June 4, 2020


SMW employees


COVID-19 has presented the global economy at the micro level and the everyday life of the individual at the micro level with an appropriate share of challenges. The pandemic will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease, but many industry leaders are looking for the silver lining.

While #SMWONE, Lucy Walker, an award winning filmmaker and curator of TEDxVenice Beach, Gray west& # 39; S Alex Morrison and Rodrigo Jatene, and Tiffany Shlain Emmy-nominated filmmaker, speaker and Webby Awards The founders came together to investigate how dissonances in our daily experience lead to the development of creativity, inventions and new approaches to the world.

Here are the key findings and insights:

  • Disruptive changes can lead to creative discoveries
  • Options are not your friends
  • One of the most beneficial qualities of being human is adaptability

Restrictions can release creativity rather than inhibit it

In sharing each of their personal experiences of encountering constraints, the panel unanimously agreed that constraints can often be liberating from a disturbing obstacle.

Shlain, for example, took a trip back in time to tell the story of how the webbys got known for their five-word acceptance speech and how the idea was conceived. With regard to her filmmaking, she describes restrictions for short films as "liberating". "I love the challenge of reducing a very complicated topic to a finite amount of time."

Walker interfered through a similar lens in her documentary work: "Options are not your girlfriend. The essence of creativity is compulsion and getting creative with what you have is what it is all about. "

In the advertising world, the main limitation is the creative mandate that Jatene described. “The job is the ultimate constraint. It sets limits on a topic and forces you to channel your creativity one way and not the other, ”he said. "We have to be limited to become limitless." In other words, the lack of restrictions can affect creativity.

Bending, breaking and mixing

Walker referred to this during the conversation David Eagleman, world-famous neuroscientist and best-selling author of the New York Times, and his view that novel experiences are all about strengthening your memory. In his book The Runaway Species, which he wrote together with a music composer, he goes into this subject further Anthony Brandtthat examines the behavior of the brain behind human creativity – especially a framework driven by the concepts of "bending", "breaking" and "mixing".

“In the documentary, we make all the gowns for the Met Gala out of two pieces of garbage, but I choose this. It's amazing how you can put puzzle pieces together that shouldn't fit, ”said Walker. From personal experience it is known that Jatene bends the rules of the sales letter in order to explore the different perspectives within the confines of this very limited space.

Shlain described her own process of cloud filmmaking and a new project she is working on – a call and answer video about the pandemic asking people to record their answers and ask questions they are most afraid of , the best act of creativity or kindness they have seen and what is the best thing that will come. She described that the most difficult part of this process is the creative mix required for editing to accurately portray the humanity, fear, hope, and kindness that we experience. "One week I thought I was going to make a film, but the mood the next week will be completely different."

“The classic test for creativity is the idea of ​​how many things you can do with a brick, and it really feels that way at the moment. Your first ideas are probably pretty obvious, but the closer you look and the more you pay attention, the more exciting you will discover. "At first there was the novelty of everything, but to really overcome the mess and be creative, you have to figuratively use your brick to take a whole, break it apart and put something new together from the fragments.

Lean into your passions to adjust

"Before the pandemic, we were far from what was important in our society and in our own lives," Shlain said. She personally baked homemade bread with her children while Walker started fermenting to make her own natto and yogurt. For the group, these simple, passionate activities can pave the way for breakthroughs: “To unlock a door, you may need to become a yogurt maker. The history of the breakthroughs is littered with people who had strange hobbies that led to great scientific discoveries, ”Walker explained.

For Jatene, he enjoyed designing what was his first love and running, for which he has had no time until now. He also enjoyed teaching with his children at home and bringing his creativity to work to inspire them to see what they are learning from a different perspective and to enjoy schoolwork.

The big advantage: Even in times of silence or isolation, we can find ways to be creative, and starting can be as simple as physically putting down our phones so that we can devote time to what really inspires and makes us happy really feel us.

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