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Image by Ahmed Zayan


From personal experiences to the world's most pressing challenges, we thrive by solving problems. At the core of effective problem-solving is creativity. Building on arts approaches, learn to understand and customize your creative journey in any sector or artistic field by navigating research, methodology and praxis.

This course may be self-guided. For live facilitation for individuals, groups or teams, contact us.


Module 1: The Golden Circle (purpose-driven innovation)

Module 2: Methodology (place in the industry landscape)

Module 3: Praxis (research in theory + practice)

Module 4: Creative Process (navigating the work)

Module 5: Figuration (allegory and analogy)

Wrap Up: Final Model + Statement

Modules may be completed weekly.


Image by Jeremy Perkins

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle

Simon Sinek, thought leader and author of Start with Why, discovered remarkable patterns about how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act and communicate. Emphasizing that “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe,” he also highlights that beyond the what and the how, "Very few people or organizations know why they do what they do." Simon's concept has been widely adopted across personal and professional practices throughout the decade. 

Simon may be best known for popularizing the concept of WHY in his first TED Talk in 2009, one of the most watched in the world. He presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.


Make a Golden Circle for the Why/How/What of your project by drawing a diagram and/or making an outline.

Any creative direction or production problem may have multiple solutions. Navigating how to decide which solution to choose circles back to the intention of the director -- in other words, their why -- the compass that best guides decision-making each step of the way. Working without it could lead not only to losing time in production, but also losing the audience who will be wondering why they should be taking their time to engage with the work.  


Image by Yeshi Kangrang


A variety of influential thinkers have endeavored to describe methodology through writings such as Michael Foucault's The Archaeology of Knowledge, others extending from Marshall McLuhan's well-known phrase "the medium is the message," and performative lectures by Dr. Chris Jones such as Picture Time. We will tentatively derive that method is what you do, and methodology is the why behind how you do it.

"The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full-stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network."

Michael Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge

Methodology Diagram

This is a sample "system of references" created by a particular artist to define their methodology. It consists of practical references, theoretical references, and sociocultural context.

Reference Categories


Other creatives in the field from past to present whose work in similar mediums aligns with your work or deviates from your work in ways that inform your approach. This may include specific aspects of their work.


Thinkers and studies across fields that you align with or that deviate from your perspective in ways that inform it. This includes philosophy, social sciences, applied sciences, and other theory.


Aspects of society and the political climate in the past and present that are relevant to your work, and implications or speculations for the future. This includes local, regional and global contexts.


Make a Methodology Diagram for your overall creative practice by gathering references and visualizing how they relate to each other and your work.

You are joining a long tradition of practitioners and thinkers, in a fast evolving world. Describe where you place yourself in the historical context of the field. Are you repeating what works, adapting it, building upon it, following relevant trends, joining others at the bleeding edge of well known limits, forging the future, joining a niche, carving a new niche altogether? Identify how your work interacts with today's society, and what it means for the future.

*Give your methodology a name, such as a new movement.


Image by Emily Morter

Praxis (Theory + Practice)

The process of defining methodology involves Research (dissecting theory and practice separately), and then establishing a sense of their interrelation. When they come together to form a creative work that affects sociocultural context, they together become Praxis.



It's important to acknowledge 'the methodology of methodology' across sectors, as each sector may not only inform each other but also inevitably converge. The Praxis Project, an established non-profit, has methodologically defined their Model for Change, their Principles, and the Social Determinants that impact their work. 


What do you think is the relationship between Research and Practice? Make a diagram to demonstrate.

Does one come before the other? Do they alternate or interact over time? Are they fully integrated into the creative process so that a new name for this relationship could emerge, say..."Reactice?" Is any of the above sometimes, always or never true? Is it universal or does it depend on the artist?


Image by Dariusz Sankowski

Creative Process

Creativity is like a journey. You bring a compass and sense of direction, choose from limited resources to assemble a travel kit, make plans, scan the maps of previous explorers, explore various pathways, get lost, find your way again, discover things to examine more closely, involve others, share ideas, seek out both the familiar and the new, accumulate references like pins on a map, and document the process.


Write a draft 'methodology statement' or 'manifesto' about your overall approach as a creative, or about the project you are currently creating. How do you 'navigate' your work? (300-500 words)


Image by Daniel Jensen


Figurations are figurative or allegorical representations, and have been used to grapple with complex concepts from Plato's Allegory of the Cave about the nature of perception to artist/writer Randy Lee Cutler's Ruminations comparing Praxis to the digestion process.     


Transcend the 'journey' analogy for the creative process, and develop your own. For example: rumination, a solar system, an ecosystem, animal behavior, a piece of technology. Make a diagram to demonstrate.

Then, revisit and revise your 'methodology statement' or 'manifesto' with this refined perspective in mind. 


Prepare a final organizational model or statement to publish on your platform.


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