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Effort vs. value

From: Creativity Training: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity and Quality

Video: Effort vs. value

Let's look at the most subjective obstacle The hard truth is that creativity is an expense. During that time, you filled your energy tank, with inspiration.

Effort vs. value

Let's look at the most subjective obstacle we're sure to encounter, effort versus value. The hard truth is that creativity is an expense. It comes at the cost of time, energy, and passion. All finite resources. While we may believe that all problems deserve a relevant and novel solution, we have to weigh which problems deserve our full creative attention and which are better left to another day. Remember back to a time when you had an experience that filled your emotional and spiritual tank.

Could have been summer camp when you were a kid or an especially fulfilling conference as a creative adult. During that time, you filled your energy tank, with inspiration. When you return to normal life, you were motivated to jump into action, releasing that energy upon a poor, unsuspecting problem. But over time, that energy waned. Your motivation lessened and your inspiration faded. This is completely human and easily explained. Your tank emptied. Now think back to the problem you solved immediately upon your return.

Looking back, was it worthy of your creative best? Or in hindsight do you wish you would have tackled another problem when your tank was full? This is the battle of effort versus value. And now just which problems to solve, also in which solution nuance is worth fighting for and which is worth compromising for the bigger picture? Let's illustrate this with an exercise. You're going to need a piece of paper and a writing utensil, so if you need to pause a movie to retrieve those, do so now. Are you ready? Great. This exercise is called Ultimate Desk and it's going to take six minutes.

You've been sitting behind a desk of some form for almost your entire professional life. Well, it's time for a desk upgrade. And your just the person to solve it. You're charged with designing the ultimate desk. Money is no object so go nuts. Consider, shape, function, power, the number of appropriate slurpee machines. Whatever your twisted mind can conjure up. The only rule is that it has to actually perform the function of a desk in some way. You've got six minutes to design the ultimate desk. Ready? Pause the movie now, and go for it.

Now, take a look at your desk. You most likely have a myriad of cool features attached to it. Some are probably more defining than others. I want you to circle or mark those features, the ones that are seminal to your design. I had the Lynda team do their version of the ultimate desk. And this is what they came up with. So I'm going to mark four features. Let's say IMAX monitor. Let's say teleporter.

Let's say slide from upstairs conference room. And let's say the touch screen desk. Move things around. These are the ones that define their design. Do you have yours marked? Now imagine I tell you that half of those have to go. Which ones would you be willing to sacrifice in order to keep the others? In this particular design, I would probably have to get rid of the slide for sure. And now it's a tossup.

Now, I think I've gotta get rid of the teleporter pod so that i can keep that touchscreen desk, and that giant Imax screen. Was it easy for you to define which ones that you would choose? If so, you're well on your way to understanding the obstacle of effort versus value. Know which solutions are worth emptying your tank for, and which ones you can sacrifice for the grander solution.

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