Creativity is a blue collar profession

Creatives have opportunities right now that we haven’t seen since the industrial revolution and we’re blowing it. This episode is a continuation of Episode 1 ‘Lightbulbs are bullsh*t’ that goes beyond understanding your creative process to look at how to find better insights that will lead to better ideas.

Listen now:

Show Notes:

There have been 2 recent shifts in the creative industry

– We value ‘beauty’ in design over everything and crave the instant gratification learned from social media
– We are in a time when creatives haven’t this prominent a role in business since the industrial revolution

Part 1: Develop your palette

– You have to constantly consume your creative medium to develop and refine your palette
– You can’t start putting in the work only when the opportunity presents itself
– It’s like an athlete in the off season – a lot of work no one sees waiting for the moments when it all gets put to use

Social media can be a great way to develop your palette

– Make it a ritual and part of your day or part of your process
– Its a big reason why I write my weekly inspirations
– Facebook is personal, Twitter and Pinterest are professional, Instagram is half and half
– You have to follow the right people to keep good material flowing through your feed


– I know I’m probably the only man in America tat uses Pinterest  – for me, it’s a huge living mood board
– Pinterest fails the creative process because everything is static and only judged on its visual merits
– Only use Pinterest as a thought starter – not a fodder for work you are going to copy or think that just being pretty is good enough
– Most people struggle with the lack of structure
– You have to create your own structure that works for you, your process and what inspires you


– Use it to build my brand and stay up to date on what is going on

Flipboard and Appy Geek

– Two great apps for staying up to date
– Both require some setting up and curating to get the right mix of sources


– I collect the articles I like from Twitter, App Geek and Flipboard
– I curate my own news and use it for my weekly inspirations

Part 2: Live the problems

– The first part develops your palette so you have a measuring stick for your work
– It doesn’t give you the insights you need to create great new ideas
– For me, the best way to find those insights is to create as much empathy as you can with the people you are designing for
– I know that I have to live the problem and walk in their shoes to be able to see what others can’t. To see what maybe even the consumers can’t see

I am looking for 4 things

– Look for workarounds and adaptations.
– Look for things people care about.
– Look for things that are missing.
– Look for anything that surprises you.

Look to see if your insights do 1 of 3 things

– Represents an Unmet Need: It points to an area that needs improvement.

– Reveals an ‘Aha!’: Once you state it, it clarifies and simplifies your research.

– Is Not a Solution: While it inspires many ideas, it doesn’t point to a single one.

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