Smell The Progress

Series 1: Episode 4 | 20 April 2022

Show notes | Transcript

Do you consider yourself artistic or maybe creative?

They are distinctly different, if related, concepts. Sometimes, we take on new tasks or hobbies seemingly at random, as if the impulse to do a thing came from nowhere. This is flawed logic. All your actions, desires, etc. come from somewhere – there’s some motivation behind it.

 

In today’s episode of The Re-Wired Show, we’re discussing creativity and art. While many use these terms interchangeably, they are quite different in their approach.

You’ll discover the distinct differences between creativity and art, and how understanding these differences can help you use them to achieve outcomes.

You’ll learn why very few things you do are “random” – they all have purpose, even if you can’t see it.

You’ll also discover how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to be more creative when problem-solving.

Join us for this fascinating discussion around the reasons we do what we do and why our actions may not be as random as they appear.

Enjoy!

 

What You’ll Learn in this Show:

 

  • The differences between art and creativity.
  • The importance of understanding why you do the things you do, and why it’s likely not random.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has both empowered and challenged the ways we approach creativity.
  • And so much more…

 

Quotes:

 

“You know the old saying, ‘stop and smell the roses?’ Yeah, well stop and smell your progress.”

“…it’s different; the creative process is different from art. Art is the outcome, not what I’m trying to get done.”

“I’m able to talk to people, figure out what their demand and supply is, and then create new ideas, create new ways. So that was my creativity.”

“When we were in person, we could be very improv, we could talk about a million ideas with people. But now with COVID happening and us being remote, we have to be a little more concrete on what we’re giving people.”

Hosts


Smell The Progress – Transcript

Greg Engle
Hey, Bob, today I want to talk about something that I’ve recently started doing. And most people would look at my behavior and look at the things I’m doing and say, Hey, that was random. Just randomly came up, just randomly came up. Okay, when you’re pushing a button, you know it, which is nothing is random, everything is caused. So the reality is like how do we understand the causality behind why you did what you did? As opposed to just thinking it’s random and waiting for random shit to happen.

So about a month ago, yeah, I started doing what some people call art- I call painting or I called babbling. Okay, it’s a new thing. I’ve never done it before.

Bob Moesta
Never done it before? You’ve never done a painting in grade school?

Greg Engle
Yes, but that’s crafts, not painting or art. So there are different things.

Bob Moesta
My gosh, we have to unpack half of those words. What’s a craft? What’s an art? But so you picked up this thing of painting? Very loosely. We’re doing air quotes from both our sides. Because this tells me. When did you actually start? When did you first paint?

Greg Engle
So it was in JulyI know it was July because the Olympics were going on. Okay. And it was a weird year. You know, it was the 20 Olympics and 21. So it was kind of a weird thing.

So let me give a little background. Okay. And then we can ask questions that we kind of talk about the force of progress I went through, how the light bulb actually got started, all those types of things, right?

And is it? Is it really a new job or not? Is it something that you’re just having to replace? Correct?

So I’ve always had this desire to be creative. What does that mean to be creative? The designer of creativity to me was my mom when I was very young, who was a plaster craft artist. So she would make plaster crafts.

And so she had a business in our house. So one of my earliest memories is me watching Sesame Street, right upstairs and her being downstairs and that this is a great thing; me being able to smell the paint, the thinners, all those things that go into it. But that’s one of the memories I have. And people coming into the house and doing that stuff. And so I would always go to art shows with her  before I went to school, and all that kind of stuff. So that’s always been there.

My aunt is awesome. And then my dad who is a house painter, and most people say well, that’s not artistic, or that’s not, you know, that’s not creative. But I’ve seen my dad do things like, take a cement floor and make it look like a wood floor. Or take a wall and do texture to it. And then paint it different things to give it different effects.. So I can never do that stuff. That was never my thing. Like in art. You said you do art in school? Sure. Like everybody. It was a weird blob of brown, but it was our five year old who did it and everybody was happy about it.

So I’ve always had this thing and I’ve watched different things. I’ve had the thought of doing it. I’ve watched, like everybody watched Bob Ross, right? And I look at it and I define art kind of that way. It’s artistic because to me, it’s something, it’s a picture. He did landscapes or you see someone do pictures of people portraits? So I always thought art was that right? Art was things that were very well done, that represented something. So I could never do that. I can’t draw, I could never really draw I doodle. But that’s the thing that’s not for art. That’s the thing to express.

Bob Moesta
And I think of art as expressing things. Do you think of it as expressing things? Or is it more just about creating things? 

Greg Engle
We’ll get to that. So for me to appreciate art is seeing it; but to do it is the thing of fixing or making mistakes and fixing it. So the creative process is different than art. Art is the outcome, not what I’m trying to get done, right. So I’m going through this all the time, and I pick up different things every once in a while, you know, wood burning at one point. 

Bob Moesta
But what is wood burning?

Greg Engle
Well, I’ve actually done it; you take a tool and you actually carved stuff into it. I was never really good at that, because you have to design something, right? And to other things like taking a piece of wood and burning it or stencilling something out and burning it with a blowtorch to create different things, and then varnishing it in different ways? So different things, trying to get that thing done, but I never really had a passion. 

Bob Moesta
Have you been doing it for all that stuff for a long time? Or is this one of those things that  was also recent?

Greg Engle
I’ll pick things up but not like for years, I’ve picked things up, but not really like it? Like, like, even like coloring to me is a foreign thing. I don’t know why people do that. Like, it’s not relaxing for me. It’s not artistic for me, it’s not any of those things for me? So different things you’ll try? You always try things off and on and they don’t work or they work and you keep going.

But so around that July timeframe. I have this thing and our work has changed, right? It used to be all in person. And now we’re virtual. So our time has changed. So there’s a little bit more, I wouldn’t say free time. But there’s more flexibility in our schedules. Okay. Right. So that’s a context that’s kind of different than what was in the past.

Bob Moesta
One is you have a little bit more time.

Greg Engle
I don’t know, if I have more time, I have time in different places. Okay, right. Because the way it has to work, we’re not with somebody for seven straight days anymore. It’s different, right. So there’s different time zones available. And then also, there’s things going on that I have the push of people around me being artistic. I have people in my family that can sing, which is artistic to me, I have people that could play instruments, which is artistic, and I can’t do any of those. I have this desire for this outcome, to say “Hey, I want some creative outlet.”

Bob Moesta
And is this that you have it you just need to find it? Or is this the fact that you want to develop it? 

Greg Engle
It’s like, who knows? So it’s literally like blind going in trying to say like it till you find it. Who knows? So isn’t that random? It’s not because you’re trying things. So I’m trying to fulfill this thing of creativity.

Bob Moesta
So there’s a struggle around basically filling the need of being creative in your definition.

Greg Engle
Which is an art and art was never it because I couldn’t do it. But what is creative for me is the work we do, right? I’m able to talk to people, figure out what their demand and supply is, and then create new ideas, create new ways. So that was my creativity.

But in the moment, in the moment, very impromptu moments and, and being able to integrate and pull things together, back and forth, trying to figure it out. And when COVID happened, that didn’t go away. But it changed in one way – when we were in person, we could be very improv – we could talk about a million ideas with people. They didn’t have to be as rigid or complete. But now with COVID happening and us being remote, we have to be a little more concrete on what we’re giving people.

The time together is way more purposeful. And there’s no space between, but the ideas have to be a little more vetted. Yes, right. Because we don’t have the time of exchange for one reason is if you’re over zoom, one person can only talk at a time yeah, when you’re in person, multiple people can talk or you can have sidebars and there’s that whole aspect of being in the room and having a little small sidebar and then go into the board and so there’s that dynamic of making it linear and only one person at a time talking.

Greg Engle
So the thing that was my great creative outlet is there, but not there as much as it was. So I have to find another way to do it. Right.

Bob Moesta
So were you feeling unfulfilled in the terms of you knew you were being creative before and now it was like, I need something else.

Greg Engle
I don’t think I was searching, necessarily. I was maybe passively looking, trying a little more wood burning, trying this, trying that, but not anything that I’m saying “Hey, I gotta go solve this problem.”

Bob Moesta
But you’ve gone deep into this, for the last month, month and a half, you’ve gone deep into this painting.

 

Greg Engle
Let’s dive into what happened, right? So there was really no light bulb? There was really no light bulb, I knew I wanted creativity. I have a little bit of it. I’m still doing it. Some can argue what we’re doing now is actually better for our customer. But it wasn’t my outlet for me. Because I can’t go paint because painting to me means you have to actually be able to design something painted. It has to look like something real, it has to have that emotion, it has to have all these things. That was my definition, right? Which is very rigid, which shouldn’t be, but it was,  that was my definition.

So I woke up one morning and I don’t remember what day it was or anything like that. But I go and do my peloton routine, come upstairs. And part of my thing is, I don’t go take a shower right away because I let my body cool down because of the shock of water temperature and stuff. And you don’t want to do that to your heart and things like that. So I’m watching morning TV, local TV, and we all know what that is. It’s all fluff. All ridiculous fluff. Crap.

Bob Moesta
No. It fills a void.

Greg Engle
It’s fluff crap. But anyway, the fluff crap that was on. And happened to be there was an art fair coming up in one of the art studios and there was going to be a demonstration. Okay. And their demonstration was what they call fluid art or paint pouring. For those that don’t know (and I’m going to be probably way too elementary at describing) what they showed was you dump a bunch of paint in a cup, throw it upside down on the canvas, and then you tilt it around. And lo and behold, it’s abstract. It’s not a thing. But it’s a painting.

And I’m like, well, sure, I could do that. I can, I can pour paint in a cup. I can pour them in the right sequence. I can turn it upside down. And literally, I can tilt the thing. I got that skill set. I mean, I’ve been spilling milk from the day before. So I can do it. Yep. So I’m thinking about it. So that’s the light bulb popped. Oh, well, if that’s art, and that’s going to be in  an art fair, and this is an art studio doing it, then maybe my definition of art is off – a light bulb goes off. Got it, right. Still have anxieties.

Bob Moesta
Right? Like what so tell me some of them.

Greg Engle
Is it going to be good? Am I gonna be disappointed in what I do? What’s it gonna look like? Yeah, she did it but it was really other things she was doing that she’s not telling me all those things come up. So I start watching videos –  you just go on YouTube, type in anything and something pops up right. So pop it up. See?

Bob Moesta
What did you type in?

Greg Engle
Paint pour I think – there’s a lot of videos – like millions, millions.

Bob Moesta
So how long did you end up down this rabbit hole?

Greg Engle
Oh, that day? Probably not long. I think it was days that I just picked up some stuff and dumped stuff on it.

Bob Moesta
So when did you buy paint?

Greg Engle
Probably three or four days after that.

Bob Moesta
And did you buy canvases or did you have paint there?

Greg Engle
I had nothing so I went to the store. I just buy a bunch of crap.

Bob Moesta
Why didn’t you sort it online?

Greg Engle
We gotta wait for that, and what do I want to wait for?

Bob Moesta
Why didn’t you want to wait? Okay, so what store did you go to?

Greg Engle
I’m not like you, you know everything’s Amazon right? Yeah, that’s not me. Go to the store because you get it now.

Bob Moesta
Yeah. How do you know what to buy?

Greg Engle
I just bought stuff. Right? I saw what they had painted. Get it, great!

Bob Moesta
Your dad’s a painter. You know there are so many different kinds of paint. How did you know it was pouring paint?

Greg Engle
There is pouring paint, there’s already mixed pouring paint and then you can mix your own

Bob Moesta
Oh, that sounds like a lot of chemistry at some point here.

Greg Engle
No, not really. But anyway, I think that’s getting kind of drawn into the story a bit. Anyway, light bulbs formed. Understand that you can do something. Yep. And it doesn’t have to be perfect. Yep. Right.

And this form is forgiving. I watched some people do it on YouTube, and there are what I would call real artists that understand color wheeling, acknowledge opposition, understand those things. And there are people that don’t, yep. And even the people that didn’t, that you see, they didn’t –  it still looked okay. And was I trying to sell my art? No.

When I lookis it more about what didn’t look bad? Or was it acceptable?

So that you’re like, “Okay, well, I can do that, I can get that done”. So you start doing it. Yeah. And what I found when I started doing it, what I really found was creativity. But it’s more about for me if I need that creativity, I need those things, but it’s fixing mistakes. It’s being human. It’s allowing things to happen and figuring out how to make it look okay. Because I’m not building an Etsy store. I’m not going to art fairs, I’m not doing those things, right. I’m just trying to get through something that will allow me to express myself to myself, and not do some of the other things.

I mean, there’s other hobbies I have that I could do. You know what? I could watch TV, but how much TV can you really watch? We’ve watched a lot over the last 18 months, right? Sure. How much can you really watch? And are you really watching TV? Or are you just doing other things? Right? But there’s still a void. I could go to the casino, right? But the casino actually doesn’t help me with creativity or anything, it actually shuts my brain down. So do I really want that? I don’t really want any more of that. Right? So you have to find this thing that allows you to do that. And a lot of people would say okay, so it wasn’t random, because I’ve been looking for it for years. Right? So it’s not random,

Bob Moesta
If you will, it randomly appeared by seeing this person, but the fact is, it’s, it’s actually, you had the space for it to fall into.

Greg Engle
If I wasn’t cognisant, somewhere in my brain, about wanting to do art. And knowing I wanted to do some kind of creativity, seeing that segment would have just been more fluff crap,

Bob Moesta
And now the creativity from the work we were doing has changed. So  it’s almost like, you got fulfilled from that before, but because of the way COVID is laid out, the fact is, that wasn’t getting fulfilled. 

Greg Engle
I don’t want to say our work isn’t fulfilling. That’s not what I’m saying. It’s different. Right? We used to do games, like, what are three things we would do, and we would argue about it for hours, right? And iterate around it. And, somebody throws an objection, and you have to fix it. And that’s what I mean with painting as well. I throw it out, you know, throw it on the canvas, I do whatever I’m doing on the canvas. And there are variations now, right? Because there are a lot of things, a lot of variables, but you put it on there, and it doesn’t look quite right. And you try to do something, you swipe it with a piece of paper, you take a palette knife to it, you change the color around, whatever you can do, you try doing that, which is the same type of prototyping we would do with people. Yep. So it’s just a different way to express that.

Bob Moesta
Right? So in some ways, it’s the process of creating something and also the process of prototyping to learn. And at the end of the day, you’re not doing it for anybody but yourself. There’s no intent to sell it there, you’re not looking for other people to judge it. It’s about the act as opposed to the output.

Greg Engle
It’s about being in the moment. Instead of actually doing something with it.

 

Bob Moesta
Yep. So how many paintings have you done? How much have you spent on all this just to date,

Greg Engle
Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $1,500.

Bob Moesta
And, and, and so let me ask this, what progress have you made by doing this?

Greg Engle
Although it’s not with people and I’m still learning that part of it, right, the creativity of people, it’s allowing me to have that creativity, that prototyping. There’s different prototyping, right. There’s prototyping to learn. And we use that word. But some people will say prototyping to learn means I’m learning new techniques, which I am. But am I prototyping, really? How do I change what I see? To make it acceptable to me? Right? And then to whoever else judges it,

Bob Moesta
But you have gotten over the fact that whoever sees it says, Oh, my God, it’s, it’s either awesome, or it’s horrible. Or has anybody shared it with anybody?

 

Greg Engle
The only people that have seen it are family, and then people here, that’s it. And no one else has seen it. I don’t know if anybody else will see it, right? But they are the only people that see it. And look, no one tells me, “Oh my God, that’s horrible.” I’m going to be the worst critic of it. Right. And the best part of paint pouring, or probably any painting, is, if you don’t like it, you just scrape this sucker right off the canvas. Let the canvas dry and redo something later.

 

BobBob Moesta
Got it! So are you recycling right now? Or are they piling up?

Greg Engle
Right now I’m piling in.

Bob Moesta
Is the next problem going to be struggling to know what to do with them? You say no Etsy store. But my belief is the Etsy store is not about making money. It’s about clearing out the space.

Greg Engle
Yes. Or Bob might get a lot of paintings, or the office might have every open space of paintings. But I think the key takeaway of this is, it’s not random, though. If someone had just asked me, When did you start it? Why’d you start it? I’d be like, “Oh, you know, I just, I want to do something,” right? And he’d say, “Oh, well, that was random.”

But it wasn’t random. It was something that’s been building up and actually was being fulfilled by something else. That was exchanged. That went away. Well, just changed. Yep. And then also, people would say, “Oh, well, you said you had a lot of time, you had more time or time shifted. So it was just you had more time to fill?” Well, no, that’s not really it either, right. Is it all of those things together?

Bob Moesta
Well, and I would say that there’s creativity in the family. And you could also say “I want to, I need a way in which to express myself”; all those kinds of things pile on top of it, and then the anxiety of judgment. And at some point you got over the judgment part. Right.

Greg Engle
Right. So I think it’s those things that we have to slow ourselves down and actually understand. And we went through a forced approach kind of really quickly. And some of the anxieties, the habits we really didn’t go through, because there’s really no new headset, but the habits are the other things I was doing. So what do you do to exercise a little bit? So carving a little time out of that, carving time out of being in front of the TV. There are multiple things going on there. So I don’t know what that’s really taking time from. I also spoke  – it used to be a thing, you know, but that kind of went away for years because of the device of divisiveness and things like that going on. 

Bob Moesta
I think the other thing, though, is to be honest, you’re going home, if you will, earlier, because you want to make sure that you have time at night to do it. And so, we’re not hanging out just talking anymore as much.

 

Greg Engle
Do you? I don’t think I see that part. Because we’re still here tonight, at eight o’clock at night. So I don’t know if that’s it. Right? Not as often, that’s for sure. But being remote? Yes, it’s more flexible.

 

Bob Moesta
And you can do it between things. How long does it take to do a paint pour, by the way? From setup, from start to finish?

Greg Engle 
Because I have everything out in my basement, 20 – 30 minutes, it’s not long. You know, it’s not a long, drawn out process. But what is the long drawn out process, and what is actually probably more important than the painting itself is the thinking about it. Because when I think about it, I think about it when I have spare time or when I’m processing. Or when I can’t figure out what to do at work. And I take five minutes to think about that. So like a blog I’m trying to write of this notion that product development should be a team sport, but we just put a bunch of individuals and expect them to be a team.

So thinking about what that painting is- what is that painting? What is that? And like I said, it’s different than just paint pouring. I’m using different materials, you know, drywall mud or just  clay and different mediums and stuff to do different textures. Right now I create a painting that has more of a swirl to it, and then straight lines to say, hey, here’s the individuals. And here’s the team, right? So it’s actually helping me think about the other stuff as well.

This is where I always talk about the notion of contrast to create meaning. And it’s one of those things where you can process, like, take a step back and see something in a different light. And I feel like those are the things that allow us to then come back and focus and so it’s allowing that ability to zoom in, and zoom out on other problems, and literally be able to reflect,

 

Greg Engle
I’m telling the story to let people know, to, you know the old saying, stop and smell the roses –  well stop and smell your progress, right? Stop and understand why you did what you did and stop saying everything was impulse or happenstance. Because it’s not, you’re actually doing all this thinking. We just don’t take the time to understand why we’re doing it. And that’s why we make a lot of mistakes sometimes. And we all will, I mean, you’re always going to prototype and, and pick the wrong thing and start over.

But that’s where you learn, you learn from those things. And that’s where most people are, because they don’t reflect, they don’t actually understand their motivation or why something didn’t work, to know what else to pick next. So they just say, well, let’s just keep trying, let’s try something else. And the notion is, you’re never really going to end until you take the time to unpack what progress you’re really trying to make.

 

Greg Engle
So as you go through your day or your week, and this upcoming week, and you change behavior, stop and take a few minutes to figure out what your causes are. Why did you do it? And is what you’re doing  satisfying what you’re really trying to get done? And what are the real other things to look at? Great. All right. Thanks for sharing. Thank you everybody.

 

END CREDIT

 

Thanks for listening to the circuit breaker podcast. If you haven’t already, please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. If you know somebody who’s stuck on the innovation treadmill, please share it. If you’d like to learn more information visit us at www.therewiredgroup.com – to find out how we work and how we can help with some resources, some books and some software. Join us next time as we trip the circuit breaker to help you recharge, re energize and refocus your new product development.

More episodes

Benchmarking in Business: Types and Benefits

Technical benchmarking is usually done on the supply side, and consumer benchmarking is done on the demand side. On today's Circuit Breaker Show, Bob and Greg talk about benchmarking and how it works as a kind of prototyping to find a common language for marketing, sales and developing a better product.

Learning Jobs To Be Done

While a lot of people tell us that they want to learn 'Jobs To Be Done,' this often leaves us with a tough question to answer—to what extent do they want to delve into the process? In today's episode of the Circuit Breaker Show, Bob and Greg delve into some of the challenges they see people facing when trying to learn 'Jobs To Be Done' and some of the arguments this has raised between them.