ENERGIZE YOUR CRE ATIVE PO+E NTIAL
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Produced by Communication Arts (ISBN 0010-3519) RAW Issue No.â€‰1, Spring 2009 By Edeline Bernal, Inc. York University/Sheridan College Program in Design All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright by the creators or by contractual agreements with their clients. Nothing shown may be reproduced in any form without obtaining the permission of the creators and any other person or company who may have copyright ownership.
L A I T N E + O P E V I TA E R C R U O Y E Z I G R E N E
Editor and Designer Edeline Bernal Executive Editor Mary Ann Maruska Consulting Editor and Designer Sibyl Chan Art Director Marcelo Hong Production Manager Brian Santangelo Contributing Photographer Jennee Yang Administrative Assistant Jiyeon Chang
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ision c e d a t a g n Looki f view o t n i o p y r e from ev k elps you loo nique that h ch te l fu er pow erspectives. g Hats” is a f different p o “Six Thinkin er b m u n om a move t decisions fr shing you to u p at importan y b s n io decis s you make better such, it help s A . g It helps you in k in ays of th es r habitual w nd spot issu outside you a decision, a f o y it x le p . the full com e not notice understand ht otherwis ig m u o y h nities whic and opportu anktelow by James M
any successful people think from a very rational, positive viewpoint, and this is part of the reason that they are successful. Often, though, they may fail to look at problems from emotional, intuitive, creative or negative viewpoints. This can mean that they underestimate resistance to change, do not make creative leaps, and fail to make essential contingency plans. Similarly, pessimists may be excessively defensive, and people used to a very logical approach Illustration by edeline bernal
to problem solving may fail to engage their creativity or listen to their intuition. If you look at a problem using these Six Thinking Hats technique, then you and your team will be able to use all of these approaches to develop your best solution. Your decisions and plans will mix ambition, skill in execution, sensitivity, creativity and good contingency planning. This tool was created by Edward de Bono in his book Six Thinking Hats.
How to use the tool: To use the tool to improve the quality of your decision-making, look at the decision wearing each of the thinking hats in turn. Each Thinking Hat is a different style of thinking. These are explained below:
White Hat With this thinking hat, you focus on the data available. Look at the information you have, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge and either try to fill them or take account of them. This is where you analyze past trends, and try to extrapolate something from historical data. Think of white paper, which is neutral and carries information. What information do we have here? What information do we need to fill in or missing? What information would we like to have? How are we going to get the information? When you ask for White Hat thinking at a meeting you are asking those present to put aside the proposals and arguments and to focus directly on the information. For the moment everyone at the meeting looks to see and take note of what information is available, what is needed and how it might be obtained.
Red Hat Wearing the Red Hat, you look at the decision using your intuition, gut re action, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally, and try to understand the intuitive responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning. Because the red hat signals feelings as such, they can come into the discussion without pretending to be anything else. Intuition may be a composite judgment based on years of experience in the field and may be very valuable even if the reasons behind the intuition cannot be spelled out consciously. It should also be said that intuition is not always right, and it can be wrong. It is sometimes valuable to get feelings out into the open.
Black Hat When using Black Hat thinking, look at things pessimistically, cautiously and defensively. Try to see why ideas and approa ches might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan or course of action. It allows you to eliminate them, alter your approach, or prepare contingency plans to counter problems that arise. Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans tougher and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Black Hat thinking is one of the real benefits of this technique, as many successful people get so used to thinking positively that often they cannot see problems in ad- vance, leaving them under-pre pared for difficulties. However, this technique should not be overused. It is easy to kill creative ideas with early negativity. Wine is fine but overuse of alcohol can turn you into an alcoholic. It is the same with the Black Hat.
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Blue Hat Now, the Blue Hat Yellow Hat The Yellow Green Hat The Green Hat stands for process control. This Hat helps you to think positistands for creativity. This is is the hat worn by people chawhere you can develop crea vely. It is the optimistic viewiring meetings. When running tive solutions to a problem. It point that helps you to see all into difficulties because ideas is a freewheeling way of thinthe benefits of the decision are running dry, they may dirking, in which there is little and the value in it, and spot ect activity into Green Hat thin- the opportunities that arise criticism of ideas. A whole raking. When contingency plans from it. Yellow Hat thinking nge of creativity tools can are needed, they will ask for help you here. helps you to keep going espeBlack Hat thinking, and so on. This hat is specifically based cially when everything looks You can use Six Thinking Hats gloomy and difficult. around the idea of provocain meetings or on your own. In tion and thinking for the sake Participants identify bene meetings it has the benefit of of identifying new possibilities. fits associated with an idea or defusing the disagreements Things are merely said for the issue. This is the opposite of that can happen when people sake of seeing what they could Black Hat thinking and actuwith different thinking styles or might mean, rather than to ally looks for the reasons in discuss the same problem. A form a judgement. favour of something. similar approach is to look at problems from the point of view of different professionals (e.g. doctors, architects, sales directors) or different customers. As you know, the difference between the mediocre and the highly effective teams lies not so much in their collective mental equipment, but in how well they use their abilities to think and how well they work together as a team. Six Thinking Hats helps actualize the full thinking potential of teams. When used as a meeting man agement tool, the Six Hats method provides the disciplined process for individuals to be focused and to the point. It also puts people who are quiet and reserved on an equal playing field with those who are more talkative and might monopolize a meetEdward de bono (M.D., Ph.D.) is widely recognized as the ing. But possibly most important, it requires each world’s leading authority on creativity individual to look at all sides of an issue. raw and conceptual thinking.
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Journals are unsung heroes. They are the stiffs of creative life. A birder on a morning walk, a scientist in the field, a film director delayed in a foreign airport, a fashion designer musing over next seasonâ€™s collection, a teenager avoiding schoolwork: all keep journals as trusted confidantes and reliable workhorses.
photography by edeline bernal
ike old Shaker chairs grown smooth from supporting so man bodies, or a handmade quilt faded from decades of laundering and human contact, journals are utilitarian objects transformed by repeated and fond use. They hold life in them, which is why we cannot let them go. And yet, they are ubiquitous to the point of almost invisibility.
One day while I was working on this book my friend John, a building contractor, came over to see about adding a wall to our upstairs. As he tried to visualize just what I wanted, he took a small spiral notebook from his shirt pocket and began making notes. Of course was curious (I have been known of late to beeline into cafes when I see someone in the window working on a journal, and I have accosted at least one person on an airplane drawing in her sketchbook). He was happy to put aside our planning and talk about his notebooks. “O I don’t know,” he said and smiled when I asked how many notebooks he had. “Hundreds, I guess. They go back to about ’79. I throw them in a box when I’m done. They are all up in the attic of my shop.” I found most people, like John, pleased when I asked about their journals. A few demurred, saying their books were too private or too pointless. But mainly they were very happy to share and reminisce as they flipped through pages. Living in a shirt pocket, after all, makes a book an extension of oneself. Pride is to be expected. The ones that really intrigued me —journals filled with drawings, photos, collages, charts, and detritus taped or folded into pages—were visual, and that made them more pragmatic, less confessional, thus also better fit for public viewing. My interest begins with my own journals, the earliest of which dates back to childhood when I kept a single book from the ages of
nine through twelve. Salmon in color, it was made by my mother who was studying book arts. I scrawled my competitive swimming schedule and goals on thick, handmade paper better suited for watercolors or poetry. It was a book with a purpose, a tool in what I imagined might be my rise to Olympic heights. I did not take up a journal again until college, when a period of intense dreaming compelled me to start one. Nearly two decades of continuous journals have followed, though months sometimes pass between entries. Rarely visual in nature, they do not even amount to a writer’s journal. Rather, they contain the emotional details of everyday life, a young woman’s search for self: some whining and self-pity, a lot of fretting, and occasional joy. Unceremoniously, I keep the books—no two are alike in size or color—in a cardboard box along with old calendars and address books, which serve their own journal-like purposes. But only rarely do I open them. Their pages makes me squirm. There goes Blindly in Love at 19, followed by Depressed and Searching at 24, and Confused about the Motherhood Decision at 31. Yet no matter how discomforting it is to revisit these earlier selves, I’m pulled into the narrative and read on in order to remember what it was like to be me at those different junctures. In her pitch-perfect essay, “On Keeping a Notebook,” Joan Didion says a journal has no use for anyone except its keeper; who else would care about an overhead conversation at a hotel hatcheck some twenty years earlier? Much of a journal’s information is lost even to its author. And yet, Didion argues, it is crucial in the way it helps us to reconnect with our former selves. “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be,” she writes. “Whether we find them at-
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tractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mindâ€™s door at 4 A.M. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the little things we thought we could never forget.â€? When I visit my old journals, what attracts me most are the random images stuck into the pages. Usually these are free-floating, loosely folded, and tucked between pages rather than glued. A newspaper photo of a homeless man circa 1991 plants my feet back on the Seattle streets of my early twenties, passing the empty eyed men and women panhandling outside my apartment building. A tissue-thin bag from a patisserie in Aix falls out of another book, and a cream-filled cake blooms in my mouth. But I did not so much as mention the pastry or even the shop in my written entry of that day in France. â€ƒ I came to realize the full potential of visual journals when, in 2000, I wrote a book about Dan Eldon, a photojournalist killed on assignment. Though his legacy is complex, he is most remembered for his collage-style journals, which he began early in high school. As his biographer,
I depended greatly on the journals and was forced to interpret their mosaic story lines, sorting truth from half-truth from flight of fancy. Even when Eldon proved an unreliable narrator (most of us are), I returned to the journals again and again. The pull was magnetic. Not only were they beautiful, but they contained his breath and spirit. From them, much more than via any photograph or a certain friend’s recollection, I could feel his presence. Because Eldon was such a visual person, the journals served as a window into his creative process. I could glimpse how he saw his world: a telephone looked like the horns of a water buffalo; an old man in East Berlin the Devil. As young artists do, he was developing a language of symbols largely impenetrable to casual viewers. The journal held the key. This is the appeal of visual journals to outside viewers—the opportunity to see how a person operates. As one contributor to this book, Thomas Oslund, told me about his own readings of master architects’ sketchbooks, “You’re looking into somebody’s life. It’s a lot different than looking at a finished drawing. You can start to see and almost understand how the ideas evolved into the building.” My own journals have evolved, both since writing about Eldon and interviewing the contributors to this book. I have become interested in what a journal can help me learn about how I view my world, and what trace it can leave for others. Having children has made me acutely aware of a journal’s transparent, blueprint qualities. I have exiled my old, ranting entries; they did me little good for too long. In their place are three journals: one is work related, a no-nonsesnse black book; another is for
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recording my children’s everyday activities, moments I do not want to forget but know I will; and the third is digital, for which I take a daily photograph of our domestic life. The latter two journals have taught me to look at my kids with different eyes. When I try to capture what these early days of childhood look like, I stand apart from them, outside my role as mother, becoming sociologist, artist, therapist, and documentarian. This idea of inspecting life’s smallest details is the most vital role of the journal. Too often, we go blindly, numbly through our days, unable to recall the shape of a peach eaten at breakfast or the color of a co-worker’s sweater. The people featured in this book spend considerable time observing and recording what so many of us never notice. They hone their sensitivity, allowing them to dig deeper into their craft. Great wisdom comes from looking closely at our world, and yet those engaged in it go largely unheralded. Perhaps because they are our Cassandras. A journal of creation serves as witness, scribe, and memory. It is a continuing dialogue of the creative impulse from inkling to eventual realization. At its completion (whether the pages are filled or not depends on the person and the project; sometimes a half-filled journal is inexorably complete), a journal is a record of a creative passage, providing proof that the greatest pleasure is often connected to the making, not to the end product. The work we do in it is like fertilizer, producing rich soil for yet more creative sprouts.
Maira Kalman is de dicated to collecting the unexp ected; her journals have the effect of a movie still in which the unknown actress laugh ing in the background is freeze -framed. Life offers a myriad of patterns, but our eyes must be open to see them.
Once again it is the opaque nature of the journal that appeals to outside readers—the series of steppingstones laid out for us, the map with the most but not all of the lines connected. Since da Vinci, creative thinkers have been producing
Kenny’s Anderson e. Architect rovocativ p are more ls a rn ly u jo taking he pains ots, In them tity, its ro n e id is h s n o questi . Who am ividuality d in suis h and ons are u he questi T ? y h rs e W I? answ ame. The ally the s t. n re fe if ys d are alwa
these intimate, unpolished works for which an outside audience is either unanticipated or an after-thought of it all. The primary purpose of a journal is to serve as a place for its author to sort ideas and observations. An internal dialogue runs through the journal’s pages, and as one journal-keeper admits, “It is the only truly frank conversation I can ever have.” ra w
creative To explore is the ip through “sl to y ilit mind’s ab ordinar y.” the curtain of the als reflect rn David Byrne’s jou ts and es er his diverse int board of tin lle bu a resemble ected ideas. seemingly disconn yground. pla It is his personal
e to now first cam t The quilts e Schmid er Denys e il h w quilt-mak s le one dood as teleph a graphic orking as w s s a w e h s d square circles an ic h p designer: ra ,g in a bold de repeated , they ma h g u o n e n o o S r . e le p sty p pa from scra their way . ls a urn into her jo
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photography by edeline bernal