Thursday, January 20, 2005

Elusive Creativity

Dave Shea describes his methods for Getting Unstuck. The one about throwing a whole bunch of ideas upon a canvas is one I find works really well for me.

Speaking of creativity, there's a nice article on Asterisk titled Thinking Differently About Site Mapping and Navigation. As noted there, often a web site's home page isn't the first page that most visitors to a site experience. Usually, a search engine will deposit them in the middle of a site.

Having given more than a couple of powerpoint presentations, it's nice to learn that I've been missing out on one feature that can make using the program much more enjoyable. Michale Hyatt recently had a post on how he discovered the use of powerpoint's PowerPoint's Presenter's View. After reading it, I have an overwhelming desire to create a powerpoint presentation.

Cutting Through's Ten Ways to Use Blogs for Managing Projects pulls together some great ways to use a blog as a business tool. I'll agree that it is a pretty useful tool for teams. Blogger started as a project management tool for Pyra Lab's back in the early pre-Google days. Funny how their project management blogging tool ended up being their crowning achievement. I think there's a message regarding creativity in there somewhere.

Kathy Sierra is probably right. Sometimes being creative is only a matter of knowing when to articulate a difficult problem to a Rubber Duck. Being forced to explain a diffucult problem in simple words, outloud, can bring a solution with it. Seems a teddy bear might work just as well.

Someone at Metafilter recently pointed to a technical manual from NASA published in 1964, Clarity in Technical Writing (pdf), as a source of some good common sense writing about writing. There's some nice writing in those pages, and some very good ideas. I don't remember being so pleasantly surprised by a government document since I came across the SEC's A Plain English Handbook: How to Create Clear SEC Disclosure Documents. Like the NASA document, there are lots of common sense suggestions in those pages that have value beyond the writing of a disclosure statement.