Posted by: Liz Massey | June 13, 2009

Surf’s Up: Top Creativity Links for June 13, 2009


Photo courtesy of SXC.

Symphony in the Flint Hills
Later today, near the little Midwestern farm community of Florence, Kansas, something wonderful is going to happen. On a privately owned ranch nestled in the beautiful Flint Hills, members of the Kansas City Symphony will play an outdoor concert. This is the fourth such concert that’s been held in the area since 1994.

The day will combine outdoor education (nature hikes, presentations on geology, prairie plants, etc.), a “petting zoo” that allows concert-goers to play with symphonic musical instruments, and post-concert activities that include barbecue, stargazing and dancing. The goal of the event is, in the words of Jane Kroger, who organized the first symphony concert in conjunction with her 40th birthday, “To provide an experience of great music in the Flint Hills, and bring together art and environment to nourish the soul. No politics and no hidden agendas; just a simple pairing of music and prairie for an unforgettable and soul-enriching evening.”

I love the idea of this concert on so many levels—the combining of music with education and fun, the community-building aspect of the day (the gates open at noon and food and beverage is going to be served on site until 11 p.m.), and the setting in the Flint Hills. I grew up in the Kansas City area and our family traversed the Flint Hills area at least twice a year to visit my grandparents, who lived in Wichita.

Even better, I may be able to give blog readers a live report from next year’s event! Many thanks to my high school teacher, mentor and long-time friend Sue Kidd for tipping me off to the existence of the Symphony on the Prairie. She has promised to get me a prime volunteer assignment if I show up! Stay tuned!

Firebox Inventor Contest
This may just be the world’s most basic invention contest. Come up with a good idea, send in a sketch/photo/tweet/etc. describing it to Firebox, a London “gadget” company, and you could partner with the company to see your idea produced and sold.

The contest website says it is looking for “all creative geniuses, visionaries, mad scientists, tinkerers, ponderers and garden shed inventors.” A team of judges will evaluate the ideas and the winning idea will be developed, manufactured and sold by Firebox. The inventor whose idea wins will receive 50 percent of the profits for the lifetime of the product!

The competition is open between now and Nov. 20, so you have plenty of time to stir your creative juices and produce something wonderful!

9 Ways People Respond to Your Content Online
Great post on the Lateral Action blog by Rajesh Setty that sketches out how people respond to material online, and how to truly engage them with your stuff. It includes a simple, yet useful diagram that illustrates the levels of engagement with online content, all the way from spam and “skippable” e-mails to content that gets sent, spread and subscribed to.

In the middle of the content-response spectrum (more or less) is “shift,” and I like the way Setty describes it:

“Shift: The article is transformational. The reader is so deeply affected (in a positive way) by the article that it shifts some of their values and beliefs. In other words, this piece of writing will transform the reader and make him or her grow.”

Although I think many artists are very mindful of the way their content is digested, I have encountered plenty of online content producers who are too busy “pushing out” their message to pause and consider whether what they are producing matters to their reader. This article is a wonderful reminder of what our aim should be if we’re using the Web and social media to introduce more people to our work.

Bonus Links!

Adderall vs. Creativity
Keith Sawyer, a scientist who studies creativity, explores the creative dark side to today’s favorite so-called “neuroenhancer.”

10 Blogs to Stimulate Your Creativity
A guest post by Roger von Oech on Mr. “A Whack on the Side of the Head” rates 10 top blogs for creative inspiration.



  1. Thanks for the links from one who believes creativity in general is a form of universal solvent.

  2. Thank you for your kind words about my article “9 Ways People Respond to Your Content Online.”

    Your review was thoughtful and that made my day here.


  3. Pretty cool post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

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