Of our three pumpkins this year, we only carved one. Another was already rotten, and while the third, which our neighbor gave us, looked great, we decided to simply put it uncarved on the porch.

Squirrels began eating the two pumpkins immediately, starting with the one I carved. The design was ruined within one night. After Halloween, they started in earnest on the uncarved pumpkin.

On the way to church Sunday morning, I joked with my wife that we should take a funny picture of the pumpkin since, based on the design, we obviously had the stupidest, most uncreative squirrels in the world.

Yesterday afternoon, taking pictures from different angles, it was apparent that maybe I hadn’t given our squirrels enough credit. Looking at the pumpkin from a different vantage point, it seemed our squirrels might be more creative than originally suspected.

Turning the pumpkin on its side, it was clear that our very smart, very innovative squirrels had made a creative decision to carve the pumpkin from an alternative angle, using the stem as the pumpkin’s nose.

All of a sudden, I felt intense pride in our Prairie Village squirrels!

This squirrelly story’s moral? How often do we become the NO to the creativity and innovative efforts of others because we make quick judgments and suspect something’s bad simply because we don’t share their creative sensibilities? Probably way too many times.

Next time you think there’s nothing creative in what’s been presented to you, hold your opinion, listen to your creative team member, see the creation from their view, and find out if maybe, just maybe, your first impression was wrong! – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “Creative Quickie – A Squirrelly Story”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What an awesome blog. Great example of shifting perspective. Brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

  2. Jan says:

    Perspective is astonishing, in art and in day-to-day life. We see what we want to see, or at least what we’re open to seeing.

    If you think the squirrels you’re working with or living with are idiots, you’ll see their stupidity. And every glance at the “pumpkin” will reinforce just how stupid they are. On the other hand, if you think they’re brilliant, you see their actions — and the results — in a completely different light. And what a joy!

    Fun post! (And you’ve expanded your creative team to include squirrels. Who’d have thought?)

  3. Mike Brown says:

    Thanks for the comments!

    As I’ve told some people, I’d love to say I was creative enough to have fictionalized this post, but it’s reported exactly as it happened. The squirrels have continued to work on the pumpkin, and last night when I got home, they’d turned it back to its regular orientation. Not sure what they have in mind!


  4. Mike Brown says:

    From a Twitter exchange:

    From @imixitup@pogue http://twitpic.com/2j6ck – Squirrel can’t tell his head from a hole in the jar

    From @Brainzooming – Here’s a demonstration that some squirrels are smarter than you think: http://tinyurl.com/bgq77h

    From @imixitup – is that an image of the virgin mary? lol

    From @Brainzooming – Not the BVM, looks more like Mr. Bill to me. Oh Noooooooooo!

    From @imixitup – good, cuz if a squirrel could gnaw an image of BVM i’d completely freak! Might even start going back to church. #sorrymom


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