Creative Caffeine

A dose of creativity stimulation

 to ignite fresh thinking

Tales from Dragon Slayers: How to apply creative thinking for results

The crumble of black seeds I hold in my palm are supposed to produce the best granadillas in the country. Large, juicy, and sweet with the perfect amount of tanginess. I’m eager to propagate my favourite fruit.

Yet, a year later, I have nothing.

So many seeds but no fruit. Not even a leafy vine.

Was I swindled by the kindly nursery worker at the garden centre?

No. The seeds were truly fantastic.

The problem is… I didn’t water my seeds.

Simple science.

Stuck in the same patterns of thinking and behaviour?

Not experiencing the growth you desire?

You may have a watering issue.

I can relate!

Like with my seeds, the desire for fruit is just wishful thinking unless I water my learning with action.

Learning new things but doing nothing about it is like putting seeds in a pot in your room and forgetting about them. The seeds may draw some water out of the soil, or perhaps someone else may water them, if you’re lucky. The most likely scenario is your seeds will dry...

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Blueprint for Thriving: Design Your Life Like an Architect

 “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This probing question is not just for youngsters. In our Creative Thinking Workshops, we hear people in their 30s, 50s or even 70s ask themselves the same question. A sense of stuckness leaves a yearning for more responsibility, new scenery, a new role, a side hustle, or a different career altogether.

They are asking,

“How can I use my creative thinking to design a life where I can thrive at any age?”

I too asked myself this question several years ago as I contemplated a transition out of a long and fulfilling career as a professional architect. I had spent two and a half decades studying and practicing architecture. It had been a satisfying journey but I was ready for a change.

Could my training and experience in design thinking help me craft a new path? Can life can be approached like an architectural design problem?

The answer was a definitive 'yes.'

I found many of the practices and principles I learned as...

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How hurry kills creativity and what to do about it

creative practice Apr 05, 2023

When I first heard the title of the book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, it immediately resonated with me. Perhaps it has already captivated you as well. This year I feel that I am moving a little too fast. How can it be April already? So much has happened so far this year and everyone I speak to seems to be operating like a person with their clothes on fire.

I think this gif captures the mood of the year so far very well.

A potential client said recently: "We just don’t have time to be creative."

I thought: "You don’t have time not to!"

Hurrying is a state of mind. It is that foreboding sense that your huge to-do list is towering over you, casting a cartoonish monster shadow over your day. Everything must be done quick, quick, quick. Even as you are doing a task, you are thinking about the next task to be done. As a big-city dweller, I pick up this same sense of urgency from the people around me. I imagine it is the same in most big cities.

Signs to look out...

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Embrace your weirdness


Theodor Seuss Geisel wanted to make reading fun. The children’s books of his time were mind-numbingly ordinary “Dick and Jane” type books. Dick and Jane were two sensible children who did predictable things and always obeyed the rules.

Geisel had other ideas for children’s books, weird ideas. He thought up strange characters doing odd things. He concocted unusual poetic meters and bizarre artwork.

In 1957 he wrote The Cat in the Hat under the name Dr. Seuss (pronounced ‘Zoyce’ like voice – yes, really). The book was rejected by several publishers for being too unconventional. His work was too weird! But when he eventually found a publisher, the book was an instant success. Children loved this strange cat who turns a cold, wet day into a day of fun and mischief. The Cat in the Hat is still one of my favourite books. It’s hard to believe that it was published in the 50s, it still feels so fresh and contemporary.


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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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Help! It is too early in the year to be this depleted.

creative practice Jan 25, 2021

 It is a truth universally acknowledged that a new year should begin with a fresh supply of hope, ambitious resolutions, and the energy to get them going. This is somehow stitched into the fabric of our understanding of how the world should work. We feel entitled to this kind of start to a year. Shouldn’t we be?

It turns out that, no, we are not. It turns out that the world may sometimes twist and turn in wonky, unexpected ways and it is up to us to build the resilience and creativity to deal with it.

Does this sound familiar?

  • It’s not even the end of January yet, and I’m already worn out.
  • I’m feeling spent.
  • I’m so over this year. Can’t we skip forward to 2022?

The mental health charity Mind has found that more than half of adults in the UK (60%) and over two-thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during lockdown.  This was amplified when people had to go back into lockdown unexpectedly right in the middle of...

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