Ongoing Growth

My sister recently sent me the link to Bruce Mau Design’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth thinking it might be something I would enjoy reading. I doubt she realized the impact it would have on me. You see, lately I’ve had a number of blog posts jump out at me, telling me, screaming at me, it’s time to grow and stretch myself (like this one and this one). But as much as I heard them, I’m not sure I understood how to do that. Until I read this.

Bruce Mau Design is one of those places you can only imagine working at…a place where the creativity radiates off of everything they do. According to the BMD website, “Through his work, Mau seeks to prove that the power of design is boundless, and has the capacity to bring positive change on a global scale.”

BMD has worked on such iconic projects as the New Meadowlands Stadium, the MoMA‘s identity and logo design during the 2000 renovation, the Seattle Public Library design and the Panama Museum of Biodiversity Puente de Vida…just to name a few.

Seeing projects and creativity like that continually and consistently produced by someone, or some organization, always makes me wonder how they do it and how they approach the jobs they take on. Mau clearly has it down. Reading his Manifesto, he approaches his work in a way that allows the project to take shape in a way that isn’t restricted by narrow constraints. And I love that this is an incomplete manifesto, acknowledging that we continue to grow and learn along the way. All of his points are so wonderful, but here are a few of my very favorite points:

1. Allow Events to Change You. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

4. Love Your Experiments (as you would an ugly child).

6. Capture Accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of another question. Ask different questions.

9. Begin Anywhere

14. Don’t Be Cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black.

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

20. Be Careful to Take Risks. The work you produce today will create your future.

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

29. Think with your Mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device dependent.

32. Listen Carefully.

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

39. Coffee Breaks, Cab Rides, Green Rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, the interstitial spaces–what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting places.”

42. Remember.

43. Power to the People. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

I honestly could’ve added any of the others to this list. What are some of your favorite points from the Manifesto? What would you add?

photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin

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