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Toby Moores
Tobe the Strobe - the odd flash of brilliance and long periods of darkness
Tobe the Strobe - the odd flash of brilliance and long periods of darkness

Toby's posts

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Excellent but not enough - Edward de Bono

A hammer is an excellent tool but a carpenter still needs a screwdriver and a saw. Just because something is fantastic does not mean that it is all you need.

What is your favorite creative expression?

My favorite answers to the following question:

I'm curious. How do you mostly think of circles?

+Ryan Opaz - glass stains on the nice wood table! :)

+Sarah Horrigan - Conversational lassos

+Ian Steel - Lengths of coloured rope threading through a crowd. Each person holds onto at least one. When I pull a rope, a set of people turn to look in my direction. Got to go now - nurse calling...

+Gordon Joly - Everything is a graph. Google+ style circles is a directed graph....

+Bruce Mason - I sort of see them something like an evil mastermind in James Bond. Each circle is some kind of tv screen which I can watch when I like or I can just sit back and look at the whole display

+Sue Thomas - I'm picturing an armful of coloured hula hoops thrown on the ground - some laying separately, others overlapping

Conversation is a fault-tolerant medium for the storage of ideas

Think of the trajectory of an idea from an ill formed thought to a fully formed project or product. It starts life as an idea fragment, imperfect and incomplete. It needs the right environment to grow strong enough for robust examination.

When that blinding flash of insight strikes, that Meerkat Moment, we naturally look round for someone we trust to share our new idea. Even if the description is barely coherent, conversational norms allow us to share ideas. Later, even if our memories of the idea have diverged and evolved, conversation still allows us to rejoin our thoughts.

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You know when you have a blinding moment of insight and you sit up slightly shocked? That pointy-face moment when you look round for someone to tell? That is a Meerkat Moment. Our American friends might call it Prairie Dogging.

As much as anything else, for me this is the best test of creativity. Anything that makes you think differently about the world will pass this test.

Interestingly there is a huge gap between your new found level of insight and your ability to vocalize it :)

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CREATIVE CONCEPTS: Shine More Light on the Elephant

I tend to tackle complex or unknown problems by trying to illuminate them from a number of different viewpoints. Often the problem requires multiple sittings or may in fact be too complex for me to solve. The aim then is to reveal more of the problem and hopefully join some of the pieces together.

I am in favour of One Light, Many Torches rather than Brighter Lights. I love the imagery of a team of explorers waving their torches around as they chatter excitedly about a new discovery. The swinging shadows are as much a part of the experience as the light itself. It makes the discovery all the more conversational somehow before it becomes more deliberate and the floodlights get wheeled in


Based on the parable of the blind men and the elephant (


I'm currently sitting on the train shuffling through my index cards. They are like beat cards for creativity. Instead of one or two large creative thinking tools I tend to use a large number of ideas or expressions that can be used in endless combination. By capturing ideas and tools as soundbites I am able to hold a larger number of ideas in my head. Alternatively I can examine more complex problems.

New ideas are fragile. They are imperfect and incomplete and in the first instance they do better in a benign environment. Beat cards and conversation both provide this kind of environment. I like beat cards because they don't impose a narrative too early. Similarly conversation is a fault tollerent medium for the storage of ideas.

The creative or commercial triage comes later when the ideas have had chance to breath.


I plan to examine this theme in a number of posts over the coming weeks. Eventually I would like to document some of the ideas and expressions I use most frequently. This is for my own purpose but feel free to add your comments :)

And finally - My acceptance speech as best I remember it :)


How are you doing? Alright?

So I got this call from DMU. "Hi would you like to be an Honorary Doctor of Technology?"

"How Fantastic! I'd be delighted. What do you need me to do?"

"We need to to make a speech to the students. Inspire them a bit. Say something clever."

"Oh right, a speech. Say something clever"


"So the great and the good of the university, the greatest minds we have lead by our dynamic VC and Lord Ali, one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the country, think that I, the stupidest person in the room should should say something clever to the 1,000 people in front of me who each got their degree 25 years younger than I did?"


But they have worked tirelessly for 4 years to earn theirs. I got mine for inventing a game where you have to hit a big red button slightly faster than three of your mates. Who are drunk. A game that makes Angry Birds look like a work of towering intellect equal only to the combined works of Einstein and Picasso?"


OK I thought I'd better do this properly and approach this as most of you would an important end of term paper or your thesis. I began late last night by sitting down with two cans of red bull and playing Call of Duty for a couple of hours. Then I fired up Twitter and asked my mates.

To be fair the Twitterati came good for me. They sent me link after link, video after video of the most amazing acceptance speeches on the web from the likes of Steve Jobs and JK Rowling, piling ritual humiliation on ritual humiliation of the kind I would normally only expect at home.

Finally someone suggested I be myself and tell you what works for me. What inspires my thinking.

There are three things I would like to tell you about and the the 1st of those is DMU itself. This is an immense institution in a way that is not fully recognized. We are one of the leading countries in the world at creative technology and creative industries. Our film, fashion, music, TV, games, architecture and design are some of the best in the world. At DMU we have a clustering of three and four star researchers in this area which is amongst the best in the country. We are one of the best of one of the best and it is in skills of the future not those of the past. I am immensely proud to be part of DMU and I hope you are too.

Now I have two pieces of advice. Firstly the world is now too complex to go it alone. You simply cannot know all of the pieces. But around you sit 1,000 other people with similar or complimentary skills. Celebrate, nurture and expand on these relationships for they will serve you well.

Finally the best piece of advice I have ever been given is this:

There is no point in being in a straight foot race with people who are faster than you. But if you fire the gun you will always have a job and if you hand out trophies you will always be on the podium.

If you are prepared to think differently about the world you will always do well.


Shout out to everyone on twitter who sent me inspirational speeches especially Jose Molina. He recommended Conan O'Brien's Commencement Address to Dartmouth College. This is where I got my three best gags and the tone. Cheers Conan :)

ahem ... A little old now but hey I'm still pleased:

De Montfort University (DMU) honours Toby Moores, innovator and creative thinker, with the award of Honorary Doctor of Technology.
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