In previous posts I have explained How to write a decent book and How to Publish a decent book. Now I want to share the ‘prequel’ to those two events.

Creativity is a process of learning new things, and thinking about them, leaving them for a while and revisiting them later.

I’ve found an old doc with my very first blog posts, from 2007. I’ve realised that I have wanted to write about creativity for more than 15 years… I wrote other things in the following years, from leadership lessons from sports, to a blog on Autism and Technology I run for 4 years, and different thoughts on fostering creativity in a team (my team). But I needed a long incubation period before I delivered my book Join The Playful Revolution.

Here you can read some of those earlier posts, originally in Spanish. There is some ancient tech in there (and an update too).

It is never too late to create

Creativity is an attitude, rather than an aptitude. We are born with the ability to create and imagine, and if not it is enough to watch children play and draw, but it can hibernate when it is attacked by the virus of correctness, the great enemy of error, a fundamental element in the creative process.

Apparently, age, sex, or socio-cultural level are not obstacles to being creative. If there is a decisive factor in knowing who is creative and who is not, it is the degree of fear of failure. It is necessary to make mistakes many times before finding a valid result, and each mistake is part of the elimination process, that little voice that says ‘not that way’, and that makes us keep looking.

While it is true that age can diminish perception and memory skills, with age there is also usually more experience and cultural background that more than compensates for it. The good news is that creativity is trainable, there are specific techniques (e.g. brainstorming), numerous books and online resources, and it is also something we can practice daily in our usual activities: from trying a new route to work, varying a recipe or finding a way to hang a picture when we do not have a hammer… 

Attitude, ladies and gentlemen. Age, talent or lack of, are not excuses: If you want to you can, and now is the best time to start.

What I need to be creative

1.- An active and curious brain – it is the only essential thing. When we have to look for an alternative ingredient because our guests are coming for dinner in half an hour, and we have forgotten to buy the meat (on a Sunday, when the stores are not open, and our neighbors are on vacation…) Well, an idea is the only thing we need, but right now!

2.- Paper and pencil – the cheapest, most versatile and accessible technology, to remember that happy idea or to think on paper…

3.- A brick – out of the 20 possible uses of a brick… this one was a joke (they say that a sense of humor is for creative people)

4.- A computer – from writers to architects, musicians, visual artists, engineers, scientists… I think it goes without saying…

5.- The internet – as a source of information and as a tool for collaboration.

PDA for creatives (back in 2007)

A PDA, or Personal Digital Assistant, of today is a device with superior features to the first Digital Agendas from which they have derived, and even to those of the first personal computers. It is a handheld device managed by an operating system adapted to its characteristics, such as Palm SO, created by the first PDA manufacturer, Palm, or Windows CE, included in the so-called ‘Pocket PC’. Recently there is a version of Linux for PDAs.

Almost all data input and output is produced through its touch screen, which has been increasing in size and resolution since its inception. The development of handwriting recognition applications, such as those also seen in tablet PCs, has been quite crucial in this respect. At their heart are processors that allow them to work with complex data and multimedia material, and it is increasingly easy for them to communicate with each other and other devices.

An example of a typical mid-range PDA would have a 512 Mhz processor, card slots, Bluetooth, Wifi and the ability to connect other external devices such as a USB stick, keyboard, camera or GPS. A wide variety of applications can be installed which, in addition to the typical organizer and agenda functions, allow you to create and view data in the form of text (.doc, .pdf, etc.), spreadsheets, databases, images, videos, and music. With other applications you can create multimedia content, browse the Internet, view mail, draw, play games and a host of other activities. The premise is, if you can do it on a PC, you have to be able to do it on a PDA.

Some of the things that can be done with a PDA in the field of creativity, in addition to the more typical functions, could be the following:

 ∙ writing notes or ideas, by hand.

∙ making sketches and mind maps

∙ drawing and painting

∙ writing full texts

∙ take pictures

∙ retouching photos

∙ record audio

∙ play audio

∙ compose music

∙ record video

∙ play video


2022 (may) update:

Where you read PDA think ‘tablet’, and we probably can do all that and more. I own a 2018 iPad, with an Apple Pencil, and it is my favorite tool ever.

My top apps are the following:

∙ writing notes or ideas, by hand. – Paper

∙ making sketches and mind maps – Paper

∙ drawing and painting – Paper, Canva

∙ writing full texts – Google Documents

∙ retouching photos – Snapseed

∙ record audio – built in, GarageBand

∙ compose music – Garage Band

I hope you enjoyed a visit to the history of a book.

Remember to play!

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