Creative Innovation is when individuals, duos, or whole wild packs of creatives make novel, meaningful contributions to their fields. Who’s doing it? How do they do it? What are the factors?

Jason Silva gives a shot of awe to #Quest2015


Take a little Bucky Fuller’s visionary views of the planet and architecture and technology, throw in Terrence McKenna’s views of the mind and evolution, and mix it with a Richard Branson-like optimism and an impassioned artist’s fervor and sensibility for imagination and what we make in and of this world, and you get Shots of Awe creator and National Geographic’s Brain Games tv show host Jason Silva.

Media artist. Futurist. Weekly mind-blower. That is Jason Silva. 

Jason is one of the 12 Visionaries I’m bringing to everyone who joins Quest2015 for our adventure this December. 

I’ve written about Jason’s work in my Psychology Today column, and I’m revved up that he’s agreed to come on-board with us.

Wonder’s Larger-Than-Life Cousin

Jason is a leading voice for awe, wonder’s larger-than-life cousin. 

Wonder resides in soft tracks in snow and apple skin. It quietly cracks us open to possibility and reality.

Awe resides in the cosmos, on the breath of Tyrannosaurus Rex, on canyon cliffs, and other places where we’re stunned into stillness and recognize our smallness.

If wonder gives us perspective on seeing our days and cracks of light anew, awe zooms us out into the stratosphere. 

Together, wonder and awe make us “cosmic heroes,” to use Jason’s term.

Here’s a taste of Jason’s “cognitive ecstasy”:

Our Quest2015 Visionary Team

I can’t wait to see how Jason catapults us to imagine 2015 with a shot of awe. Jason joins scientist Todd Kashdan, CEO and philosopher and Iraqi team leader Charlie Gilkey, women’s empowerment leader Tara Mohr, personal growth pioneer Jen Louden, and others on our Quest2015 Visionary Team.

Gain a fresh way to envision your best 12 months far beyond ineffective resolutions, goal-setting, and vision boards. Plus it just might help make this dark December the most illuminating ever. Together.

If you’ve already joined, I cannot wait to begin!

Thanks for running with me,


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How a feeling became a manifesto became a movement #Quest2015

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.52.37 AMEvery once in a while a feeling seizes me. It often comes while writing something seemingly different from the feeling.

Last April, I kept feeling something not just about me but about us. Something to do with our mutual frustration with business as unusual and with the phrase that hasn’t left me for two years – business artist.

I never know what to expect when I follow a feeling, but I didn’t expect the feeling to become a movement.  Read more

Prioritize projects with science of creativity tool

We business artists are blessed and cursed with a generative mind – the ability to come up with lots of ideas.

The singular problem is how to decide which idea to pursue and when. 

Sunni Brown, named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, nailed the problem this way: “Discerning which opportunities to pursue has been a bogeyman in my creative work for years. I just couldn’t settle on the criteria for choosing.”

I get it. About four years ago, a one-year-old girl in tow, business growing, and creative projects brewing, I faced this hard fact one morning: I could not do everything I wanted to do. Now. This year.  And this, too: Some ideas and projects simply needed to slide down the drain with my shaving cream. Was I forsaking my freedom by not doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted? Maybe there could be freedom in shaving off the want-to-do’s and maybe there could be freedom in discerning what to advance and when.

Maybe there could be freedom in shaping a new mindset. This, not that. This pre-sleep habit, not that. This form of exercise, not that. This food, not that. This project, not that.  This, not that – that is the art of discernment. For those of you who lean a little Buddha, the wise guy said that next to intention, discernment is most important to any practice. And for your business artistry, it’s crucial.  Read more

Constant change is not creatively sustainable – O+ Festival case study

O+paradeYou have an idea.

Bring artists and musicians to New York’s first capital city in exchange for free health care from top-notch providers. Maybe you can create a festival that will draw people from around the U.S. and beyond.

But how do execute that idea? More, how do you scale it in a way that’s sustainable beyond being a one-hit wonder?

I wanted to know what happens when a person driven mostly by imagination coupled with the need to survive such an artistic drive finds himself in the role of coordinating a festival that has attracted organizers in Nashville, San Francisco, and Detroit and has drawn musicians as far away as London.

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Fantasies of freedom can trap creatives & entrepreneurs

Freedom-Beach-1280x1024Four-hour work weeks, lounging on a beach while “passive income” streams in.

Fluid days of getting lost in canvases and pages, paintings and books in steady demand.

These fantasies sound dreamy, right?

You’re pressed for time. You’re over-scheduled. You’re inundated. You’re making snail’s progress on projects you care about.

The problem with those structure-less fantasies is that for working entrepreneurs or creatives a toxic resentment creeps in toward obligations to clients or co-workers. Obligations to family. Taking care of the business of life. Prison bars, all of them, that keep them from their fantasy of freedom.

What I say about freedom might irritate you, but here’s what I’ve noticed. Read more

How Business Artists Quest on the Job

2014-01-02 15.06.42Talking about mindset to other people is tricky.

I love to speak to and consult with individuals, groups, and organizations about doing just that – changing how they frame their work and themselves. That frame shapes how they do what they do and potentially changes their environment.

Mindset. Method. Place. It’s not a formula. It’s a working tripod that any individual, group, or organization must consider to lift themselves and one another out of an “eh” work world and possibly toward an “Ah!” work world.

One of the first bits of Southern wisdom I assimilated as a malcontent teenager applies here: Either change your circumstances, or change your mindset. Easier said than done for the less “rosy” among us. To change a mindset incrementally requires a creative cognitive reframe and cognitive tools.

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Story Architecture Meets Tracking Wonder

treehouseWhen Jonah Berger was a teenager,

his grandmother gave him a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (2000). The book tells the story about how ideas become influential. The young Berger relished the intellectual journey Gladwell took him on. He was hooked.

Haven’t you read a book and thought, “How did he do that? How did he cast that spell on me? I want to do that!”  Read more

Why business artists & creatives need to climb trees instead of ladders


My unstoppable productivity can exhaust the best parts of my mind. My “optimized” studio – with standing desk and white board walls and the best digital equipment and the best books at my disposal – sometimes cheers on Captain Productivity a bit too enthusiastically.

To snap the Captain out of his usual modus operandis, I often step outside of that studio self and into the woods. Every three months – April, July, October, and January – I’m certain to spend considerable time at  an outdoors Horizon Spot.

It’s here I ask myself and track notes on key Horizon Questions.

I’m curious: How do you step back and look forward and ask yourself questions like

  • What will you create and how will you be creating differently next year?
  • How will what you create – your books, your programs, your business – engage people differently next year?
  • How will your full creative life have even more meaning and fulfillment next year?
  • How are your present actions lining up with that Horizon?

I know – you’re probably noticing that even when climbing a tree, the Captain shows up with big questions. But this is how I let Captain Productivity and Boy Wonder play together.

In this video, I show you this season’s Horizon Spot and share with you why adventurous creatives and business artists need horizons to awaken one of their survival tools. Below I invite you to find your own spot and share a photo of it.  Read more

The talent every expert & creative needs every day


Open Mind

Open Mind

Would you really want to experience wonder every single day?

An interviewer posed that question. It’s a fair one. I rephrased it for her:

Would you want to experience challenges with more openness and curiosity than constriction? Would you want to experience good surprises, moments of true connection?

What if you could approach your work, your family, and yourself with more open intelligence? Would you want that? 

Every single day?

To me, those questions are variations of the first.

If the answer to the latter questions is “Yes,” then so is the answer to the first.

What does wonder have to do with openness? 

A key talent to tracking wonder relates to openness, and that talent very well may be the talent that every creative professional – especially the experienced one, the expert, the accomplished one – needs to practice every day. Read more

Myths About Writing Talent vs. The Writer’s Inner Game


Myth #1: Successful, gratified writers mostly have talent.

Myth #2: Marketing & platform-building are the most important qualities for any writer to have a long-term career these days.

A few years ago, a question troubled me. Among the many creatives and professionals, especially writers or aspiring writers, I noticed that some writers prevailed over the long run and others didn’t. Read more