Loren Omoto

Innovator, Strategist, Educator


It’s Alive…

For everyone who thought this blog was on hiatus – it wasn’t. It was on involuntary vacation after WordPress kept reinstalling itself on top of the existing database. (Has that happened to anyone else? If so, I’d like to talk to you.) Having gained new appreciation for the importance of recent backups and reliable tech support, I’m going to hammer out a short post about another topic: creativity.

Specifically, creativity and the idea that your own concepts may be just as good as the next designer’s. This not-earthshaking insight comes courtesy of a website: campfires.io. You may have encountered this site in the past, especially if you’re in the storytelling or design game. I had, but I never truly understood its inspirational power until now.

Everyone feels a little fish-out-of-water when starting a new creative endeavor. It’s natural. It takes a while to develop a portfolio and feel your creative oats. Design, in particular, seems to demand an extra level of self-assurance. After all, if you don’t believe in your own work, who will?

Reading a recent blog post about campfires.io reminded me of many conversations I’ve had over the past year. In a cohort of aspiring designers, we all had moments of doubt. Knowing that “pros” feel this way, too, is empowering and oddly uplifting.

The quote from Pitchfork’s Molly Butterfoss is telling: “…never feel like you don’t belong somewhere or that you don’t know what you’re doing. No one knows what they’re doing and being able to handle that and adapt is what makes you a good designer.”

Those first designs are terrible. Critiques are justifiably brutal. But the next design is better and the next one is better still.

Not much new here, but it has tremendous resonance for me and, I suspect, the great group of people I’ve been working with for the past 12 months. We all had moments of doubt. We felt pangs of inadequacy. But, in the end, we emerged stronger and self-assured – the prerequisite for any creative career. In Jacob Gube’s words: “What’s important is that we start. And that we keep moving forward once we do.”

We’ve made a start. And now it’s time to move up and ahead. Good luck, everyone.


Failure as motivator

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Does failure make it easier to succeed?

I came across an interesting article. about “productive failure.” The article dealt with research into ways that failure could set the stage for later academic success.

Pretests were used to assess students’ knowledge BEFORE instruction. Results were predictably dismal. Some students then received traditional instruction while others were left to “sink or swim.”

It turns out that students with a tougher path tend to do better, in the final analysis. As the article states: “The experience of failure and struggle gave students something valuable.”

This is a great concept for designers — we’re reminded every day that our failures help us improve — but it’s tough to implement as an instructor, especially an online instructor.

TIme and again, I have seen students disengage and become discouraged when struggling to understand an assignment. We do everything we can to make sure all the questions are answered and the path to success is clear.

Judging from this research, it might be good to teach less and question more. What do you think? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.


Mapping minds and Captivate creations

Having developed proficiency with Adobe Captivate, I’ve been wondering about different ways to use interactive multimedia modules created by the program. One answer to that question has arrived in the form of a promotional blog post from Adobe.

The post concerns a company using Captivate to demonstrate mind-mapping software. The module is embedded on the company website, where it functions like any other interactive.

Seeing this integrated use of Captivate has me thinking about online uses of modules for learning — or interactive marketing. Another blog post shows a method of doing this, even without dedicated server space.

Either way, I’m eager to try something new with Captivate. Suggestions? Ideas?