If you’ve been reading the Brainzooming blog for some time, you’ve seen Jan Harness and her blog Creative Instigation mentioned many times. Jan and I worked together for years, seeing each other almost daily since our offices were six feet apart. Since moving to The Brainzooming Group, I’ve seen Jan in person perhaps once a quarter. Initially, I used her blog and its focus on how to be more creative as a regular replacement for the in-person creative instigation I was missing. Unfortunately though, she stopped publishing her blog daily at the start of 2011.
Jan responded to my subsequent complaints about not blogging by suggesting I spend time on Facebook, where she WAS more active (we remain friends, amazingly, even though Jan doesn’t like Twitter).
In the last two weeks, I skeptically took her up to see if Facebook could be a trigger for how to be more creative. Lo and behold, two of Jan’s recent status updates fulfilled my creative instigation needs completely.
Creative Instigation with Jan Harness Number 1
Jan recently complained of a writer’s block in a Facebook status update she wrote. I took her status update to a creative extreme, replying she couldn’t have writer’s block since she had obviously just WRITTEN a Facebook status update. The back and forth comments made me think of the Monty Python argument clinic comedy sketch about what defines an argument.
It triggered my own mini-version of the Monty Python argument clinic comedy sketch re-imagined as being about how you define what writer’s block is and isn’t.
Who knows if Jan thought the exchange was funny, but I was giggling over it!
Creative Instigation with Jan Harness Number 2
Jan later posted the Facebook status update below about how humans try to visually solve for misspellings. This tendency pushes us to see the expected answer, triggering my reply. I’d never really though before about creativity potentially reflecting an ability to not automatically see an expected answer, but to be able to discern and embrace multiple answers outside the norm.
While I’m not sure what Jan’s personal approach is on who she friends on Facebook, she’s now writing the Creative Instigation blog a somewhat more frequently, so it’s worth signing up for her email and benefiting from the creative value of her insights as often as you can! - Mike Brown
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