the Varoom Varoom lounge
a collection of creative thinking resources
the Varoom Varoom lounge
"Placebos create the expectation of recovery."

From Mind Field

Placebos work.  Often as well as the real thing.

It occurs to me that a placebo of sorts could help at that stage in the creative process when fear or despondency can get the better of one.  

Are hypotheses a form of placebo?


She finds this lightness, this relinquishing of control, difficult to achieve, especially since it cannot be accomplished by simple effort. Her mind does not naturally float about without direction: it is a machine designed for analytic thought.

“I like my world, and particularly my inner world, to be organized,” she says. “I like filing systems. But the whole process of writing novels is the opposite of that—it’s do not label, do not define, do not decide, leave everything loose. You have to say to yourself, I take my hands off, I let my unconscious work for me. It’s desperately uncomfortable!

Difficult as it is for her to be loose, it is even more difficult for her to be lazy; but that, too, is something she has had to learn to become, because the best ideas come to her when her mind is idle.

From an interview with Hilary Mantel by Larissa Macfarquhar

…. what Schön called ‘reflection in action’ -

He discovered that the work of skilled professionals did not consist in having a sudden revelation, but in trying things out, talking things through, playing about, testing ideas and so allowing the ‘right’ solution to emerge.

To do this as a group requires that its members practise certain habits. They need to listen well, to avoid becoming too attached to their own ideas, to accept uncertainty and to take risks.

Holding the conversational space open until a consensus emerges, and staying open to data or observations that invite us to consider that we may have been mistaken, are not things that all agency or marketing people find easy to do.

But it may be that the best chance of improving the quality of advertising decisions lies in paying attention to these processes and seeking to improve them.

Paul Feldwick via David Warren’s blog
"Ed Catmull, president of Pixar (a company that knows a thing or two about building long-term value through creativity), describes the fallacy of an individual creative genius with a singular idea.
The complexity of product development involves so many ideas that what is required is an ideas-from-anywhere approach, a large multi-disciplinary group, behaving creatively, marshalled around a vision, working together as a team to solve a large number of problems.
Constant effort to avoid error is counter-productive, meaning it’s better to fix problems than to solve them, and the creative leader’s role is to facilitate the group, to mix things up, but keep the vision clear: “When we say we are director led…the way we can tell when they are not leading is if people say they are not following.”"


I agree.  Good creative facilitation is key to driving decent collaboration between specialists and input from across the board, whilst helps avoid the ‘death by committee’ trap. Also, having a basic idea development process to guide the group helps too.  It allows specialists and generalists each to play their role along the pipeline,  strengthening the output versus diluting it.


Brainstorming is just the start
A 'professional' doodling tool
Some good principles
"With me, if it’s a good idea and I don’t have it right, I stay with it. You have to be patient, just keep erasing what you don’t like. At a certain point it becomes alive, and you know the problems are solvable with solutions you may have used before. That’s my songwriting process."

Paul Simon on songwriting

Thanks to Damian for the full story link on how artists start creating…their first drafts of an artwork or project