Traditions teaser with Navida Nuraney - We are all creative

A quick teaser about CmVan’s next talk on “Tradition and Creativity”

About the speaker

Navida has devoted her career over the past 15 years to the creative sector. It started with architecture, then transitioned to graphic design, where she helped launch a startup which sparked her entrepreneurial spirit. While completing an MBA at the Sauder School of Business, she worked at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in communications. From there she took on the role as Executive Director at ArtStarts in Schools. ArtStarts is a charitable organization all about expanding the role of art in education and promoting the value of creativity in young people’s lives. Her early leadership development was rooted in the mantra, be the kind of boss you always wish you had. Over the past eight years, Navida has kept organizational culture number one. As the saying goes: organizations don’t succeed - people do.

How do you define creativity and apply it in your life and career? Creativity is applied imagination. It is about listening to your inner voice and and allowing your ideas to take form. Creativity is a process - not just a single a-ha moment. In my life, I practice creativity through observation, rigorous note taking, asking questions, and making connections. I used to think that creativity meant defaulting to yes. But more and more I appreciate the creative value of saying no.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy? I believe creative inspiration is everywhere, and that it is more about the lens you choose to look through. Your daily routine could inspire zero creative inspiration or it might inspire much more. I pay attention to details and my radar is always up. This has served my creative practice well as you never know when creative inspiration might strike. I also value time spent alone as this is often when a-ha moments culminate for me.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person? That creative and artistic are separate. Just because you can’t draw, doesn’t mean you are not creative.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings? JR - the photograffeur who posts large black and white images in streets all over the world and engages the public to create his artwork.

What are you reading these days? I have a three year old and so I am reading a ton of fun children’s books. Current favourites include anything by Arnold Lobel (eg. Frog & Toad) and Keiko Kasza (My Lucky Day). Seeing my daughter’s engagement with books is so satisfying as I can see her making connections, building empathy, and activating her imagination. I also find myself referencing metaphors and messages from children’s books at work all the time. In fact last month I centered a donor pitch meeting around an Elephant & Piggie book and it worked!

What’s the most recent thing you learned (big or small)? I recently attending a Design Thinking course at the Banff Centre and learned all about the value of prototyping. The key is that prototyping allows us to explore real actions (what people actually do), rather than reactions (what people say or think they would do). To create a prototype you identify the smallest meaningful activity you can stage to either explore unknowns or test core assumptions. You prototype to learn not to prove. It is an iterative process where you make a move, and allow the context to talk back to you. And then you make your next move.

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