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CREATIVE CAFFEINE

A dose of creativity stimulation

 to ignite fresh thinking

Inspiring women

In celebration of Women’s Day in South Africa, we would like to shout out to some of the incredible women in our network who inspire us. These creative thinkers are using their skills and insights to help women around the world grow and by showing us what is possible.

Kgomotso Matsunyane, One Man Studios

Kgomotso is a multi-talented producer, writer, director, editor, businesswoman and television presenter. She hosted the late-night TV shows Pillow Talk and  Late Night with Kgomotso, and afternoon drive radio show, Uncaptured, on Kaya FM. She is a serial entrepreneur and director of production company, One Man Studios. 

Kgomotso uses her influence and network to advocate for Positive Sexual Health through her Golden Triangle Initiative. She has also established a free, public, multimedia Feminist library that archives, documents and celebrates feminism, especially African Feminism.

Kgomotoso introduced us to the THNK School of Creative Leadership, where she attended...

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Work together. Even trees do it!

collaboration Aug 03, 2021

Everything in nature is part of a system

When it comes to creativity, we have a lot to learn from nature, especially when it comes to working together to achieve a better outcome.

German forester, Peter Wohlleben, shone a light on how trees work together in forests his 2016 book, The Hidden Life of Trees. Over a period of 20 years, Wohlleben studied the lives of trees whilst managing a forest in Germany. He learned that trees communicate complex information to one another via smell, taste, and electrical impulses. Rather than standing as lone organisms they form a strong community sharing nutrients via their root systems, ‘nurturing’ younger trees, supporting sick or aging trees, and warning each other of danger.

 

Wohlleben describes this incredible warning system:

“Four decades ago, scientists noticed something on the African savannah. The giraffes there were feeding on umbrella thorn acacias, and the trees didn’t like this one bit....

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How to build Olympian perseverance

Imagine the feeling: You have dreamed of this moment since you were young. You have trained until every muscle in your body has ached. You have pushed through disappointments and overcome obstacles. You’ve hung on through uncertainty and setbacks. Now you are finally here. You enter the brilliantly lit Olympic arena with your teammates, flags flying, smiles beaming. This is it!

The Games show us what’s possible

I love the Olympic Games. I love how people from all over the globe become united by the joy of sports and the thrill of competition. I love being reminded how strong the human spirit can be.  Perseverance is a key element of the creative mindset, and the Olympic athletes have it in spades. Olympians embody the creative edge of pushing past what is possible in terms of human performance. They remind us what we are made of.

There’s another reason the Olympic Games are special to Celia and I; our mother is an Olympian! Our mum, Susan Leuner (nee Roberts),...

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Creativity's Secret Sauce

How to build perseverance and be more creative

One of the qualities I admire most in our great, former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is his patient and courageous perseverance. Despite huge obstacles and setbacks, he never gave up working passionately for his people. He is quoted as saying: “The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.”

When we look at what is happening in South Africa, the obstacles to moving forward can seem oerwhelming. Yet, if we take it one small step at a time and persevere, we are going to recover and rebuild, then grow and thrive. St. Francis of Assisi put it so beautifully when he said:

“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Perseverance is a key to creativity

Perseverance is one of the key mindsets of creative thinkers and innovators. Since creativity pushes us out into the unknown where outcomes are uncertain and risks...

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Yearning to create

I have a fluffy white Maltese-ish dog. Her name is Popcorn. I say ‘ish’ because she is a rescue dog and apparently, she is a mixed breed. She is super cute. I thought I adopted her, but it seems she has adopted me. I am her Person. She follows me everywhere. She is always at my heels. She hops in the car and rides with me wherever I go. She is so cute.

Listen to me! I am supposed to be a cat person, not a dog-person! And not a small-dog person! I don’t know how this happened.

If Popcorn gets shut out of my office somehow, she pines at the door. It’s a forlorn, melancholic sound. She just sits there and yearns, yelping quietly until she gets let in. Oh gosh, she is doing it now. Let me go and let her in…

 

When last did you last have that yearning feeling? (Not the small, craving, like the hankering after your favourite food, but the deep yearning of your soul.) Can you identify what you were yearning for?

Yearning is a kind of...

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Start using creativity-enhancing mind mapping

 

The mind mapping skills that Nessa Temlett learned on our Creativity Wake-Up workshop was the inspiration for her thriving landscaping business.  She told us that the mind maps that we practiced in the workshop reminded her of succulent plants, with their whorls of radiating leaves.  She used the mind mapping techniques to plan her new landscaping business, which is now flourishing. She named her new business, Flourish Gardens by Nessa, and she specialises in succulent and water-wise plants. Nessa says that she continues to use mind mapping to brainstorm new ideas, products and to plan new projects.

It all started with a mind map!

Nessa's successful landscaping business started with this mind map.

“A Mind Map is the ultimate organisational thinking tool. It is the easiest way to put information into your brain and take information out of your brain. It is a creative and effective means of note taking that literally 'maps out' your thoughts,” Tony Buzan, author...

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Discover your creative sparks

When I was about eight years old, I started my first journal. It was a squat, little book with a puffy cover, plain pages and a lock and key. I loved capturing my thoughts on paper, documenting events of the day, articulating prayers, and writing out ideas. Since then, I’ve kept a journal for most of my life.  At school I won a writing competition and had a piece published in a local story compendium. However, it was not until recently that I’ve truly recognised writing as a passion of mine. 

How do you recognise a passion?

A passion is a strong enthusiasm for something. It makes you feel alive. It ‘sparks joy’ for you. It’s something that you don’t get bored of; on the contrary, it often grows stronger over time. Your passion could be for a particular subject matter (e.g. music, birds, or prayer), a sense of mission (e.g. to clean up local rivers and parks), solving problems (e.g. developing low-cost medical supplies), or for people...

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Bring creativity into your home

A mother and her young daughter were once driving up a quiet mountain pass when they came upon a traffic jam. As they rounded a corner, they could see that a large truck could not fit under the short tunnel up ahead. The truck could not reverse back down the winding pass, nor could it move forward into the tunnel. It was just a tiny bit too tall, and it was stuck.

The mother groaned in frustration, whilst her daughter lit up with wonder at the scene in front of them. There were police, fire trucks, a crane, lots of flashing lights, and uniformed people. “Please can we go see, mummy!” she cried. “Oh alright,” the mother replied. We aren’t going anywhere quickly.” The child raced towards the scene, with her mother tramping behind her, worrying about being stuck up there all day.

 

After getting a closer a look at the truck, the mother and daughter went to talk to a fireman. “What are you going to do?’ asked the mother. The...

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A curious case of the creeps

I generally don’t think about insects very much at all. I moan about mosquitos. I hate flies. I love butterflies and moths. Bees are my favourite. They rock. Paper mites give me the creeps. That’s about the extent of it.

Do you think about insects ? Are you curious about them?

I few months ago, I decided to cocoon my insect-related ignorance and apathy (defined "I don't know and I don't care") and to transform it through curiosity into wonder and delight. The impact was a fresh and hopeful perspective, newfound interest, and the widening of my world.

Do these outcomes  sound attractive to you?

Then read on, and by all means, please try this at home!


 

Before we get into my insect story, I want to make sure you're not thinking curiosity is just for astrophysicists or kids with lots of time on their hands. Here are three things you should know: 

1. Curiosity is a clear sign of intelligence

In 2011* a study was published in...
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Am I a creative parent?

Last week I had a shoulder operation.

After years of discomfort and restricted movement following a swimming injury, it finally seized up and I could not move it at all. The x-rays showed a large calcification in my tendon which was causing inflammation and stopping movement. No wonder I couldn’t swim faster!

I am relieved that I finally know what was wrong and that I was able to have the obstruction removed and the bone shaved to make more room in there. However, I am also frustrated that I’ve spent so much time and money over the last few years seeing physiotherapists, biokineticists, and chiropractors whose hard work was not going to solve my problem.

The intention was good, but the solutions were not helping.

When it comes to my kids, I don’t want to have those kinds of regrets. I don’t want to look back when they’ve grown up and think: Oh dear, my intention was good, but all along I was applying the wrong kind of parenting!

Parenting is tough,...

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