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When you have a creative problem to solve, you probably take an emergent approach, or you work out the problem by ruminating over it, sleeping on it, daydreaming about it, going for a walk, or otherwise create ways to mull over it. As someone who is trying to think less, I know that thinking about a problem alone won’t always yield the best results.

In the book The Creativity Challenge, Tanner Christensen lists several challenges to help you “unlock” your genius. The challenges fall in one of five categories:

Convergent- Combining elements of more than one thing.

If you have ideas for both a coming-of-age story and a dramatization of the founding days of hip-hop, combine them and you get the Netflix series The Getdown.

Divergent- Taking elements apart so you can look at the individual pieces.

If you are trying to create a mobile phone with a big, glorious screen but the buttons take up too much space, question the need for buttons. That is how we got the iPhone (maybe that wasn’t Steve Jobs’ exact process, but you know what I mean).

Lateral- Following steps, in order, to arrive at a new place.

Try writing about your day, each hour, each minute, each smell, taste, action in excruciating detail. Read/watch the daily routine scene in American Psycho as a reference.

Aesthetic- Focusing on how something looks or appears.

Many people clowned Kanye for sending models down the runway with hole-ridden garments that costs hundreds of dollars, but you may have noticed the distressed look is trickling down to stores. Pre-ripped jeans, shirts, even $600 shoes with duck tape on them are all the rage. Kanye questioned the need for clothes to be in-tact, tailored or even clean, and it's catching on.

Emergent- A process that is the result of just thinking, ruminating and letting you mind wander.

Free-write, freestyle rhyme, take as many pictures as you can in a five-minute period. Ignore technique and crank out something for a set period of time.

You have an extra day this weekend, use it to be a genius. 

Highwater Podcast Updates
We're off this week preparing for the series finale, which I am super excited about. Catch up on all 19 episodes this weekend on iTunes, Overcast, Acast, Google Play or where ever you listen to podcast. 

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Highwater Weekly Picks  
Note: Award details and deadlines are subject to change. Consult each individual program's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. 

  • EMERGING ARTISTS: The Washington Award recognizes talented artists working in a broad range of disciplines including painting, photography, sculpture, music, dance, dramatic arts, film, digital, and interdisciplinary arts. Winners receive a cash prize of $5,000 to support their career development. Deadline is October 15. Apply here
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