Big Ideas

Brainstorming from a Distance: How Distributed Teams Collaborate – Productivity Article

For many creative teams, a typical brainstorming session might mean a huddle around a whiteboard, or an impromptu back-and-forth over a coffee break. With remote work on the rise, the nature of group dynamics is changing and so must our collaboration methods. We reached out to creative team leads to see how they are adapting to collaboration and brainstorming from a distance—still a necessity for any creative project. Some are WFH veterans with a well-developed workflow, others quickly adapting to…

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99U Conference Speaker Spotlight: John S. Couch Questions the Status Quo – Productivity Article

What does it mean to be a creative? This year’s Adobe 99U Conference is an examination of “The Creative Self.” When we set about curating speakers, we looked to people taking an individualistic approach to their work and careers. Ahead of the event, we’re asking them how they nurture their own creative selves. *** John S. Couch leads many lives, each informed by his uncompromising belief in the transformative power of storytelling. As the VP of Product Design at Hulu, he…

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How to Overcome Creative Obstacles – Productivity Article

We all have that one idea we keep circling, but that always seems just a little too much to take on for whatever reason–you may be lacking the time, money, or focus to make it come together. We rounded up advice from a handful of determined creatives who have wisdom to share on how to get things in motion when things have been a bit stuck. ***  Time-poor? Many of us are busy, overextended, and doing our best to cram…

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Is Your Planning Procrastination in Disguise? – Productivity Article

The process of planning can be an important method of prioritization of our creative lives. It can also be a comfort—there’s something soothing about writing a list, checking off a box, making a schedule. Yet as much as planning might provide clarity and signal to others that we have it together, it can be procrastination in disguise.  “For some people, planning can be a way to organize what might feel chaotic, but it can creep into avoidance,” says Melbourne-based clinical…

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Brainstorming as a Balancing Act – Productivity Article

A freelance writer who recently published a book on honesty, Judi Ketteler leads a full, busy life. Her days are spent engaging—with her family, a large, bustling social circle, and the dynamic people she interviews for work—interactions that expose her to a constant stream of new information. Breakthroughs usually arrive during the precious hours in her schedule in which she is alone, untethered from the world outside her own head. “I go running—that’s when I think of 90% of my…

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Resolutions and Taking Risks: Creatives Look Ahead to 2020 – Productivity Article

The start of the new year is a time for big-picture thinking and deciding what our priorities are for the months ahead. The design and tech worlds are on the precipice of major ideological changes and we are facing fundamental questions about our place in the world, and the way we interact with each other. If 2019 was marked by upheaval and unexpected challenges, what does 2020 have in store and how do we prepare for the decade ahead of…

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The Art of Doing Nothing – Productivity Article

Over Thanksgiving break, I read Cal Newport’s latest book, Digital Minimalism, in which he urges us to engage in regular periods of solitude. “We need solitude to thrive as human beings, and in recent years, without even realizing it, we’ve been systematically reducing this crucial ingredient from our lives.” Newport defines solitude as being along with our own thoughts and having the ability to listen to our internal dialogue without distraction or input from other people, screens, or devices. When…

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Alexis Lloyd: Small Design Choices Can Change the Internet – Productivity Article

A few years ago, a notification popped up in Alexis Lloyd’s DMs. It was John Maeda.  “Hey,” the design luminary (and then head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic) said, “I am a fan of your work.” “I said, ‘The feeling is mutual,’” Lloyd recalled. Pretty soon the experience designer, who had started as creative director of the New York Times R&D Lab and left the legacy company to be employee number two at Axios, was installed as Head…

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In the Long Run, Diversity Wins – Happiness Article

Around the world, religious bigotry is on the rise. In a number of European Union countries, rising Muslim migration seems to be driving support for anti-Muslim political parties. This has also been true, to a lesser extent, in the United States. On both sides of the Atlantic, open anti-Semitism appears to be increasing. Is religious diversity too politically difficult and socially disruptive, as many argue? Perhaps, the argument goes, the stability and social peace of these countries is maintained by…

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The Two Traits for Creative Success and How to Cultivate Them – Productivity Article

In moments of stress or a setback in our work lives, it can be difficult to muster the self-belief to back ourselves with confidence, try again, and persevere. Yet it’s often our everyday exchanges that can bolster the likelihood of career success. Take the example of two designers who share a coworking studio. Over lunch, one opens up about a recent failure in their business that was going to take some time to bounce back from. Feeling uncertain, she turned…

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Feeling Anxious at Work? Ask Yourself These Four Questions – Productivity Article

You know that feeling when something’s just not right at work but you can’t quite put your finger on what’s wrong? Maybe you’re in a relatively new job, or in the middle of a big project (or maybe it’s just any random Tuesday) and you’re overcome with a vague sense that something’s off and it just doesn’t feel good. It really doesn’t feel good. You’re not sure what you want to do or where you want to go, but you…

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How to Find Your Silver Linings – Happiness Article

MAGGIE SMITH It’s funny, my daughter this year, in her Mother’s Day card wrote to me, “Thank you for helping me be optimistic.” And it made me cry, but it also made me laugh, because if you had told me even five years ago, but certainly 10 years ago, and definitely 15 years ago, that anyone would accuse me of being an optimist, I would have laughed. I’m sure my own mother would have laughed. I would probably call myself…

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Why We All Need A Mentor, Or Two – Productivity Article

As creatives, we’re on nontraditional paths without a template for success. We have an opportunity to design our careers in many different ways. However, without a model for moving forward, we can feel overwhelmed by choice. How do we know we’re making the “right” decision? What’s the best path forward? No one can predict how our careers will unfold, but mentors can provide support as we figure it out. They know what it takes to be courageous in the face…

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