Closing The Creativity Gap

creativity intelligence having fun

Closing The Creativity Gap

Are you  living up to your creative potential?

In 2012 Adobe released a report that said:


  • 8 in 10 feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth
  • Only 1 in 4 believe they are living up to their own creative potential
  • 75% said they are under growing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work
  • 70% of Americans feel creativity is being stifled by the education system
  • Only about half of Americans would describe themselves as creative while the global average is even lower at 39%.

So, what can we do to close the creativity gap?  First, our schools need to foster out of the box thinking as well as provide the necessary technology tools and training. We need to establish cultures that encourage play, day dreaming, exploration and experimentation.

Second,we need to expand our definition of creativity. Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.”Robert E. Franks.It is not the domain of artists and professional designers. It is a mindset and a skill  that can be developed.

Next, productivity and creativity should not be mutually exclusive – we all need to find ways to create at work.   It’s a critical capability in a successful society. To close the creativity gap you need to:

  1. Surround yourself with happy colors, images and things that inspire and stimulate you.                                                                                                               Jean MacDonald
  2. Put a” what if” white board in your common space.
  3. Have an idea challenge of the month that encourages everyone to contribute ideas ( no idea is stupid)
  4. Give employees time to work on their own pet projects and initiatives
  5. Meet in unusual places
  6. Create mastermind brainstorming teams that meet regularly to brainstorm key issues
  7. Keep a coloring book at your desk and challenge yourself to make each page different.
  8. Share your passion.
  9. Join Chocolate, Creativity and Connections.

Make time once a month to tap into your personal creativity.

What have you done to close the creativity gap in your life?

Walk About Change: Create A Positive Mindset

Walk About Change: Create A Positive Mindset

positive mindeset

It is so easy to walk around and notice what is wrong in the world. It is so easy to see only the negative when the news reports 99.9% of the time our inhumanity to man, violence, corruption. We are skilled at pointing out what is wrong with our friends and family, the neighbors, our coworkers or our boss. We all know someone who spends all their time complaining about the country, the politicians, yet they offer no solutions.

It takes practice to see the positive in people. It takes practice to see opportunities in challenges. It takes practice to turn negativity into a positive mindset. I was a person who believed the glass was half empty, no really it was empty. I was the victim of people and circumstances and I hated living that way. So I made a decision to change that.

Here are three of my favorite tools to begin the journey.

  1. Walk about change. Take a walk down your block bring a camera or a notebook with you. When you walk one way look for everything wrong. Record it. Maybe a couple kids spray painted a wall or the neighbor never mows the lawn. People are hanging out on their porches and watching my every move. Now turn around and walk back looking for everything that is right. The neighbors know who I am and watch out for me. The kids are so talented with the graffiti I wish I could find a way to use their artistry. Maybe the neighbor’s mower is broken and I could lend them mine. What story are you telling yourself?
  2. Turn around challenge. Find something you think is ugly  and stare it until you can find something beautiful about it.ugliest dog You can think about a challenge you went through and find out the gifts you received from it. I never could see how being sexually abused could be positive. But it made me the person I am today: an activist, author, speaker and leader.
  3. Write an affirmation. Draw a line down the middle of your paper. On the left write. I see the positive in life on the other side write down oh this is crap or whatever comes up for you. Keep writing I see the positive is life and all your negative thoughts until there aren’t anymore. Then put your affirmation on an index card and put it above your desk, in your car on your mirror and repeat throughout the day.

Negative thinking empowers a problem. It takes us out of peace and harmony with ourselves. It keeps us contracted and stressed. When we look for what is right in the world…we expand. We feel revitalized and alive. When we have a positive mindset we see solutions and contribute to being the change we want to see in the world.

What are some of the tools you use to create a positive mindset?

Creative Leaders Spark Change Around The World

Creative Leaders spark change around the world.

In my last blog I introduced the concept of the creative edge. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge. The  qualities of a  creative leader are:  Courageous, Resourceful, Enthusiastic, Authentic, Tenacious, Inspired, Vibrant, Empowered.

Meet Jonny Imerman



Jonny Imerman was a typical college graduate, working in real estate during the day and attending classes at night for his MBA. Jonny played basketball, worked out at the gym and hung out with friends. Then at 26 his life changed.

 Jonny was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After doctors surgically removed one of his testicles, he underwent five months of chemotherapy and was declared clear. But almost a year later, four tumors popped up again near his spine which required another surgery, an 11-inch incision and three months of recovery.

Jonny has been cancer-free since 2003. He left the business world behind and began Imerman Angels a not-for-profit organization that connects a person fighting with cancer with someone who has survived and beaten the same type of cancer. The mission is to provide a big brother or sister to help inspire, provide tips and knowledge. They have created a global healing community of over 4000 survivors and 1500 caregivers . The service is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer living in 60 countries around the world for free.

Rae: What inspired you to create Imerman Angels?

Jonny: “I had made a vow to myself during the time that I was battling cancer. I had looked at others in the oncology clinic and realized that I was different. Each day, my mom was there.She was there every step of the way.  My room was filled with family and friends. As I walked down the hall with my chemotherapy IV-pole on the way to the bathroom, I saw other people fighting cancer alone. They were lying in bed, motionless, watching television or staring in space.  I knew this was not right. It really upset me. So I started chatting with other cancer patients.I’ d say hi my name is Jonny. We could talk about our emotions, our experiences, things our family couldn’t get like sucking on lemonheads to get the metallic taste out of our mouth.

“I wondered: “What if every cancer fighter could talk to a cancer survivor who was uniquely familiar with their experience; who not only had beaten the same type and stage of cancer, but who also was the same age and gender as the fighter?” The cancer survivor would be an angel- walking, living proof that the fighter could win, too. What an amazing connection. “

“Let’s say a 19 year old girl at University of Richmond get’s sick, she is alone and afraid. She can go on facebook and talk to an angel  to find out know what is going to happen to her,” how sick will I get, will I be able to have kids?   Also cancer caregivers, family members and friends also benefit from one-on-one connections with other caregivers and survivors.

 Rae: How would you define courage?

 Jonny:  Courage, when you reach a certain point where you absolutely have no fear of failure.You don’t listen to other people saying others have had that idea. Ultimately courage is listening to your own voice and believing that you can do it.

Rae:     What are the qualities of a great leader?catalyst of change

Johnny:   I think a great leader, number one is focused on a mission. A great leader believes in the service for the product that they’re delivering.  They believe in their soul, every part of their body, everything about them screams that they get it. They’re so fired up to build it and that’s what creates a movement. They have unwavering passion.

Rae: What is your definition of success?

 Jonny:” For me it’s really simply we’re changing lives, we’re improving lives in cancer, we’re making a difference.  I think the most successful people in the world are the people in social enterprise that are building a for-profit company that has a social component that makes the world a better place or nonprofits that simply make the world a better place. 

Rae: What continues to drive you?

Jonny: I love people. Everyone’s got a story. Everyone has been through challenges. I always say that if you talk to somebody for five minutes there’s always something that you don’t know that they do. You can learn from their experiences.

Rae:  What would you say to somebody who said they don’t know how make a difference but would like to?

 Johnny:    I think what you need to do is to dig deep and you think about what your family  has been touched by. It could be diabetes or cancer. Get in touch with one of the groups  that serve people in those arenas and start volunteering.  Be part of the solution.

If you want to be part of the solution visit for information on how to support or join the network of cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.

Cancer used to be said in a whisper. Now we have football players marching down the field in pink. How did that happen? We have people sharing their story or their families challenges. We have  creative leaders like Jonny Imerman  who brought to light the problems young adults face with cancer and did something about it .

If you know a Creative Leader who I should feature…please write me.



What is the Creative Edge?

desert island

During one of my workshops I asked the participants to close their eyes and imagine they were suddenly stranded on a desert island. You have nothing with you. No family, friends, home, car, job or possessions. What would you have left?

They were stunned, they grumbled nothing. But I asked is that really true? One lady raised her hand and said. “I have lots of things. I have my health, memories, my intellect and my senses. With a new way of looking at the situation, one of the gentleman in the group said ” I have courage and faith.” One of the women wearing a t shirt that said inspired on it shared” I have talents and I have my creativity”.

We are so much more than we realize. We are not defined by our “things or toys” or our status at work or even our physical bodies. When we can see beyond our current thinking, when we can change our habitual patterns of behavior and thoughts, we can make our life and work a winning adventure.

 I think two celebrities did just that. Christopher Reeves, best known for being Superman, was paralyzed after a riding accident. Sitting in a wheel chair, head supported, aided with a ventilator he made movies, spoke about the need for spinal cord research. He was an inspiration for millions. Then you have Michael J. Fox with Parkinson’s disease …he didn’t silently disappear. He now uses his tremors as part of his humor and acting on his new television show.

Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes.” That is the essence of being creative.

Being creative is a mindset and an attitude. It is a skill set that can be learned. It is a willingness to play, explore and experiment. You don’t need to be a genius like Albert Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci. It is not about being a great artist like Renoir or Frieda Kahlo. It is not about being a writer, photographer, musician, or dancer. It is the way you live your life. It is the way you parent, solve problems, and make a difference in the world. It is being resilient, inventive and original. It is supporting your unique visions and going to the creative edge.

When you reach your Creative Edge you will be more:









I would like to introduce you to one of the people I interviewed for The Winning Adventure who has gone to the Creative Edge.

Meet Sue Ellen Allen who found her passion and creative edge in prison.Sue ellen Allen

Sue Ellen Allen is a former University of Texas grad, former educator, former business owner, former community leader. Having spent 7 years as an inmate at Arizona State Prison she now serves as Executive Director for GINA’s Team, an organization that brings educational programs and speakers into prison to inspire and empower inmates to strive for a better future. She says that “watching her  cell mate Gina die from medical neglect was the” defining moment” of my life. It gave me a new passion and purpose.”

Sue Ellen walked into prison battling advanced breast cancer. She told me she knew she wanted to make a difference. “I asked the deputy warden if we could have our own cancer walk during National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Surprising everyone they said yes. So one sunny Saturday morning in October dressed in our bright orange uniforms we walked around our track. The first year we raised $10,000 for breast cancer from inmates who make about 25 cents an hour on average. There were so many women touched by breast cancer with family and friends they were excited to participate. I’m proud to say that walk is now held in every state prison facility in Arizona and has raised over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. It’s a huge event inside.”

Her inspiring story, The Slumber Party from Hell shares her journey of prison and transformation. Her legacy continues in prison with Toast Masters and a 14 week life skill class she designed which is now taught by other inmates. She inspires others to triumph in the face of adversity, to go to the creative edge and be unstoppable. Get involved with Gina’s Team or to get in touch:


Make your life and work a winning adventure. Go to  the Creative Edge at

Who do you know has gone to the creative edge?