The Creative Method and Systems Debut

Download a PDF of The Creative Method and Systems.

Sign up for the Creative Method and Systems workshop on May 9th in Toronto

After five years of promising myself I would write a book on creativity, I finally got most of my ideas together in one package. I presented this package on April 28th, 2009, at FITC Toronto (an eclectic innovation, design, and technology conference). Cramming half a decade of thinking into a one hour presentation is challenging, but the net result is this distillation of The Creative Method and Systems. It has garnered some attention on, becoming the Top Presentation of the Day in less than 24 hours after posting. I know this was due, in part, by some wonderful Twitter followers who kept broadcasting and relinking to the slideshow. Thank you very much for the attention. This was also due to a timely interview in BlogTO about creativity at FITC by Corina. Thank you to her as well.

So what’s next? An audio addition to the SlideShare presentation is coming in the next few weeks. I’m also creating a Ning community to challenge, use, and discuss these ideas. If you are interested, you can sign up here. But please note that there is very limited space to start and that you may be placed on a waiting list.

There will be a lot more, as this is just the beginning of The Creative Method and Systems. It will continue to grow and evolve as I work toward improving the sections that need more attention, and reacting to comments and suggestions.

If you are interested in inviting me to speak at your school, institution, or agency, feel free to contact me at Jason.Theodor[at] Please put CREATIVE METHOD in the subject.

Thanks again to everyone who has downloaded, watched, favourited, re-tweeted, and linked to The Creative Method and Systems.

Twitter Tweet Sheet 2

A lot has changed on Twitter since I posted the original Tweet Sheet in February of 2008. It’s being used more (thanks to aplusk, oprah, and countless others) and it’s failing a lot less. There have been a few evolutions to the nomenclature on Twitter, and I decided to dust off the old Tweet Sheet and give it a fresh coat of paint. You’ll notice the font is a bit smaller, because more info is crammed into this one. It contains all the commands you know and love, with the addition of OH (Over Heard), RT (ReTweet) and the # (keyword/hash tag). It also mentions a few applications for desktop and iPhone. Makes the perfect gift for that Twitter newb friend of yours.

This PDF doesn’t waste as much paper either, with 11 cards on a standard letter-sized sheet plus instructions.

Enjoy. And please comment. (I’m sure there are still plenty of typos to find and correct.)

Tweet Sheet 2

Download Tweet Sheet 2

60 Reasons to Celebrate

Today is my Dad’s 60th birthday. Here are 60 reasons why I think he’s the greatest:
1-He’s generous.
2-He taught me how to ride a bike.
3-He let me shoot real film when I was 5.
4-He’s built more than one cedar-strip canoe.
5-He has plans to build a cedar-strip sea kayak.
6-He taught me how to drive stick in a 1980 Volvo.
7-Except for Grades 3, 4, and half of 5, Dad was a teacher at the school I attended.
8-He can fix anything.
9-He can do plumbing.
10-He can do electrical.
11-He can do woodworking.
12-He can do metal smithing.
13-He can do small engines.
14-Did I mention he’s going to help convert a pick-up truck into an electric vehicle this year?
15-He bought our family’s first Macintosh computer in 1984 and changed the course of my life.
16-He has never ever been too busy for me.
17-He has never ever been too tired for me.
18-He has always listened intently to everything I’ve had to say.
19-He has survived prostate cancer.
20-He has survived back surgery.
21-He has survived the jungles of Paraguay as a kid.
22-He has survived the jeers of kids calling him a DP (displaced person)
23-He worked on a farm to support his family from the age 5.
24-His first teaching gig was in Southern Manitoba in a 1-classroom school house teaching grades 1 thru 8 all by himself!
25-He can build a quincy.
26-He came from a family so poor they honestly wore underwear sewn from potato sacks.
27-He’s the best Grandpa any kid could ask for, and my kids are so happy to spend time with him.
28-He can make great coffee.
29-He can make good wine.
30-He’s a fantastic cook.
31-He beat his terrible allergies by changing to a mostly vegan diet.
32-He once drew the entire map of Canada on the chalk board from memory—backwards!
33-He taught shop for over 25 years without one serious student accident.
34-He draws hilarious horses because they don’t look like horses.
35-He can measure most things in his head, and think in three dimensions.
36-He owned a VW Bug for a while, the old one.
37-He owned a ’67 Chevy with a back seat over six feet wide.
38-He knows how to raise most animals including cows, goats, chickens, rabbits, geese, and horses.
39-The only movies he really likes are dramas about humanity.
40-He could always tell where a TV plot was going which really impressed me as a kid.
41-He loves gardening.
42-He’s into old heritage seed catalogues.
43-His favourite store is Lee Valley.
44-He built a shed in the backyard and then added a split-level playhouse addition complete with kitchen set, railings, windows, a slide, and then a 2-piece swing set just for my kids.
45-He never complains.
46-He’s a great mediator.
47-He has great fund-raising ideas, like letting the students shave his head and beard if they reach their targets.
48-He used to take me out for chocolate shakes at Grapes when I was sad as a kid.
49-He drove us safely through the Rocky Mountains many many times.
50-He has always been supportive of every endeavor I’ve taken on, or that my wife and kids have taken on.
51-Speaking of support for artistic endeavours, he has built my Mom an amazing studio in almost every place we ever lived.
52-He took me to see the Muppet Movie, Pete’s Dragon, and Superman II at the Drive-Inn.
53-He took me to E.T., Ghostbusters, Romancing the Stone, and Return of the Jedi, among others.
54-He always stood up for me when I used to get into trouble.
55-He showed me, by example, how to be a loving, giving, partner.
56-He knows how to make people feel special.
57-He tells great stories.
58-He’s humble.
59-He’s a certified canoeist, and loves outdoor camping.
60-He taught me how to love learning.

Happy Birthday Dad!

1st Grader Suspected of Distributing Bio-Hazardous Material

Imagine for a moment that you are a father. Now imagine that your 6 year old excitedly shows you a plastic tube that was given to her by a schoolyard friend. Now imagine examining the tube closely, which is filled with a textured, viscous beige-and-green goop, and seeing a medical waste warning label. Wouldn’t you be a little bit anxious at this point? Wouldn’t you immediately put it in a Ziploc bag, wash your hands, wash and quarantine your daughter, take pictures of the offending vial, and contact the principal of the school immediately to find out the source? Wouldn’t you also call Public Health to make sure you weren’t going to become the epicenter of the next SARS-like outbreak?

I would. But I wasn’t that father.

Biohazard Detail

Let’s imagine a separate scenario: Let’s say that over 2 years ago you worked at an ad agency that had a drug company client. Let’s say that the client sometimes had sample kits to give away to doctors. One of those kits ended up in your hands because it was extra, because it was free, and because it came with a cool bag. In this kit were a few ‘realistic’ looking items. One of them happened to be a plastic vial for disposing of insulin needles. You thought it would be cute to put them with the other items in your kid’s Fisher-Price doctor bag and forgot about it. For 2 years.

Then, one Friday on your commute home you received a strange text message from your wife. Your daughter had been caught with a vial of bio-hazardous material. Under interrogation, she told the principal that she got it from… you!

Having absolutely no memory of this vial from 2 years ago, you try desperately to figure out how your child would be in possession of bio-hazardous material. You gave blood a few months ago, but you weren’t allowed to take any of the vials home. You were in the hospital for a day last year, was it from then? Your wife was a practicing doula for a while, was it from her birthing kit? None of these options made any sense.

On your walk home, you pick up your daughter from a play date at a friend’s. You ask her if she got in trouble for bringing anything to school that day. She frowns and doesn’t want to talk about it. You press her gently. Finally she says, “It was YOUR thing! It was from YOU!”

“I know, I know,” you say. “It was entirely my fault. But it scared a few people.” Pausing, you finally ask, “What was in that thing anyway?”

“Cotton balls and hand soap, of course,” is her matter-of-fact reply.

“Of course,” you say, most relieved. Then you go home and write a long letter of explanation to the principal of the school so that everyone can relax for the weekend without visions of viral contamination.

Yup. I was that father.


Bush vs. Obama

In honour of the departure of the Worst President Ever, and the inauguration of the first Geek President, I have updated my iconic arsonal and added Barack Obama to my list. This could also be called Fear vs. Hope or a host of other contrasting words. This is less a political statement than it is an observation of the global mood. It is easy to vilify Bush since his work is in the past. It is also easy to glorify Obama when he has yet to prove himself.

I started creating icon faces in 1997 when I created one in my own likeness. I follwed by creating them of friends and family. One day I noticed that George W. Bush had an unusually straight nose and a lopsided smirk, and captured him in vector format. When the album American Idiot came out in 2004, I went to a Green Day concert and handed out business cards with my Evil George icon and a link to buy shirts on Cafepress. I think I sold 2. I was banned from Cafepress for selling icons of Michael Jackson on baby bibs with the caption “BAD”. I have also vectorized John Kerry, Michael Moore, Dick Cheney, and Steve Jobs. After spending 3 days working on an icon of Bill Gates, I finally gave up.

Iconic Faces

For a limited time you can pick up shirts of Evil George or Good Barack at RedBubble as linked to below.

Starting The Year Off Creative

There is a very short period of time to make something of your photos and videos before they disappear forever onto a cheap multi-terabyte drive. That’s why I try to upload pictures immediately after (or during) a trip or vacation. Or I take limited footage and edit it into a short video. Today I spent a few hours playing with the kids on New Years Day, then spent a few hours more editing and posting it to Vimeo. I like the documentary style for filming kids.

I shot everything using my new Kodak Zi6, which is a tiny, hand-held camcorder with a built in USB arm. I edited it using iMovie on a MacBook Pro. I saved out an HD version (which is over 2.2 gigs) and a .mov version for the Apple TV and my iPhone.

Please let me know what you think.

New Year’s Day 2009 from jted on Vimeo.