CM 053: Amy Whitaker on Carving Out Creative Space

Blog Post - AmyHow do we make time for creative work? And how do we sustain that work with so many demands on our time?

Amy Whitaker, author of Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses, tells us how. Writer, artist, researcher, and teacher, Amy works at the intersection of art and commerce. She holds an MBA from Yale and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine arts. She is also a professor at New York University.

In this interview, we talk about:

  • Why art and creativity are responsible for our greatest human contributions
  • That art is the opposable thumbs equivalent of what makes us human
  • How creativity is about personal discovery and contribution
  • The fact that creativity is not a distant land of mythic geniuses and art theorists
  • The value in taking a wide-angle or systems view for art thinking
  • The role of play and creativity in important scientific discoveries
  • How to develop a habit of studio space for creative work
  • Why it is normal to feel disoriented and vulnerable while creating
  • The importance of working in the weeds to feel alive
  • Why we need to trade discernment for judgment
  • Whether we are standing at the easel versus sitting in the armchair
  • The power of becoming a good noticer
  • How creatives are inventing point B rather than moving toward it
  • When Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile and what it did for running
  • Inspiring ways to manage creatives
  • Why managing is about creating the space for creatives to do their work
  • The importance of good enough versus perfect or right
  • Why creatives need to think about the letter versus the envelope
  • Why we need to have our own metaphors
  • Thoughts on Leonardo da Vinci if he were alive today
  • Why we need to find language for the middle space

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned


Thomas J. Fogarty

Takahiko Masuda

Target blindness

Brene Brown

Amy Poehler

Harper Lee

Actor-observer bias

Truman Capote

Reframe: Shift the Way You Work, Innovate, and Think by Mona Patel

Kristian Still

Dialectical behavioral therapy

Amy Schumer



Roger Bannister and YouTube video of him breaking the 4-minute mile

Donald Keough and New Coke

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