Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Creative Courage with Welby Altidor, Cirque de Soleil #trgconf

These are my live-blogged notes from the second day keynote session at Training 2016, happening this week in Orlando. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Creative Courage with Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director at Cirque de Soleil 

Unccovering innovation through engagement, collaboration, and controlled failure —  and how it can apply to, and change, our approach to both training and business.

In most of us, creative super powers are there, but often dormant.

When we think about geniuses, we think Picasso, Rosa Parks, Einstein, Emmett Brown ;) -- we think of the cliche of the lone genius. And not to diminish the genius of these people, but we can also tap into our own genius superpowers.

"The future of innovation is no longer in the hands of the scientists, artists, or designers working alone in a lab, loft or studio...It is a creative, collective, humanist enterprise that seeks to find new solutions to the problems of our planets and its future." ~ Lucas Dietrich

The world in which we live is constantly evolving.

How can we start to co-create? How can we enlist the people we're trying to reach out to? How can we pull them into the creative process?

There's a huge taboo when we talk about collaboration. When we talk about creating true collaborative culture, we're talking about egos, power struggles, red tapes...

Our ability to create collaborative culture impacts our entire life.

The mindset he tries to practice or apply: "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." ~ Sir Ken Robinson

This is the root of creative courage. And you can practice this.

Creative confidence is the ability to believe that you can change the world around you (the guys from IDEO said this).

Let go of perfection. Put things out there and iterate on them.

What it means to be creative -- to be faced with absolutely complex and near-impossible problems and to realize that to solve those problems, there's no instructional manuals and you'll need to make it up.

Place the bar where it feels a little bit impossible.

At Cirque, his role is to push people farther in their roles and their designs as he works across many teams. So how does he do that?

Ask the DUMB questions; make the DUMB comments. Don't squelch the voice that says, "don't say that idea -- that will sound ridiculous." Very often, it's those seemingly silly ideas that trigger the chain reactions that lead to great ideas. Putting that out there encourages the rest of the team to adopt that behavior."

IDEAS love to hang out together. They love to mingle, make love, and create new ideas. Whenever you can, put out a number of ideas. Put stuff out there that might sound silly but could be really powerful.

The more you let really talented people around you GROW, the more it will let you grow. Think about the people on your team, your projects -- how can you make a more fertile ground for that genius to be expressed. Create space to allow people to grow. Constantly recruit people that have amazing skills and who could potentially replace you.

PROGRAM FAILURE.  Put yourself in a situation to get early feedback in order to make it better.

ABOUT WHO? WHAT STORY? Don't forget what the project is about. When we started this project, what was it really about? Are we still connected to that objective?

BREAK RULES. But not your principles. You need to know what your principles are; you need to know what matters to you. Rules have an expiration date. They had  rule that it wouldn't take less than 36 months to put on a show. Are you clear what principles are driving that rule?

In every project, add an element that pushes the boundaries. He calls this PUNK ROCK (even though, as he says, he's not wearing a mohawk or chains). Can you add an element of punk rock? Put some of that attitude into the project - your audience will feel it and be grateful.

TRANSCEND SIGNATURE. Do we want to push out things that are new or meaningful? When we do our best work, there's often something at the end that surprises us.

"As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own..." ~ Amy Poehler

Create space to let teams shine as much as possible. 

You have very little power to control things. But you do have infinite power to influence. That force of influence is really based on your ability to foster this notion of creative courage in others. 

Behind the Scenes: Jay Shuster on The Creative Process at PIXAR #trgconf

These are my live-blogged notes from the second day keynote session at Training 2016, happening this week in Orlando. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Behind the Scenes: Jay Shuster on The Creative Process at PIXAR #trgconf

The story is central to Pixar. Jay's in the art department as the production designer – his team designs everything you see on the screen.

“make it great.”

Pixar goes into a film without a locked script. Art and story work so closely together. Art informs script.

“We never finish a movie. We just release it.” ~ John Lasseter

They have a big team with a lot of nerds, and people who are really good at what they do. 

“Hire people smarter than yourself.” Everyone becomes a designer of a film.

PU Tube – find people talking about their projects. Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned. Always access this stuff to learn from what we’ve done along the way.

“art challenges the technology…technology inspires the art."

And always have fun doing what you do.

Design of the building – the left wing is the left brain – “the smartests” and the right wing is the right brain -- “the artists”. With a place to connect in the atrium.

Toy collections at Pixar are like a status symbol.

“Fail forward – bad ideas are fuel for good ideas.” Andrew Stanton (making mistakes!)

Trust – he spent months working on drawings for Wall-e.

Owning what you do.

Keep it loose. At Pixar, what impressed him was how loose things were – napkins with stains become the main drawing. Communicate the ideas however you want.

“Do your homework.” – go to Toys R Us and buy a ton of toys. Go study mars rovers. 

Storyboards are the currency – how ideas are bought and sold at Pixar. Even if they’re super loose, they all communicate stories.

Over 100,000 storyboards on every project. One guy pitched the same sequence 32 times.

In the early stages, they get all their employees to watch the film and take notes and ask questions.

“No” gets said after months of work. But the story dictates…

Things flow as people contribute their own skillset.

“It turns out, it’s a beautiful film.” [Wall-e]

“Pain is temporary. SUCK is forever.” – this is the overarching ideal. We’ve got to everything on the screen kind of perfect, because it’s going to be up there for a long time. That’s where the neurosis comes from.

Everything we do comes from that quote by the founding fathers: “make it great.”

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cammy at Training 2016 #trgconf

Check it out! I'll be at Training 2016 next week: February 15-16 in Orlando, Florida.

This is Training Magazine’s 39th annual conference & expo, and it’s sure to be magical given the proximity to the Magic Kingdom.

I'll be speaking twice on Tuesday, February 16:

The Accidental Instructional Designer: Designing Better eLearning
8:00-9:00 am, Session 312

Chances are, you didn’t dream of becoming a designer of eLearning when you grew up, did you? Most instructional designers in the eLearning business got here by accident. So now that you’re here and doing this work, how can you become a more intentional practitioner? You’ll take a look at four key areas to focus on in order to become a well-rounded eLearning designer, talk about ways that you can take your practice to the next level, and share some quick tips for better eLearning design. 

Avoiding Clicky Clicky Bling Bling: Top Tips for Making eLearning that Shines from the Inside
1:45-2:45 PM, Session 501

Clicky-clicky bling-bling is eLearning with lots of whiz, lots of bang, lots of clicky-clicky in a lame attempt to add pizzazz to dry content and to make it more engaging. Don’t mistake clicky-clicky bling-bling for “engagement.” It’s just shiny wrapping paper covering up a pair of crummy socks with holes in them. Don’t get caught with crummy socks! Get top tips for making eLearning that rises above the bling, looking at strategies for writing, graphics, games, and interactivity.

Both sessions are part of the conference’s Boot Camp track, and are open to all conference attendees.

Stop by, learn a few tidbits, and be sure to say hi!