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#creativity

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Close to my Chinese roots, my mother put in a lot of effort to find my Chinese name, it means the bell that rings at dawn because I was born pre-dawn. Embeded in my name is my mother’s hope for me. Wisdom, riches, beauty, fame, peace are the typical aspirations. Every Chinese knows this tradition, and in some families, we even choose characters that reveal your position in the family tree.

Yet when it comes to getting an English name, many Chinese/ Taiwanese / Hong Kong Chinese would choose names like Noodle, Rock etc and we puzzle at the quirkiness.

Not so, a young British girl. Beau Jessup. She is making more than $300,000 and funding her way through college by naming Chinese babies. As founder and CEO of Special Name, a website designed to provide Chinese parents with culturally appropriate English names for their babies.

How did she come up with the idea?

Jessup was inspired to start the business in 2015, when she was just 15. She has since named a total of 677,900.

Empathise- A chance encounter

Jessup was traveling with her father in China, when a business contact, a Mrs. Wang, asked for help in naming her three-year-old daughter.

Where are the pain-points?Constraints can be opportunities

“Due to language barriers and internet censorship in China, the ability to research English names can be limited, often resulting in unfortunate and sometimes comical selections”, Jessup noted.(Source: http://flip.it/BN0YJM)

Prototype: A minimally viable Idea

Back home, Jessup hired a freelance web developer to build a Chinese language website for the Chinese community. Meanwhile, in her spare time, she filled a database with more than 4,000 boys and girls names, attributing five characteristics that best represented that name, such as honesty and optimistism.

Ideate – create choices

The website uses algorithm to generate the names. It also allows collective decision making by encouraging users to share the three name suggestions with their friends and family via a direct link to Chinese messaging app WeChat on the site — to help them settle on their favorite and avoid any “cultural mistakes.”

Travel, Empathise, Talk to locals

Beau Jessup’s idea came about because she is a bridge to a diverse network. How many English speaking Chinese can do what she did? Many.

Sometimes, a simple idea is waiting to be discovered.

Go out and talk to people. Empathise with their constraints and see if you can help solve their problems in a win-win way.

Network for ideas

University of Chicago sociologist Ron Burt has referred to this sort of networking as bridging a gap between different social networks.

Burt studied 673 managers in a large U.S. electronics firm and found that those managers who had a broader network of contacts were consistently rated as generating more highly valued ideas.

Their access to diverse, often contradictory information and interpretations gives them an edge when it comes to spotting and developing good ideas.

No two persons are born exactly alike; but each differs from the other in natural endowments, one being suited for one occupation and the other for another.”

Plato, The Republic

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If everyone is different? How do we find workers for the industrial revolution?

Fail fast
Success has a humble start. To succeed, we must first be bad at it.

Authors Babineaux and Krumboltz recommend that instead of treating failure as something to avoid, find ways to hash things as quickly as possible to learn from them.

Write a terrible first draft  to get a somewhat better second draft.

If I want to become a serious artist, I must first create trivial art.

Here is my trivial portrait art done at Tanjong Pagar CC. Procrastination, my struggle.

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If i want to become a top commercial architect, I must first design inefficient chunky building.

If  I want to be fluent in Chinese, I must speak a lot of horrible Chinese.

Be Curious
I find it to be true from living with my nieces and nephew that young children are curious. Suddenly, they become self conscious. Or rather, they are stuck in front of their handphone.

The authors suggest to create a “Fun to try” list.

My list
Improv
Visit SASCO@Khatib
Digital Storytelling video
Mentor a commonpurpose group on social inclusion
Visit Shanghai
Ceramics class
Blog weekly

Curiosity provides energy and helps you learn quickly.

Curiosity gets things moving. Its a bit like freeing a ship stuck in the mud – once you get things moving, all sorts of new things become possible.

Be inquisitive
🐞What are five things I can try to stir up my life?
🐞What is the biggest priority I am ignoring.
🐞If I were ten years younger, what would I do now?
🐞What is most missing in my personal relationship
🐞Given that this is my life, what do I think I really deserve? What is acceptable and what is a waste of time?

Say yes to Opportunity
One “yes” trumps three nos. Give a bonus to new activity that is likely to introduce you to happenstance – new experiences, learning, perspectives, people or places.

I learnt a new chatbot course. Said yes to meeting my friend’s boss. Said yes to signing up for a certification course. Said yes to blogging every week!

Consider the cost of saying no. Overcome procrastination! Its been quite an impactful 2018, can’t wait for 2019.

🍅What are some opportunities you need to say yes to?

🍅What are some new things can you try to feed your curiosity? (Doesn’t harm health or safety)

🍅 Where are your areas of joy?

 Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win by Ryan Babineaux, PhD., and John Krumboltz, PhD.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/fail-fast-fail-often-how-losing-can-help-you-win

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Are you a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future? – Deepak Chopra

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1. Pink moss of Hokkaido

My tribute to the color pink:

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2. Pink shrimp
3. Pink water lilies arising from mud
4. Pink Longevity birthday buns representing peaches

Photos all taken by me.

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5.My melody, Sanrio Christmas at Changi
6.Pink Ginger flower used in rojak salad.

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7.Pink maguro
8.Pink chinese new year money envelopes
9. Pink lily

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10. Roseate Spoonbill at the Jurong Bird Park, looking sinister

Think out Loud
Does pink calm you down?
Whats your favourite de-stressor?

We overthink the color pink. Some say its a sign of weakness, others say its romance. Some say its for girls. Others say for boys.

We are products of our times, and we attach meaning to something so neutral and beautiful as color.

There is research that showed men who wore pink earned £1,000 more and likely to have an MBA than those who wore white. By the way, the late Minister Mentor’s favourite shirt color was pink. (When he was not not campaigning. Otherwise it was white.)

We overthink many things.

Note to self: Im getting my man some pink shirts just in case, the research is right.

Is there a color of success in your organisation? Blue shirts (IBM), white shirts, black turtle neck (Steve Jobs), grey Ts (Mark Z)?

There are days where I just can’t get started. One tip I learnt is to create a list of 10 things.  If you can’t think of how to start, just list down 10 random things on your head.

  1. Ten ways to cook egg
  2. Ten dream destinations for holiday
  3. Ten places for romantic breakfast
  4. Ten of my favourite books for career
  5. Ten best blogs for career change
  6. Ten of my favourite TEDX
  7. Ten short getaway holidays without leaving Singapore
  8. Ten rituals before I start work
  9. Ten things to accomplish before Christmas
  10. Ten new things I want to learn in 2019

What’s your favourite way to get out of the doldrums?

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Picture created by my 10 yr old niece for my blog.

Ozawa: Self assertion is perfectly normal in Europe. Its the only way to survive. In Japan though, people think and think about things until they finally take action – or take no action at all. … I am not sure which mentality is better.

Murakami: Its true in just about any field in Japan. Maybe even in writer’s circles. People cant do anything until they’ve gauged the opinions of the other people present. They look around, they absorb the atmosphere and only then do they raise their hands and say something unobjectionable. That way there’s no progress where it matters, and the status quo is set in stone. #High Context#

Absolutely on Music, conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami