Harvard Business Review shared insightful comments on the virtues and dangers of group creativity/brainstorming. What is commonly thought as a benefit to workplace progress, can actually limit the unique thoughts produced by regularly creative individuals.
My personal work experience mimics the sentiments expressed in this article in many ways, particularly when it comes to my graphic design projects. The more conceptual feedback I receive initially on a given project can drastically limit my creative process and the end result is rarely something I am proud of.
On that same token, there are times that I would never have thought of a product had there not been any group creativity. Some direction or inspiration is always needed.
In anticipation of President Obama’s final SOTU tomorrow, NPR shares an interesting look back through American history, revealing that President Obama will be the 5th president to present a SOTU to a joint member of congress in his 8th year. 5th seems low you say? That’s what I thought too… take a listen or read along and see which other presidents enjoyed this special privilege.
This is a highly compelling book that I would recommend to anyone, those interested in politics and history or simply someone looking for a good read. The common knowledge that many if not most people hold about presidents are generally limited to the hits, the crises, the scandals and the triumphs. This book illustrates the multiple angles of the relationships strategic and otherwise of the presidents before, during, and post office. This exposé reveals an interesting mosaic of presidents in a light that humanizes them.
“Only the president himself can know what his real pressures and his real alternatives are.” – JFK
“Fatima Muhammed had taken a quick break from the canteen she runs in Maiduguri, a rambling city in northeastern Nigeria, but she was still fielding calls from demanding customers. Dressed in a maroon hijab, she would put her phone down, only to have to pick it up again a few minutes later. We were at the house of her former commander, Abba Aji Kalli, who ran a sector of the Civilian Joint Task Force (C.T.J.F.), a vigilante group battling Boko Haram, in Maiduguri and its environs. Muhammed is the sole female member of the sector, and one of less than fifty women in C.T.J.F., which is said to have about ten thousand fighters and is known for being more effective than the Army, and increasingly powerful.”
This New Yorker article highlights an interesting and powerful group of women who both inspire and fight for a better life.
“America is unusual, both for its obsession with race and for its superb statistics. Poor countries lack the means to collect precise data, and many rich ones choose not to. Some, like France, are so high-minded that they hold race to be irrelevant; in others racial censuses smell uncomfortably like fascism. A few countries distinguish foreigners from natives, though, and there the trend is mostly the same as in America.” –The Economist
“Few in agriculture have shaped the debate over water more than the several hundred owners of an arid finger of farmland west of Fresno.” The battle for water in drought-stricken California is a complex issue, and this NY Times article sheds some light on voices that may normally be overlooked.
Time Magazine awarded Angela Merkel the honor of person of the year. The article features her life story from growing up in East Berlin behind the wall, to seeking a science profession to the last 25 years in politics and all the ups and downs involved with that.
“No one in Europe has held office longer—or to greater effect—in a world defined by steadily receding barriers. That, after all, is the story of the E.U. and the story of globalization, both terms as colorless as the corridor of a Brussels office building. The worlds Merkel has mastered carry not a hint of the forces that have shaped Europe’s history, the primal sort a child senses, listening to a story, safe in bed.”
It’s rare or near-impossible to find a story or interview without motives beyond sharing news and information. The Atlantic’s Bill Gates interview is no exception to that. Gates shares his opinions about climate change, environmentalists and the future of energy when he is largely invested in companies such as Shell, BP, etc. Despite this, the perspective this article shares is intriguing and sheds light on some interesting opinions on innovation in the energy market, and how government and private companies can get involved.
“People can always say, “Well, my country is such a small part of it—why should I make the sacrifice? Because I don’t know for sure that the other countries are going to do their part of it.” We don’t have a world government. Fortunately, we don’t have that many world problems—most problems can be solved locally—but this one is a world problem. Carbon is not a local pollutant. It mixes in the global atmosphere in a matter of days. So it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a coal plant in China or a coal plant in the U.S.—the heating effect for the entire globe is the same.”
NPR featured a story about the “guardians of the forest” in the Amazon Rain-forest. From mimicking the sound of local birds to disguise their noises to preventing illegal deforestation, these people are my heroes.
“To cut down a tree is like cutting out a piece of us. No one does anything to save us,” she says. “We people of the forest are peaceful. We don’t want this war.”