Tim Brown on creativity and play | Video on TED.com

Playfulness, creativity, and imagination. Remember when it was just as much fun to play with the box as with the toy? Tim Brown in a wonderful Ted Talk you've got to see if you need to reclaim your creative freedom.

Tim Brown on creativity and play Video on TED.com

Starbucks, Amanda, and her Tea Leaves Idea

Routine has got to be one of the biggest killers of creativity. Agreed? 

As I sat at my local Starbucks at lunch today, a now routine go-to spot for my daily cubicle break, I ordered not my usual drink, but a cup of tea.  Tazo tea.  And that's normally not remarkable except that I noticed they'd gotten in a new style of tea bag. (well, new for Starbucks anyway).  It's a sachet filled with whole tea leaves. 

A barista I hadn't seen before today watched me remove the sachet then examine the soggy bag with a quizzical expression.

"Isn't it nice?"

Her question took me by surprise.  I hadn't thought about a used teabag's better qualities, but there it was, sitting there on top of my lid, just looking kind of, well...  nice, like a tiny silk pillow of colorful potpourri.  It smelled really great, too.

"They use whole tea leaves now.  I use it for an air freshener in my car."  

Then she told me she'd even written to the powers at Starbucks (my terminology, not hers) and handed them her idea - air fresheners that smell like tea.  I thought it was genius.  No harsh chemical smells, no scent-alikes that have absolutely no business trying to mimic nature.  Just tea.

"Do you mind if I write about this?," I asked.  "I have a blog about creativity and want to include your idea."

So here it is, Amanda DeRienzo's little idea, which is actually rather Big.  It's green (recycled tea bags, natural scents).  It enhances the brand because it serves as a reminder of where the customer has purchased the item, and after use to make a lovely cup of tea, is absolutely free to freshen my cubicle all afternoon.

You go, Amanda.  Starbucks, are you listening?

Pants on the Ground - Larry Platt's Little Idea Rocks a Trend

If you've ever needed a reminder that the best ideas may be the simplest and come from unexpected places, ask "General" Larry Platt who could never have anticipated the groundswell under his Pants On The Ground

The success of his performance seems somewhat assisted by Simon Cowell's pronouncement of the song as a probable hit, but Mr. Platt's idea is brilliant in that he's tapped into a common American sentiment. 

Someone just had to lead the backlash against those ridiculous low-slung britches. 

The story behind those pants.

Mr. Platt's audition:

Pants on the ground original lyrics by "General" Larry Platt

Pants on the ground
Pants on the ground
Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground

With the gold in your mouth
Hat turned sideways
Pants hit the ground

Call yourself a cool cat
Lookin' like a fool
Walkin' downtown with your pants on the ground

Get it up, hey!
Get your pants off the ground
Lookin' like a fool
Walkin' talkin' with your pants on the ground.

Get it up, hey!
Get your pants off the ground
Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground