Below is an interniew I did on Sept. 29, 2011 with Tiana Carretta, Commissioner’s Office Intern & Building Services Intern. We talked about the 15th book in the Commissioner’s Reading Corner Book of the Month series: Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner.
Tang: Most people at MnDOT don’t know you. Before we talk about the book, would you please share a little bit about your background?
Carretta: I started at MnDOT in May 2009 at the Maplewood Lab where I also worked at the MnROAD Facility. I came to the Commissioner’s Office in June2010. In August, I started an architecture internship in the Building Services Dept. I am currently working part-time in both the Commissioner’s Office and in Maintenance. I am finishing up my last semester in the Architecture Program at the University of Minnesota and will be graduating this December.
Tang: You participated in our March book discussion on Millennials and the different generations in the workplace. How is your experience of working at MnDOT as a Millennial?
Carretta: I think one of the best things about MnDOT is that there is an array of different generations that are all working together to make MnDOT a world class organization. I think every generation has a different way of working and I’ve had a great experience learning from both seasoned and newer employees.
Tang: Why did you pick this book?
Carretta: Commissioner Sorel recommended this book to me. He thought I would like it because it’s about creativity. I think because my major is in the creative field, it was a good pick.
Tang: What is the book about?
Carretta: The book is about how to increase creativity, fuel competitive advantage, and build successful businesses. The author uses a 5-step process to achieve the goal — ask (define objectives), prepare (mind, culture, and environment), discover (ways and techniques of creativity), ignite (the sparks of creativity) and launch (implementation). The author attempts to engage all readers to develop their creativity muscle through a disciplined process.
Tang: What do you like most about this book?
Carretta: I like the book because I think I can relate to it on a personal level. In the Architecture program, every day I work designing and creating. In a way, the ideas in the book validate what I am doing every day at school. I think for MnDOT, the book is helpful in defining ways to expand our creative thinking. While I think MnDOT employees are innovative, the book explains new ideas and techniques to think about and try that would generate even more creative and innovative ideas.
Tang: What do you not like about this book?
Carretta: Although the real life examples used in the book are all from the private sector, I think that there is a lot to learn from them about being an agile, creative organization. Learning about developing creativity is especially important for the public sector because we have constrains and challenges that the private sector does not have.
Tang: What is the most important idea(s) you would like people to take away from this book?
Carretta: I think the most important idea is that everyone has the capacity and potential to be creative. As the author explains, creativity is one of the most important ingredients of personal and business success. The book provides practical and applicable ways of developing creativity.
Tang: After working at MnDOT for two years, what is your impression of MnDOT’s culture and environment in terms of creativity? What are we doing right to build a creative culture and environment? If we are not doing well in this area, how can we improve?
Carretta: Although I’ve been here for a little over two years, I still think of myself as a newer employee because I’m constantly learning more about MnDOT. For example, when I worked on the new display case in the CO Ground Floor lobby, I learned about the many innovative and creative projects that earned MnDOT its awards.
In the offices that I’ve worked at during my limited time here at MnDOT, I think that the organization is doing a nice job building a creative environment. The Commissioner’s Reading Corner is a nice example of our creative culture.
Tang: Please share some quotes from the book that are very meaningful for you.
Carretta: Creativity is defined as “the ability to think of a common idea in an uncommon way.” — Randall Dunn. p. 25
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.” — Abraham Lincoln. p. 109
Tang: Tell us a little bit about your reading habits.
Carretta: Because I’m in school, most of my time is dedicated to assigned readings for my architecture classes. In my spare time, my favorite online newspaper is Fast Company Design as it tracks trends in the design and business worlds.