5 reasons why rapid prototyping works for creative projects

The open source community has a phrase for the principle of rapid prototyping: “Release early, release often.” The theory is sound: Don’t wait until a project is perfect to share it. Instead, keep producing work so more people can experience it, react to it, find bugs, and improve it.

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Meeting our business challenges with creativity

A tide is turning for the state of business. We have come to realize the old ways of innovating and competing are no longer moving fast enough. We’re looking for new answers, and more importantly, new ways of finding them.

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the 25th annual Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh. The forum brought together business and government leaders from across the state to discuss the challenges facing our economy as we race to compete in a changing world.

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Looking both ways

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I took this photo on a late afternoon in London a day before New Year’s Eve 2003. It had just stopped raining, and I’d rushed out with my camera to take as many photos as I could in the last few minutes of light. I was probably doing a lot more shooting than looking. I guess this sign found me.

The sign reminds pedestrians that traffic is coming from both directions rather than just one. And if you’re from the US or other parts of the world where we don’t drive on the left, that direction might not be the one you expect. You learn quickly.

But since then this photo has reminded me that there is always more than one way to look at a problem. Our environments change. Our tools change. Our attitudes change. If we insist on looking at an issue in only one way, we will never see the unexpected connections and associations that make real breakthroughs possible.

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Mixtape as metaphor for creativity

Mixtape is the traditional term. Today we call them playlists because there’s no more tape. Mix CD just never felt right.

But whether mixtape or playlist, the idea is the same. You’re choosing songs from one context, placing them in another, and arranging them carefully to create an intended effect.

If you do your job right, not only will individual songs speak to the listener, but the entire playlist as a whole. It will create a single cohesive idea, a story that begins in one place then takes you to another–each song creating a bridge to the next.

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