Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Thanks Maggi for another great link on An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. As one who sees myself enjoying creativity, I needed to hear a lot of what was said there. Thinking of an incomplete reply or response .. we’ll see.

Picked out some stuff that “struck me” (but read the whole thing!!)

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4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

13. Slow down.
Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

25. Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard Cohen calls a ‘charming artifact of the past.’

42. Remember.
Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

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2 Responses to Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

  1. Ben says:

    Whoa, some insight on memory indeed! Very interesting; I never saw memory in that sort of light before…

    To me, memory is like something frozen forever in the past. It never quite occured to me that the very causes the lead to the formation of memory (degrading and intercomposing), and which give it it’s ‘past’ quality, are precisely what makes it ‘new’!

    This ‘potential for growth’ that each memory has, makes it more like a seed ready for cultivation rather than the image of a tree that once was, but is now dead. How very intriguing!

  2. maggi says:

    hey, sivin – R U coming anywhere near Cambridge on your trip next week?

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