Session Review: 'Hacking The Creative Brain' - Denise R. Jacobs (@denisejacobs)

I have always hated getting up early. The only thing I get up early for is coffee, workshops and to catch planes to go on vacation. So, with a fresh brew in one hand and my bag in the other, I walked in on something that well surpassed my expectations!

The one-hour session was called ‘Hacking The Creative Brain’, presented by the very enthusiastic Denise Jacobs, and it was essentially a more condensed version of the 8-hour workshop that she gave the day before the conference started. She began the talk with a story, telling the audience that she was so unhappy with what she was doing in the past - so she decided to do something else instead. “But, if I'm unhappy with my job, other people are also suffering from this”. This idea gave her so much energy, that she eventually decided to devote her time to helping other people find their passions. This is what she does now; gives workshops and lectures to help people find their own passion. This woman is so passionate about what she does, she breathes creativity - a true creative evangelist!

On the workshop day for FITC Amsterdam, she had tons of great little hacks and exercises for us to do. Hacks that had a great impact on our behaviour. She would say things like: “Describe yourself in 20 words. When you are done, compress those 20 words into 6 words or a sentence with 6 words.” That is less characters than a tweet! Try it, you’ll be surprised with what you’ll come up with. Directly after, she asked us to visualize a box. How does it look, feel, smell or sound? Is it big? Or is it small?

Denise has a great way of changing perspectives, as she mentioned walking around or lying on the ground only to see things from a different angle. She guided us through this session by posing all types of questions like these. This is what Denise does best; talk to people about how to make better use of their own brains, how to optimize its potential and how doing the counter-intuitive works so much better that what you may be used to doing.

In only one hour, she taught us about habit fields, self-motivated stress (a good kind of stress), creating your own low-tech spaces, about the fear of being a flow killer and about how having the proper tools changes everything. The session was packed with loads of exercises, fun facts, links to TED talks and great books.

This was a great session to start off the second day of FITC Amsterdam 2013. Packed with loads of fun facts and concrete tips to hacking your own brain,  I left this session invigorated and ready to hack my own brain, with some more fresh brew, of course!


Written by: Sidney de Koning

This post was written by guest blogger, Sidney de Koning from Mannetje de Koning, who attended and covered four sessions at FITC Amsterdam 2013.