerging business opportunities’ (Macanfo, E. 2010)
Innovation Jam is:
 ‘harnessing the energy and the power of our staff to take things to the next innovation plateau’ (Petite, J, 2010 cited in Macanfo, E. 2010).
Richardson (2010) refers to IBM’s CEO Samuel J. Palmisano who highlights why they believe in a culture of innovation and creativity:
‘Events, threats and opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations. These firsts-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees of creativity — which has become a more important leadership quality than attributes like management discipline, rigor or operational acumen.’

According to Richardson (2010)

Creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks’.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Who gets the best jobs?

Following guest speaker Helen Ross's recommendation today in my Understanding and Managing Creativity module i have 'googled' and found 'Who gets the best jobs?', a BBC  documentary from last year. I haven't watched them yet but thought i'd post them up on here for my fellow course mates and all you other lovely people to have a watch too.

I believe that its looking at the value of Higher Education, should be quite interesting!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Monday, 27 February 2012

In Times of Leadership

‘To be or not to be: Should leaders be nasty or nice?

In the consulting I do for businesses, I find that leaders are increasingly wary of being nasty. They go on courses to develop their emotional intelligence. They subject themselves to feedback from their peers. They read books on how to motivate their staff. They’re getting a lot nicer. But is that a good thing?

The debate has a noble antecedent in Machiavelli, of course. He argued it was better to be feared than loved, but since then the forces of democracy, modernity and celebrity have reversed the equation. A case point would be Vladimir Putin, who has to struggle against his inner Stalin, and overcompensates by showing off his torso in the hope of adoration. Modern leaders love to be loved.

In a business context, however, this can be unhelpful. A business exists to generate value in the form of a product of service. Generating it is what we call work. The fundamental role of the leader therefore is to secure the greatest value for the least work, a mixture of effectiveness with efficiency. That leader might not need to be nasty as such, but he or she does need to be a pretty steely technocrat.

But the niceness of modern leaders is not an end in itself. It’s a technique aimed at making the workforce more efficient-the nicer I am, the harder they’ll work. After all, if niceness isn’t aimed at that, it’s kind of irrelevant. The same goes for nastiness too; if it doesn’t help the business, it’s just bullying.’

(Smith, R. R. 2005. To be or not to be: Should leaders be nasty or nice? The Sunday Times, 27 February. (Kindle Edition))

Friday, 24 February 2012

Creative Latitude - If this doesn't get you talking.....i don't know what will!

Rowan Atkinson has hit the headlines today with his views on a TV ageism row involving the BBC and Miriam O'Reilly. O'Reilly won her employment tribunal after taking the BBC to court after claiming she had been unfairly dismissed as host of Country File because of her age.

 'Writing to BBC Radio 4's Media Show, Atkinson said creative industries were "completely inappropriate environments for anti-discrimination legislation" ' (,24/2/12)

 "And as with any creative construct, whether it's a BBC factual television programme or a film or an oil painting, if creative freedom means anything, it is having complete creative latitude to include or exclude anybody or anything for any reason." Rowan Atkinson (,24/2/12)

This article has already sparked huge interest this morning on the BBC's websites with comments and views that are worth a look. Follow the link below!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Art....Priceless, for everything else theres an ideal world of course....

'Arts value is difficult to quantify' (

Mindonthemoney is a blog focusing on arts, ploitics and the question of money. It's topical and thought provoking posts have already raised some interesting questions with the potential for some very interesting discussion which hopefully you'll all want to participate in!

So, what do you think about my little 'spin' of the well known Mastercard advert? Follow the link at the end of this post to Mindonthemoney's post 'Money is itself a kind of reduction...' This particular post has struck a chord, is this really the world we live in? A world where:

 'Money in fact, in one way or another, reduces every moment of art to a single transaction of currency' (

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Some late night TLC for creatives!

Thought I'd share some words of encouragement, inspiration and motivation from Meg Mateo Ilasco's 'Craft' tonight, for all creative individuals who doubt their abilities, have 'wobbly' moments and procrastinate just like me.

Ilasco (2010) acknowledges common myths regarding creativity and enterprise within this fantastic book, which i am reading yet again!

  • You don't need a creative, artistic degree to start a successful creative enterprise. Ilasco (2010) refers to Tadao Ando, famous architect who practised and won the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1995.
  • There is an age limit on setting up your own creative business. Age has many advantages. Ilasco (2010) assures that age brings greater life experiences, greater self awareness, confidence, increased knowledge and understanding of skills.
  • 'All the great ideas have already been done' (pp.13). 'A classic creative 'cop out'' (pp.13).Creativity can be stifled, restricted, diminished by pressure, particularly by the pressure each of us puts on ourselves to succeed, achieve! Ilasco (2010) emphasises that we need to remove this pressure we put ourselves and have Faith!
  • You have to wait for the right time. Are you wondering whether it is the right time? There will never be a perfect time! When is the right time to start-up, to make a change, a difference in your life? The answer, says Ilasco (2010) is RIGHT NOW! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Just thought i'd post this, whilst doing some late night blogging to keep you all on your toes and thinking!

This is a clip of Guy Kawasaki (one of the 'BIG' silicon valley guys who brought us Mactintosh) talking about creating 'meaning'...

...and this is what Pablo has to say about 'meaning'...

'People want to find 'meaning' in everything and everyone. That's the disease of our age...'Pablo Picasso

Kawasaki gives 3 key ways of creating 'meaning':
  1. Improving quality of life or of an experience
  2. Righting a wrong
  3. Preventing the end of something
My fellow masters students have already taken part in a discussion critiquing Kawasaki's theory, so for everyone else WHAT do you think? Is this all 'very nice' but to idealistic and not realistic? How do you determine a right or a wrong? Is Pablo right is it a disease?!

Let me know!

'Every act of creation is first an act of destruction' Pablo Picasso

'Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up' Pablo Picasso

 'An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought' Pablo Picasso  

avignon reduce picasso painting

'The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web' Pablo Picasso  

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How Freelancer's Dance!

'A successful freelancer is passionate about his art and seeks inspiration to fuel it-even in his off-duty hours-simply for the sake of generating work that he loves' (Ilasco, 2010)

Creative freelancers are curious creatures! Curiosity is a driver, a motivator and is a well primed tool for new opportunities, new skills, new techniques new ways of creating. Creative people are 'culture vultures' devouring all sorts of newspapers, magazines, journals and books watching the latest films, world cinema, theatre and documentaries (Ilasco, 2010). 'We vultures' or as i prefer 'magpies' (!) also like to travel and absorb new experiences be inspired by our adventures, by what we have seen: people, places, colours, textures etc.

'The more diverse your experiences and interests, the stronger your ability to come up with ideas' (Ilasco, 2010)

Although Meg Mateo Ilasco's book 'Creative Inc...' (see 'Tools of the Trade') is specifically aimed at freelancers/'wannabe' freelancers in my view it also sums up the qualities of a creative individual and a creative entrepreneur.

Ilasco lists 9 essential qualities for a freelancer and in my view a creative entrepreneur:

  1. A strong business sense: '...there's enough ego and talent coursing through the creative world for even the most gifted artist to get lost in the crowd. The ones who flex their business muscle become the most identifiable and successful' It is important to be a confident decision maker, with motivation and resourcefulness. Competence in maintaining structure and schedule, marketing, accounting and office admin is also equally important as this will be a day-to-day task (Ilasco, 2010).
  2. Love of your art: ' have to be passionate about what you do' You need to be excited each morning to get out of bed and start your day, you need to be prepared to have very long days, a 9-5 day is unrealistic! 
  3. Curiosity: As stated earlier a creatives' are curious creatures! Creative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in general need to be connected and engage with the world observing, listening, reacting, being influenced and inspired and forming networks and alliances everywhere, even in the most unlikely places.
  4. Confidence and a strong vision: initiate projects from your ideas, from how your perceive them to 'look', 'just do it' and have faith in your abilities.
  5. Good listening and observational skills: as a creative entrepreneur you may always want to 'Do whatever you want, when you want' however as Ilasco illustrates for creative freelancers to stay in business you need to please your client before yourself, likewise to be a successful entrepreneur you'll need to please your respective market, be adaptable.
  6. Good communication skills: you will need to connect with your market - whoever it might be. You need to inspire and persuade effectively, to be a successful entrepreneur you still need to make money and communication skills are vital for marketing and selling your product/service!
  7. An ability to handle criticism and rejection: although it has been emphasised that creative individuals and indeed creative entrepreneurs like to  'Do whatever you want, when you want' in business it will be tough and if creative entrepreneurs are to succeed they depend on appeal to their market, it is therefore essential not only to develop a thick skin but also not to ignore feedback and react to it positively! (Ilasco, 2010)
  8. A positive attitude and professional demeanour:  'A positive attitude is priceless when you are running your own business. It's important to handle every job, whether small or large with joice de vivre' ...'mistatkes are part of the discovery process' (Ilasco, 2010).
  9. Good work habits:  as both a creative freelancer and creative entrepreneur you need to organise a good suitable structure that ensures you are able to focus on business tasks and responsibilities day-to-day whilst having the fluidity to be creative and realise your ideas! 'As a freelancer, you have to be self-motivated, because only you can set the bar for your skill and output' (Ilasco, 2010).

Monday, 13 February 2012

A Clear cut? - continued

Continuing to 'ponder' upon this HOT topic i am adding further weight to this debate, having progressed in my 'consumption' of Howkin's The Creative Economy. Howkin's (2007) refers to Bob Geldolf, a highly successful entrepreneur who seems to regard himself as a creative entrepreneur. Although Howkins acknowledges that Geldof is somewhat 'unconventional' in the way he runs his business he explains that Geldof 'manifests' creative success.

Geldof famously doesnt work in any one of his offices, opting to work alone armed only with a telephone, no email, no fax. In explaining why he chooses not to work 'at work', surrounded by his employees he says that 'if you have staff, you start to think about them and you lose the freedom to think and write' (Howkins 2007, pp.125)

'Business is as creative as songwriting, but not as personal' (Bob Geldof, cited in Howkins, 2007 pp.127)

His ideas derive from 'irascibility and invention', and mixing boredom with his imagination results in a 'strong cocktail' (Howkins 2007,pp.127).

'Business - its a cliche - absolutely as creative as anything. Business creates ideas. Around something as dry as a boardroom meeting there can be a confluence of ideas that creates and promotes more ideas' (Bob Geldof, cited in Howkins, 2007 pp.127)

Geldof refers to creative entrepreneurs as being truly capitalist, that manging creative wealth will give rise to more wealth. Creative entrepreneurs:

'...use creativity to unlock the wealth that lies within themselves' (Bob Geldof, cited in Howkins, 2007pp.136)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Gary Thompson Entrepreneur

Fantastic creative presentation from Craig, Luke, Tom and Ed!

To help you 'ponder' further over the subject of what makes a creative entrepreneur!

Mr Motivator!

'The only person who can really motivate you is you' Shaquille O'Neal - NBA Basketball Player

I heard this quote yesterday and as a creative person this is so true! I think creative individuals are also only truly motivated when creating things for themselves, not restricted or limited by someonelse's brief developing their ideas.

Howkins (2007) refers to Bob Geldof:

'...he doesn't wait to be told what to do. He takes charge of his own talent.' (pp.125)

Here is another inspiring quote (yes from Howkins!) regarding motivation, feeling motivated and confident!

   'Everyone must begin to trust their dreams because out of that trust is born the artist, and the artist is the role model for the entrepreneur we now need' (Ernest Hall, Entrepreneur and Musician, cited in Howkins, 2007 pp.125)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Clear cut?

What makes an entrepreneur Creative? What sets them apart from other entrepreneurs? Is there a fine line between the two? Or is there a clear devide? Does being a creative entrepreneur encompass the content, context and philosophy of a business OR is being a creative entrepreneur simply about the personality and characteristics of the individual and how that reflects upon the business, regardless of what the business is?!

A HOT topic at the moment, 'sparking' the beginings of what could potentially be a very interesting discussion/debate amongst my fellow Master's students!

I'm going to 'ponder' the subject some more, stand by for further updates BUT in the mean time do feel free to get the ball rolling with any thoughts, comments etc. on this subject!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

'Hire Character.Train Skill' Peter Schutz

Why should businesses have a strong creative aspect? Why, as the former President and CEO of Porsche, Peter Schutz believes do they need to 'Hire Character.Train Skill'?

'Individual creativity needs to be integrated with organisation resources, capacities and systems if new ideas are ever to bear fruit' (Bilton, C. 2007, pp.xv)

Thus surely an existing organisation encouraging creativity and hiring for creativity has an advantage?

Creativity is the key to success, it offers the potential for an organisation to quash it's competitors and gain advantage in the market. It is a valuable resource/potential, not only for individual organisations but for the economy as a whole stimulating growth and prosperity. Creativity within the workplace allows for openness, freedom to express opinion and share ideas, It enables a 'healthy' working environment, relaxed and sociable. Creativity is valued, diversity is encouraged and change embraced.

According to Bilton (2007) the best recipe for creativity is:

'a combination of innovation and value that in the end is both surprising and satisfying, achieved through a combination of spontaneous inventiveness and laborious preparation' (pp.3)

However in order to stimulate the 'ingrediants' for this recipe it is necessary to 'overcome' stereotypes that are associated with both 'creativity' and 'management' (Bilton, 2007). Tension exists between 'creativity and 'management' and therefore the challenge organisations will face in embracing creativity is how to 'manage' this tension and find ways of 'stitching' the too together (Howkins, 2007, Bilton, 2007) and in doing so they create balance.

A successful balance will achieve freedom of employees within the organisation, no regimented structure or control systems. It will allow for trust across all levels of the organisation, effective communication, respect and recognition. Creative individuals will be stimulated, challenged, rewarded and valued. An organisation of creative workers has the ability to be entrepreneurial and these enterprising individuals will all share: vision, focus, financial acumen, pride and urgency.

In order to hire for creativity and to ensure an organisation creates balance Shutz's 'Hire for character. Train skill' may just hit the nail on the head.

  • Personality
  • Demeanour
  • Experience
  • Drive
  • Adaptability
  • Fast learning
  • Problem solving - creative thinking
Train (and develop)
  • Specific specialist skills
  • Knowledge and understanding

Monday, 6 February 2012

Steve Jobs and John Lasseter

'...artist's using computers, as an artist at Disney uses a piece of paper and a pencil...' John Lasseter - Animator, Director and Chief Creative Officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Creative Entrepreneurs - An Interview with Reed Ingram Weir

Creativity is about 'showing imagination and originality of thought in moving beyond everyday thinking.' (Fillis and Rentschler, 2012, pp.51)

Reed Ingram Weir is a successful young creative entrepreneur in hot pursuit of 'original'.
His businesses 'Ingram Sounds' and 'Reed Ingram Weir Photography' enable his pursuit and in turn his resulting 'originality' enables the continued success of his businesses.

The interview with Reed was conducted by myself and fellow ABC students; Laura, Bex and Katy. We decided to present the key concept of 'originality' as a puzzle which we themed around the emblems of the Muses of literature and the arts in Greek mythology. We also designed each one so that we could spell out 'original' at the end.

Puzzle Piece
How it relates to Reed as a Creative Entrepreneur
People he works with/for and his networks
Veil + clock
His journey to his business start-up
Music note
How music influenced ‘Ingram Sounds’
Comic Mask
Happy face
‘Creativity is fun’ (Howkins, 2007 pp.11) Reed likes to be able to have fun
Epic poetry
Writing tablet
Tablet ‘I AM THE BOSS’
He IS the business
Tragic mask
Sad clown
There are ‘ups and downs’ in every business
Globe and compass
Painting of ‘The Aurora’
‘Reed Ingram Weir Photography’
Reflection + ideas for the future
Love poetry

Importance of passion and motivation in his business

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Word of the day = 'original'

'If you are not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original' Sir Ken Robinson

'Original' has been the 'buzz' word today! (Check out tomorrow's blog post, all will be revealed!)
I've spent my afternoon scouting out Sir Ken's website for the first time - lots more fantastic videos (with more doodles) and all the books and articles he has written are up there too, articles definitely worth a read!

I really want to buy his book 'The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything' - Ive added it to my kindle wish list!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Creative Checklist

'Creativity is a universal talent. Everyone is creative to a degree' (Howkins, 2007 pp.11)

Agree/disagree? Are you, or do you have, all or some of the following:

  1. Open minded '...allowing your mind to wander in an almost dream like way.'
  2. Independent '...creative people are rule breakers, not rule-makers.'
  3. Unafraid of change.
  4. '...challenged by a space and want to put something in it.'
  5. Sense of humour. (I've been told mine is rather dry!)
  6. Competitive or ambitious.
(Bazalgette, P. cited in Howkins, 2007 pp.11)

SO, how many did you check? More than one? Surprised? I'm not, I'd like to place a bet on you been able to check some of those off! 

I am in agreement with Howkins (2007) and I believe that everyone is creative to some degree. As children we are all creative aren't we?

'Children are instinctively and openly creative. All children draw. It is only when people grow older that some say they cannot draw. All children dream, and talk about their dreams. Adults are more likely to say they cannot remember their dreams.' (Howkins, 2007 pp.11)

What happens? Is it that some of us are stifled by accepted conventions? Is it the way we in which we educate children? Sir Ken Robinson thinks so and thinks its time for a bit of a shake up! Take a look at his brilliant talk about creativity and education; 'Changing Paradigms' illustrated in a fantastic doodle it really is something to get the cogs whirring! (scroll through to find 'Changing Paradigms', on the last page)

Monday, 30 January 2012


'Creativity is fun. It is 'Play'...Play is light-hearted and enjoyable; when it stops being fun people stop playing.' (Howkins, 2007 pp.12)

I love this definition! Howkins sums up my perception of my own creativity as a designer. I like to have FUN! It is very important that i enjoy my work, if i get bored, if I'm stressed or under a lot of pressure my creativity is restricted, this is one of the drawbacks of designing to someone else's brief. I like to explore my passion for making and creating; drawing, cutting, sticking, designing by doing what i want to do, my creativity is empowered by having the freedom to play!

'The Creative Economy, How People Make Money From Ideas' Howkin's (2007) is a really good book to get your teeth into, not exactly bedtime reading but has been the best book on my reading list so far. Expect to see a few more posts on here - i'm collecting quite a few shiny gems already!