We've got such lovely little safe worlds at our disposal in our phones. It's hard to resist losing yourself in them when you need to kill time. Checking emails or scrolling through social media can feel like an efficient use of time, but narrowing our focus on the world is killing an important area of stimulus. The everyday treasure to be found in the world around us. Read More
We asked 10 successful women working in various creative roles in Scotland to share a story with us. Our brief was simple: to tell a story about a time they had failed. We didn’t want PowerPoint presentations, microphones or philosophies, business pitches or case studies, but a true story told from the heart. We called it ‘Failing Up!’ and agreed to embrace our failures, which we often learn more from than our triumphs. Read More
I‘m taking the chance, on a day that celebrates the strength, qualities and brilliance of women, to stand proud and not be shy and hesitant about letting people know about the great things I do. You see, in my work I teach clear communication, the importance of using simple language and being honest and direct about what you want. But I realise, I don’t always practice what I preach. Read More
Last night, for just a few hours, in a cosy bar in Covent Garden, we turned the world on its head.
The room was full of really brilliant people. Friends, clients and colleagues: A crowd who have achieved great things, have qualities that we truly admire and awesome strength. Any one of them could have held court and done a pretty great job of showing off.
But they didn’t. They did something far more arresting. They talked about the stuff they’d got wrong, the failures, the blips, the uncertainties and the regrets in their lives. This was a storytelling evening in celebration of failure and the brilliant role it plays in our lives. Read More
Today is that slightly tricky day for lots of us. The day after the big return to work from the Christmas break. You’ve caught up on news, cleared your inbox and now it’s time for the hard graft again. But, if you just crack on, you’ll miss that chance to stop and and consider some of your ambitions in your work life. So, before you get your head down and get to it, there’s a really simple way to reveal the challenges or opportunities you’ve got some real passion for this year. While your colleagues are still in that “fresh start – anything’s possible” state of mind, get them together and get them to answer these simple questions frankly and with passion .... Read More
Stuck for ideas? Inspiration rarely strikes when you’re sitting at a desk, staring at a blank wall or aimlessly trawling the internet. Nothing beats getting out and about and finding delight or food for thought in the events, conversations and random discoveries the world around you offers. Here are a few tips to feed your creativity and get yourself out of a creative rut. Read More
We all love the IDEA of failing freely, but when you're right there, experiencing the very real pain of seeing things go wrong, conviction can waver. Explaining spending time and money on dead ends to hard-nosed investors or styling out public blushes in front of critical audiences calls for nerves of steel and an unwavering belief in the long term benefits of your actions. Read More
Marie Kondo has a brilliant and simple core idea: you should only keep something if it “sparks joy”. Anything else, you let go, it’s dragging you down. You can’t feel happy and inspired with clutter crowding the good stuff in your life. Read More
The teacher had told me she loved Izzy’s sense of humour and always looked forward to chatting to her or listening to her contributions in class. One day, during a quiet one-to-one, Izzy decided to treat this teacher to a performance of her new, favourite joke. If I tell you it involved the misadventures of a hard-of-hearing man who had somehow called his house “Hairy Bottom” and had a cat called Willy, I don’t think you need to stretch your imagination too far when it comes to the nature of the punchline. I asked Izzy, with some horror, what this teacher had said at the end of the joke. “Oh, she just smiled ….” said Izzy “I know she thought it was funny.” Read More
About 15 years ago I considered myself to be a creative wizard. I’d recently learned the fundamental theories behind creative thinking and helping people have fresh ideas and I was all set to bring this revolution to my role as a development producer for the BBC. Read More
Recently I ran a workshop helping arts organisations think about the digital experiences they might offer audiences. I asked them to get into small groups, then choose one example of a real project to work on. Read More
This all seemed to be going well. But it dawned on me that in every group it was a man whose scenario was chosen, a man doing most of the talking. Two thirds of the people in the room were women, and this was an open conference, no obvious hierarchy. And in the arts, where ideas and imagination are currency, where people love to talk, and where women are in a majority.
What do you think was going on? Did the men simply take over, did the women automatically sit back, or was something more complex and deep seated at play?
It's pretty rare that we can easily articulate what we want to achieve. Instead we often tend to feel restless. Restlessness has no focus, no goal. It's just an uneasy feeling. More specific symptoms of restlessness include:
- drifting to the fridge and eating items with high sugar content (repeatedly)
- grumpily stating you have 'so much to do' while blankly checking all forms of social media
- brooding over why nobody has recognised your true genius
- articulating (with diamond clarity) your bold plans for the future after half a bottle of wine (safe in the knowledge that you won't be required to do anything about it the following day, due to a mild hangover).
So, how can we define what's niggling us and conjure up a challenge we really fancy tackling? Read More
All too often in business (and in life in general) we focus on the question “what’s wrong?” and then use much of our time and energy worrying over the negatives. I’m not saying there’s no value in being honest and brave when appraising what we’re doing, but fixing what seems to be broken isn’t the only way to move forward. Read More
A friend of mine once shared with me a parenting tip he claimed had hugely improved his sanity and temper. After years of delivering a running commentary of advice and instructions to a young son who seemed to be wilfully ignoring him, he was offered the secret to successful communication with the under 6s. A former teacher, observing a drawn out stand off over a request to come in for dinner, glibly commented that whenever communicating with a young child, try to imagine they have the theme tune to Magic Roundabout running on a continuous loop in their head. Read More