Friday, May 24, 2013

Metronomes & Analogy

Check out this video.

For a full run-down of what's happening and another larger example, check out this article on NPR.

The Little Metronome That Wouldn't

Those who've known me for any length of time, know that I like analogies.  Particularly bad ones.  However, breaking down complex ideas or systems by comparing their relationships to other (usually simpler) observable  systems yields surprising results.  It forces the mind into a state where it questions relationships and promotes free-form thinking.

I had a similar experience when watching this video.  How does it relate to leadership?
  • One viewer could interpret the metronomes eventually synchronicity as a strong analogy for leadership.  The leader could be represented in the flexibility of the surface, allowing each member of the team to find a rhythm that suits the goal/objective.
  • Another viewer could interpret the exact opposite.  They could easily view this as micromanagement.  Has each metronomes individuality been crushed?  Have they been forced into synchronicity rather than being allowed to maintain their own rhythm?
For my part, I think both judgments are fair.  This is what we call a "sucker's choice."  A strong leader does not simply choose between A & B.  The strong leader recognizes the circumstances that are most effective for the individual, team or project and then weighs their choices.

Sometimes a consistent cadence is required.

Sometimes a more chaotic structure will yield the best results.

In light of the video above, it appears that timing is everything.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creative Reading

Inspiration is a prime / consistent pursuit of every creative individual.  I normally reserve this space (this blog) for my own mental gymnastics.  However, there are also occasions where I simply want to point out what others have done -- especially when they communicate so much better than I.

While reading both of these books, I recognized that tthey represent a lot of key ideas and questions that all creatives face in their work.  Everyone.  Aspiring professionals and veterans alike.  I wanted to recommend these books, not only for the brilliant ideas they communicate, but also for the moments of mental clarity that they can provide.

We are frequently so deep in our work that we fail to pull back and appreciate the creative process itself.  Too frequently, the work itself becomes the process, the means by which to do more work.  As an alternative, these books offer a chance to look at your creativity, your process and then allow those elements to influence your work.

Then again, I realize that not every creative individual enjoys reading.  For those who fit this category, just check out this video.  It's old, but still just as brilliant.