Our Q&A with September speaker, Hanson Hosein, who will be talking on the topic of Compassion.

🎟 You can get tickets for her upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

Hanson Hosein earned law and journalism degrees in Montreal, Paris and New York City, and then produced stories for NBC News in regions of conflict, winning Emmy and Overseas Press Club awards. He pioneered “backpack” journalism for both NBC and CBC News in the Middle East as a solo TV war correspondent. Hanson created HRH Media Group with his wife Heather Hughes, directing two award-winning “Independent America” feature documentaries. He now shares the story-centric methodology of this unique journey as Director of the Communication Leadership graduate program at the University of Washington.

[CreativeMornings (CM)] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
[Hanson Hosein (HH)] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?Whatever can be considered my “career” (and I refused to call it as such in my TEDx “Why I drop the mic” talk), is an exercise in creativity itself. What’s the idea that the universe drops into my head that I just can’t set aside? And how do I pursue it into that undiscovered country until the territory is fully settled and suburbanized and it’s time to move on again? Ideally, the thing I leave behind is available to others to help make small sense of our world – and at that point, it belongs to them.


[CM] Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

[HH] Far away from screens and deep within the printed page, a bike commute to work or messing around with my guitar by the shore. And sometimes when I’m going one-on-one in an on-stage or on-camera interview with someone who is willing to duel. It’s true tightrope-without-a-net stuff, the ideal “creative constraint” being “do or die.”


[CM] What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

[HH] Bringing something truly creative and lasting into the world is not supposed to be easy. You may be enamored with that initial flash of brilliance. But that’s just the beginning – a tiny point of entry meant to encourage you to dive deeper into the abyss. For it to truly be meaningful, you must push all the way through to the other side. And you’ll probably get scratched and scarred along the way. That’s ok. If you want to give birth to something new, the world will inevitably resist, push back, make you scream. Until it realizes that the new thing you’ve created deserves to live. Otherwise, it’s just a one-in-a-trillion status update that dissolves into nothingness.


[CM] Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

[HH] My friend Robert Schenkkan, former Seattle native. Pulitzer and Tony-award winner, creator of “All The Way” (Broadway play and HBO show about Lyndon Johnson), writer of “Hacksaw Ridge” and a number of “The Pacific” episodes.


[CM] What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

[HH] Unknowingly walked through a minefield in Bosnia to interview two sisters who had each lost their leg in that same minefield (and had met Princess Diana four weeks before she died – which was why I was doing the story in the first place). The end result was nominated for an Emmy though!


[CM] What did you learn from your most memorable creative failure?

[HH] That for any creative, the ratio of failure to success is disproportionally high. For good reason: the world doesn’t need more stuff. So don’t expect to succeed unless you’re willing to do absolutely everything and anything to make it happen. You need to push yourself to the extreme. I tell my students this is the equivalent to David Bowie’s “Berlin” period (minus the drugs) – when your back is against the wall and you have nothing to lose, suddenly it begins to flow. That’s how I conceived and produced my first documentary film. Through loss, pain and eventual clarity.


[CM] What’s your one guilty creative indulgence?

[HH] Listening to 1970’s progressive rock music while I work – notably King Crimson – played loud on a surround sound system (my hearing is already slightly impaired!)


[CM] What are you reading these days?

[HH] “The Vegetarian: A Novel” by Han Kang 


[CM] What fact about you would surprise people?

[HH] I never finished my undergraduate degree. (I got in “early” to law school and accepted, partly because it was in Montreal, which remains one of my favorite