Creative Time

At MPOW, we have a mandate from our CIO to spend 2 hours as week in “creative time.” Based in the idea of Google’s 20% time,  everyone in Library & Technology Services is required to spend 2 hours a week doing something outside of our normal day-to-day work. (Technically, I think it’s 5.7% time, not 20%. Still. It’s something.)

doge meme

There are a bunch of things about this idea that I find really awesome:

  1. Nothing is out of bounds, which lets people try all manner of things they might not ever consider in the course of the regular workweek.
  2. It creates a culture of risk-taking. Because we don’t have to actually PRODUCE anything from our 2 hours a week, other than learning, we can bite off more than we can chew, so to speak.
  3. It creates a sense of self-determination. No one is going to tell me what to do with my creative time. I get to decide what it should be, and if after doing it for a while I think my thing is dumb or useless, I can change it. And I don’t have to check with anyone that doing so is okay.

In previous years, I

  • learned a ton about altmetrics (which led to co-authoring a short article and blog post with LTS colleagues and a chemistry faculty member, as well as being on a panel at a local conference)
  • tried to root a Nook Color (that project failed pretty spectacularly; as it turns out, I bit off a bit more than I could chew, although I do want to go back and try it again this year)
  • went to a local library conference on working with large touch-screen computers (think the old-school Microsoft Surface tables)
  • plus a bunch of other smaller things….

This year I’m trying to focus my creative time efforts on exploring different methods of learning. To that end, I

  • took and passed a MOOC (Visualizing Japan 1850s-1930s: Westernization, Protest, Modernity) (online, asynchronous but time-bound learning)
  • re-acquainted myself with this blog, including resetting all my passwords, updating the backend software, downloading and configuring new plugins, etc. (online, self-directed learning)
  • plan on signing up for an (archived) online doodling course with Lisa Congdon through CreativeBug (online, asynchronous, not-time-bound learning with significant offline work)
  • create an object to print on our Makerbot (online and in-person learning, both synchronous and asynchronous learning)
  • plus whatever else strikes my fancy

If you had 2 hours a week to do “creative things” at work, what would you try? If you could determine a theme for your creative time, what might it be?

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