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An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Brain candy!.. This was originally done for the graphic arts
community. I think we can apply it to ourselves as well. Hope you
all enjoy it. Jerry NYC

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth by Bruce Mau

  1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow.
    Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce
    it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to
    experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

  2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all
    agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration
    of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long
    as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

  3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives
    the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If
    process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we
    will know we want to be there.

  4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the
    engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as
    beautiful experiment s, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors.
    Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

  5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover
    something of value.

  6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search
    of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the
    process. Ask different questions.

  7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of
    production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

  8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies.
    Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

  9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to
    begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

  10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it
    to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

  11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid,
    generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other
    hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to

  12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to
    reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part
    of your practice.

  13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and
    surprising opportunities may present themselves.

  14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free
    yourself from limits of this sort.

  15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence.
    Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout
    your life at the rate of an infant.

  16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled
    with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast
    creative potential.

  17. . Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas
    you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

  18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far,
    been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the
    rest of the world.

  19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for
    something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

  20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of
    yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today
    will create your future.

  21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like
    it, do it again.

  22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build
    unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield
    entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our
    capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

  23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on
    the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so
    much better.

  24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has

  25. Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning
    that you can’t see tonight.

  26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for

  27. Read only left-hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By
    decreasing the amount of we leave room for what he
    called our “noodle.”

  28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a
    new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression.
    The expression generates new conditions.

  29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not
    device-depen dent.

  30. Organization 3D Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other
    field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of
    cooperative ly managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only
    able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget.
    The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard
    Cohen calls a ‘charming artifact of the past.’

  31. Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By
    maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s
    not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to
    maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

  32. Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings
    with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could
    ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety
    of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our
    own. Neither party will ever be the same.

  33. Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than
    that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive,
    interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time,
    computer graphic-simulate d environment.

  34. Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea - I borrowed it. I
    think it belongs to Andy Grove.

  35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can.
    You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly
    remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version
    of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and
    underused imitation is as a technique.

  36. Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up
    something else 85 but not words.

  37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

  38. Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid
    trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading
    edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment
    made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

  39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens
    outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces - what
    Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once
    organized a science and art conference with all of the
    infrastructure of a conference - the parties, chats, lunches,
    airport arrivals - but with no actual conference. Apparently it was
    hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

  40. Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and
    regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative
    life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are
    manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the
    fences and cross the fields.

  41. Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we
    laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of
    how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.aue things. Even simple
    tools that are

  42. Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history.
    Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a
    direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded
    or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes
    us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that
    every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source,
    and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

  43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they
    have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

I am surprised at how much of what is listed I am already doing.
They worked themselves out in the daily process of doing and
following my interests. Definitely not for the faint of heart. To
grow and be successful we must take risks, follow the unclear paths,
and dream. Often we will not truly know the eventual outcome. How
the bankers hate that. I am convinced that creativity seldom thrives
and much less happens in stable environments. Someone once told me
the fruit is out on the limb. The poison ivy that strangles a tree
stays around the trunk.

I love dancing with entropy.