Jonah Lehrer's keynote, titled "Imagine: How Creativity Works," kicked off the 2012 PromaxBDA Conference and was an inspiring rumination on the process of creativity and innovation. As we settled into our seats and unpacked our crowded minds, Lehrer reminded us why we do what we do. A collective sigh gently floated across the ballroom... Ahhh.
Yes, we are the people who do our best to inspire and engage others. How do we do it? What is the best way to bring innovation to the world? More than most, Lehrer knows us. He knows that creatives need equal doses of relaxation (think little or no screen time) away from work and "grit," persistence and determination to achieve great results. But you probably knew that.
Did you ever get the feeling you're close to a breakthrough working on a problem? That means, says Lehrer, that you better put on the coffee and push through. Meet with others in your team. Find people and engage in dialogue with those who you may not see regularly. Steve Jobs called these "bathroom moments." Relentlessly work for a "moment of knowing," Lehrer suggested, and change your belief that you are a lone genius. This is when your creativity will merge into breakthrough insight.
Then again, if you don't balance grit with fun outside of work you will bump against the wall without effect. Fun means relaxation and plenty of alpha waves pulsing through the brain. The interior areas of the frontal cortex of your brain need to refresh, the blood to flow. As the talk came to an end we got up, refreshed and renewed. We're ready to design, create, inspire and do what we do best.
Thanks, Jonah Lehrer.
Kate Canada Obregon is with the full-service design house Oishii Creative in LA.