Posted by: Liz Massey | April 21, 2010

Link-a-polooza: The Best of Surf’s Up, 2008-2010 (part 2)

Image courtesy of SXC.

Today we continue the creative link love-fest started yesterday and presented in conjunction with World Innovation and Creativity Week.

Surf’s Up has really helped me define what Creative Liberty is about and clarified my beliefs about the creative process. Some days I see myself as a sort of anthropologist of creativity, who acts as a participant-observer and tries to sift through the overwhelming amount of information out there on how to be creative and report on the patterns I see. The series has definitely confirmed my belief in the power of creative people helping each other–artist to artist, innovator to innovator, person to person.

So here, without further introduction, is the second half of my list of the best creativity links that I’ve shared on Creative Liberty since starting the “Surf’s Up” series in January 2008.

Why Making Matters

AnnMarie Thomas, an assistant professor of engineering at the University of St. Thomas, posted a wonderful essay on her blog that reflected remarks she made at TED2010. It is a powerful plea for children to be allowed to make hands-on projects, as it can lead to a passion for engineering, design, inventing, or other creative pursuits. (Hat tip to MAKE Magazine for posting the link to this.)

Learn the five secrets of innovation

This article on reports on the results of a six-year study of more than 3,000 executives and 500 innovative entrepreneurs by professors from Harvard Business School, Insead and Brigham Young University. The researchers were quoted in an article published in the December 2009 Harvard Business Review as having identified five skills that separate truly innovative businesspeople from their less-creative peers: associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and discovering.

How Simplicity Can Help Creativity, Briefly

I’ve spoken with Leo Babauta several times on this blog, most recently in relation to his book The Power of Less. This post on Leo’s Zen Habits blog is a lovely, quite specific articulation of how practicing simplicity can benefit one when attempting to create.

Nurturing the innovation reef

In this interesting post from McKinsey & Company’s What Matters blog, Mario Morino asserts that innovation is like a coral reef, in that marine biologists don’t fully understand what causes reefs to form, but do know that human actions can nurture or harm the process.

The Creative Person’s Hierarchy of Needs

This is a delightful post by Cynthia Morris of She asserts that in addition to the traditional hierarchy of needs posited by psychologist Abraham Maslow, creative persons have other needs that must be satisfied in order to life a fully productive life.

The Artist That Could

Every adult should have a pathway back to childhood stories that inspire him or her, and this post on the power of persistence from FineArtViews Blog by Clint Watson is just such a path. Remember “The Little Engine That Could”? This is the art world’s version of that story.

How to Be Authentic with People Who Love You but Don’t Understand You – Part One

This link is the first of a multi-post series by Ken Robert on his Mildly Creative blog containing wonderful advice for dealing with friends and family who dislike a creative person’s lifestyle or behavior and refuse to see it from their point of view.

100 Simple Ways to Be More Creative On The Job

The good folks at Idea Champions  have posted a great list to their blog. The tips are all one-liners, but they inspire further thought and action. I’m especially thrilled by their suggestions to take a daily brainstorming walk and to assign a “fun fairy” to each business meeting!

Polaroid-A-Day Project

Jamie Livingston’s Polaroid-A-Day project sprang from an assignment he gave himself during his college days in March 1979 until his untimely death from cancer at the age of 41 in October 1997. Livingston used a Polaroid SX-70 camera to take a picture of the world around him every day and the photos—more than 6,000 in all—chronicle his life and times, even his decline in health and death.

After Livingston’s death, his friends Hugh Crawford and Betsy Reid put together a public exhibit and website using the photos and called it PHOTO OF THE DAY: 1979-1997, 6,697 Polaroids, dated in sequence. The physical exhibit opened in 2007 at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College (where Livingston started the series, as a student, way back when). The exhibit included rephotographs of every Polaroid and took up a 7 x 120 foot space.

For context on Livingston’s story, you may want to read “He Took A Polaroid Every Day, Until The Day He Died,” written by Mental Floss contributor Chris Higgins. (WARNING: Have a handkerchief or some Kleenex ready.)

Life & Music

If you’re caught up in the rat race, and don’t want to end up as a rat, you may want to take a moment to view this charming video, originally posted at, that blends the recorded words of philosopher and author Alan Watts with simple illustrations and music that reinforce that life, like music, has meaning in and of itself.

Bonus Links:


A neat tool for broadcasting a drawing to your blog or website audience in real-time, with or without narration.

In My Dreams (infographic)

Kailie Parrish, student of fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, has published the results from a study about her dreams. The collected data is summarized in a lovely designed data visualization. From

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