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Fresh PM Links for Inspiration

Q2 2024 Links - Honor the Make



My lifeline in times of anxiety, overload or crisis is creativity, usually making something with my hands. 

It’s a totally different way to express myself when I feel silenced, a way to be optimistic when all else fails, and a way to lift myself (and others) up that lasts longer than caffeine and all-nighters to reach a temporary and ephemeral sense of victory over a backlog.

I fabricate jewelry, I make miniature furniture and settings, I garden, I sculpt, draw, paint, crochet, and needlepoint.  Doing these things are essential to my ability to craft new ideas, process what I have experienced, and to give the lightest side of myself free reign to communicate.  Flipping the script on an issue, situation, or opportunity frequently comes to me when I have paint or potting soil on my hands.


But that’s me.  How do you express yourself?  What does your “make” look like that gives you joy and peace (or lets off your steam in a healthy way) in a metaphorical hailstorm?  Go beyond pandemic sourdough.  How did your creative practices, whatever they are and however long it's been since you applied them, come to you and  inform who you are, as an individual and as a member of a group?  

As a progress manager (whatever flavor of PM you’re practicing these days), you lead the efforts of others, depending on your resilience and theirs to get the job done. Resilience comes from expression, and each person has a legacy of how that expression works, what loads it also carries, and the impact of expressing has on their capacity, capability, and creativity.  Including you.


This quarter’s share of input builds on the “why we create” content from February’s Q1 Maypop links.  This time we’re focusing on inspiration for you and your teams to break through some of noise with stories of how people who may resonate as yours have chosen to express themselves.  

Expanding your exposure to how others create builds respect for diversity that goes beyond binary definitions and leaves us all room to engage with respect along the widest spectrums of what it means to reach deep inside and create something. 


These aren’t your usual professional development topics, but for progress managers, that’s meaningless.  Most of our work is helping people unlearn rote problem solving methods to actually talk about what’s happening. 

Remind yourself how to do that while you enjoy explorations of why a Cajun accordion sounds the way it does (and who says so), and at the same time see the stakeholder values at work, informing innovation requirements with benefits of community belonging, enrichment and education.  That’s your progress manager skills being honed to see results and values in action and then strive to replicate what was effective, however that works where you are.  

If you’re in the Maypop community (reading this far, you are), you deserve to have avenues of peace as you create new roads of progress in our current world. 

Sticking to being useful and getting out of the way, enjoy this exploration of makers and methods that demonstrates curiosity, longevity and legacy in expressing complex ideas. Some behind the scenes, some deep dives into method, and some big why pauses, adding these concepts to your growing arsenal of tools helps you create some meaningful space to express what’s going on so you can navigate productive interactions with respect.

Honor the Make links - Q2 2024


This is a gateway video - this PBS series on Youtube from Craft in America is transformative and if you just binge on this, you’re doing the good work!  My current favorite episodes are Democracy, Harmony, and Play.  The Cajun accordion is in the Harmony episode. And of course, Miniatures.


(14:04 at normal) Architectural Digest, when not touring celebrity kitchens, also gives fantastic tours of legacy buildings, like this one on Tiranna by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Listen for clear requirements that informed the design, and then see how you respond to the result.


(28:49 at normal) Hayao Miyazaki has captured imaginations and communicated complex ideas world-wide, and there are lots of documentaries about him.  This one is focused on the how, fitting in with our theme of the make and the importance of how expression occurs.  (If you want a deep dive, see this NHK 4-part series


One-two from the Met:

(21:09 at normal) This truly bite-size sample of an amazing exhibit is a taste of the world that challenges what we think we know and respect about ancient art.  

(29:10 at normal) This is the next bite in that sample, a historic collection and discussion.  Be inspired and humbled.


(10:13) An intersection that makes my heart sing, truly!  The medium, the message, the method, the movement. Play well, indeed!


New discipline to dig into?  Here’s a bigger bite for the ambitious:

The root of effective creativity, if you’ve followed along with thread of why people make from the links above, is connection to other systems, including nature.  The core of those principles are a discipline of their own, biophilic design.  More to come on this as I finish my own certification next month, but here is the source materials: Biophilic Design Initiative - International Living Future Institute


And lastly, take a break and go outside!  But if you can’t…  

This is literally a 4.5 hour nature walk at normal speed.  Find your biggest screen and hit play!


 How to use:

  • Review some or all links on your own or with colleagues and use the Check-Apply-Lead checklist to capture value.  Allow yourself to follow a link to a new line of inquiry if inspired. Get PDUs covered and documented.

  • Review a link with your team as an ice-breaker or learning activity toward skills you are prioritizing.

  • Craft a make activity for your team to create opportunities for these kinds of expressions.

  • Not sure how? Ideas to bounce?  Reach out!


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