Did You Catch the Creativity Secrets in the Countdown?

As part of the countdown for our last Patreon offer for new members, I did a series of photos featuring our penguins and numbers. Each photo had Easter eggs related to creativity in them. Do you know what those Easter Eggs were?

Penguins with the number 10
Penguins with the number 10

Number 10: All of these penguins are sitting on a couch. They’re comfortable. Because they are comfortable, they are ready to create. Getting comfortable is especially important in industrial creativity because being creative is risky, and people who are worried about losing their jobs aren’t going to take risks.

Penguins out of the box cat inside
Penguins out of the box, cat inside

Number 9: Thinking outside the box is great when being creative, but sometimes, what’s left inside the box can be just as surprising. If you’re interested in the learning portion, a number with an exclamation point beside it is a factorial. That means you’re supposed to multiply the number by every number below, i.e. 9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1.

Our penguins welcome a new penguin
Our penguins welcome a new penguin

Number 8: Just like our penguins welcome a new penguin (Did you notice the new penguin? It still needs a name), you need to welcome new ideas. Don’t be afraid of what’s new, embrace it like a stuffed penguin would embrace you.

Penguins in a huddle with the number 7
Penguins in a huddle with the number 7

Number 7: Most creativity results form some sort of collaboration. The Muppets weren’t just Jim Henson; they were also Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, and a host of other puppeteers. Grab a few collaborators and make beautiful music, art or whatever together.

Penguins with globe and cat
Where should we go next?

Number 6: Travel is a great way to jump start your creativity. You get exposed to new cultures, foods and ideas. Think about them enough, and they can result in new ideas.

Penguins brainstorming creativity
Penguins brainstorming creativity

Number 5: Brainstorming is one of the quickest ways to get a lot of ideas. Be sure to have someone record them. You can even do it by yourself.

Tea Party with the Penguins
Tea Party with the Penguins

Number 4: Being childlike is important to creativity and remaining young. Have a tea party with your stuffed pals and invite friends along. Find a way to play make believe. And if a tea party makes you think of Alice, she’s a great role model because she’s curious. Be curious. (Bonus Easter Egg: Check out the cups and find a surprise that is correlated with greater creativity. Don’t laugh when you see it, or do, actually, laughing might be better.)

Penguin taking a group photo
Penguin taking a group photo

Number 3: These penguins are recording their time together with a photo. You should record your ideas when they occur to you. Always have a pen and paper handy or make a note on your phone. Don’t let the idea get away, record it somehow.

penguins with books
penguins with books

Number 2: Books can be a great way to continue learning or to find inspiration. Books also allow you to exercise your imagination. Read a little every day and change up your genres to keep your creativity function at a higher level.

Penguins number 1
Penguins number 1

Number 1: You’ve got to set aside time for your creativity, and that time needs to be guarded against the intrusions of everything that would distract you. It’s hard to do, but giving yourself an hour to do something creative every day will improve your creativity.

Which Easter eggs did you spot that we missed? Leave a comment and let us know.

Need to Be More Creative? Join Our Team within the Next 7 days

Teamwork makes the dream work! By joining our Patreon before July 31, you’ll be pushing me to write more about creative. For a limited time (the next 7 days), I will write an additional article on creativity for every 5 people that join our Patreon.

The creative process is often more collaborative than is portrayed in the stories we’ve been told. Even if someone creates something in a studio with no one else around, that person has interacted with others who have shaped him or her. The idea came from somewhere. What Isaac Newton said about science (a concept traced back to Bernard of Chartres) is just as true for art: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

As part of our team, you are allowing Jenya and I to be more creative and to create more – books, stories and penguins. You will also be getting articles about becoming more creative. The Secrets of Creativity series on Patreon is for Patrons only. There are supplements to the series on my blog.

If you join at the $5 level, you even get to ask any question you want about the creativity process, what it takes to be more creative, and how penguins jump so high out of the water (or whatever other topic comes to mind). One article is already waiting to published August 14! Join now, bring your friends, and let’s get dangerous… creatively speaking.

‘Luv’ Opens the Lines of Communication at Southwest Airlines

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  While attribution of this quote is problematic, Southwest Airlines has taken the message to heart.  Starting with “Luv,” Southwest Airlines employees and guests are treated with respect and care.

Love helps to open the lines of communication by softening people’s defenses.  When people know that their managers care about them as people, they are more likely to reveal problems more quickly.  Information is able to move faster, which allows problems to be solved before they can get out of hand.

Part of caring for people is listening to them.  When someone really listens, the person who is speaking feels valued.  For leaders, this quality is invaluable.  It is also critical for the people who handle complaints to listen.  Sometimes, that simple act followed by an apology can help create enough good will that the person making the complaint will be more open to a solution that is equitable for all involved.

By providing guests with information about  why a flight has been delayed, Southwest is able to express their love for their customers.  Everyone in the organization is aware that without flyers, there would be no airline.  Creating an atmosphere where there can be no complaints is difficult, and when a situation arises where a legitimate complaint is made, it is important to listen to the person before trying to solve the problem.

All information is compiled from “Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.

Internal Communications at Southwest Airlines Keeps Everyone on the Same Page

Southwest Airlines believes in giving their employees more information rather than less.  Spreading information throughout the company equips front line employees to make better decisions.

The corporate newsletter “Luv Lines” has several sections to it.  “The Learning Edge” features learning through stories and metaphors.  “How Do We Rate” features the statistics that are important to airlines like the number of bags lost and how the planes are doing with being on time.  “Industry News” helps everyone stay up to date on what other airlines are doing, and “Milestones” features accomplishments, of which employees can be proud.  The airline has also put out quarterly videos called “As the Plane Turns.”

Face-to-face communication is important for Southwest Airlines.  Rather than writing a memo, people are encouraged to talk to each other and just get it done.  This type of communication helps Southwest to make decisions faster.

Another way that Southwest has increased the speed of communication is by limiting the layers of management.  Too many managers can cause a distortion in the message that someone is trying to send.  Like the “telephone game,” the message changes as it moves up the management chain.  By keeping the layers of management small, the airline is able to minimize miscommunication because there is less congestion in the communication channels.

All information is compiled from “Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.

Communication Keeps Southwest Airlines Flying High

Southwest Airlines has built a culture based on communication. Chairman Herb Kelleher insists on absolutely honest communication with employees. When Southwest started in Texas, they faced impediments to starting up that were instigated by the competition, but they succeeded in getting the proper authorizations to run flights in Texas.

In order to keep prices low, the airline had to turn its planes around in ten minutes. The industry said it was impossible. Because Southwest employees did not know it couldn’t be done, they were able to turn planes around quicker than any other airline.

The standard turn around for Southwest is now 15 minutes because airports have become more congested. The effort to get a plane turned around in that time requires open communication and teamwork from all employees on the plane – even the pilots help unload the baggage. Southwest has cultivated a casual atmosphere that has allowed employees the opportunity to talk to their managers and those higher up in the company. It is this casual atmosphere, as demonstrated by their uniforms and the fact that everyone uses first names, combined with the empowerment of employees that allows the company to make decisions quickly.

Kelleher has a reputation for thinking and talking straight. His honesty and actions have allowed employees and unions to negotiate in good faith with one another. When the pilots agreed to have their pay frozen, Kelleher froze his own pay. It is actions like these that help employees know that the company is a team. It isn’t employees versus management. It is everyone working together to create a better, more profitable company.

All information is compiled from “Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.