In this video of his talk at PSFK CONFERENCE NYC, Jason Silva shares two of his ‘shots of philosophical expresso’ – an exploration of how technology can quickly manifest our ideas and desires. The filmmaker and futurist rapidly demands that we need to learn to see the word in new ways in order to experience anew the amazement that has always been there. Heady, rapid creativity.
Want to release your inner creative genius? Check out this video chat with Jonah Lehrer, author of the book Imagine: How Creativity Works, and learn how to generate insights and foster a more creative workforce.
Whenever I try to conjure up what innovation looks like, the same slideshow of images clicks across my mind: that photo of Einstein with his tongue sticking out, Edison with his light bulb, Steve Jobs onstage in his black turtleneck, introducing the latest iThing. Unoriginal and overdone, to be sure. And not all that accurate.
Because it’s not just about that romantic “ah ha!” moment in front of a chalkboard or a cocktail napkin, it’s about the nitty-gritty work that comes after the idea: getting it accepted and implemented. Who are these faces? And, most importantly, as I’m sure you’re all asking yourselves: where do I fit in?
By removing ourselves from what we know – by turning ourselves into outsiders – we force the brain to wake up and look at new things, or at old things from new angles. Lerner points to mathematician Paul Erdos, one of the most productive scientists of all time who was “famous for hopscotching around his discipline, working with new people on new problems. He embraced a multiplicity of subjects…As a result, his creative output never declined; there was no U curve for his career, just a sharp rise followed by a flat line…. ….The moral is that outsider creativity isn’t a phase of life – it’s a state of mind.”
In his new book, Imagine, Jonah Lehrer explores the art and science of original thinking — from Shakespearean tragedies to the invention of masking tape to Nike's "Just Do It" campaign. And when you get stuck?
Diffee says his cartoons always start with words, not images. Typically, he’ll take a phrase that’s lodged in his mind and tweak it this way and that until he comes up with something funny or hits a mental dead end. By the time he fills up the paper, he usually has at least a couple workable ideas.
Workable doesn’t mean publishable, though. Among Diffee’s pieces of advice for aspiring creative people is this aphorism: “Be like a mother sea turtle.” By that he means lay a hundred conceptual eggs in the sand, then swim off and don’t fret over what becomes of them. Most of them will never hatch
The image of the 'creative type' is a myth. Jonah Lehrer on why anyone can innovate—and why a hot shower, a cold beer or a trip to your colleague's desk might be the key to your next big idea.
How can people get better at making these kinds of connections? Mr. Jobs argued that the best inventors seek out "diverse experiences," collecting lots of dots that they later link together. Instead of developing a narrow specialization, they study, say, calligraphy (as Mr. Jobs famously did) or hang out with friends in different fields. Because they don't know where the answer will come from, they are willing to look for the answer everywhere.
Recent research confirms Mr. Jobs's wisdom. The sociologist Martin Ruef, for instance, analyzed the social and business relationships of 766 graduates of the Stanford Business School, all of whom had gone on to start their own companies. He found that those entrepreneurs with the most diverse friendships scored three times higher on a metric of innovation. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity, they were able to translate their expansive social circle into profitable new concepts.
The “Giant Birdsnest for creating new ideas” was conceived and created by O*GE as a prototype for new and inspiring socializing space, which can be seen as a morph of furniture and playground. Its powerful, yet simple concept and intriguing character needs no explanation or user manual: Ready to to be used, to be played in, and be worked in. With its 4.50 m diameter the big version can host up to 16 people at once, offering a comfortable and sensual soft space, various siting positions, configurations for informal meetings and social exchange.
I was not sure I wanted to curate it on my Creative Process Magazine ;-)
What do yout think. Does the design and shape help to nurture "new ideas" ?
The study adds to research suggesting that small doses of distraction — including hard-to-read fonts — prompt the mind to work at a more abstract level, which is also a more creative level. (The possibility that sound energized people was considered but rejected: Participants’ heart rates did rise when they first encountered noise, but soon subsided.) The effect of noise is inverted-U-shaped, this study suggested: There’s a sweet spot between silence and din.
We live in a world mad for talent. From Hollywood and sports to executive search firms and HR departments around the globe, everyone seeks that special mix of natural abilities and attitudes that will make performance pop.
Why are we so fascinated by the idea of creativity? It's one of the defining tricks of human nature. We somehow conjure up new ideas out of thin air--we can't help but find new connections. But you really can't just address it from the perspective of the brain. It's also about the cultures we're embedded in and the people we work with, how we work with them, and which cities we live in.
Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.
It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead. Yet there are good reasons why this should be so.
These individuals are well aware that they stand, in Newton's words, "on the shoulders of giants." Their respect for the area in which they work makes them aware of the long line of previous contributions to it, putting their own in perspective.
They're also aware of the role that luck played in their own achievements. And they're usually so focused on future projects and current challenges that past accomplishments, no matter how outstanding, are no longer very interesting to them.
At the same time, they know that in comparison with others, they have accomplished a great deal. And this knowledge provides a sense of security, even pride.
I think the fact that Shakespeare lived in London, which was the densest city of the time and a very successful metropolis — that was not an accident. Cities really are an engine of innovation. They are where so many of our good ideas originate. Ten years ago and people were saying, now that we’ve got Skype, email and video chat cities will wither. Of course that hasn’t happened because cities are more valuable than ever before. Being around all these other smart people makes us smarter.
Turns out that brainstorming--that go-to approach to generating new ideas since the 1940s--isn’t the golden ticket to innovation after all.
But the idea behind brainstorming is right. To innovate, we need environments that support imaginative thinking, where we can go through many crazy, tangential, and even bad ideas to come up with good ones. We need to work both collaboratively and individually. We also need a healthy amount of heated discussion, even arguing. We need places where someone can throw out a thought, have it critiqued, and not feel so judged that they become defensive and shut down. Yet this creative process is not necessarily supported by the traditional tenets of brainstorming: group collaboration, all ideas held equal, nothing judged
Be solitary. You need that space and time for dreaming, and mulling things over, and connecting the dots, as well as the creative act itself. These things require deep concentration, which you will not get if someone keeps interrupting you to offer you almonds or ask to have sex with you or talk about Spongebob. (Why Spongebob? I don’t know. It just came to me.) Be social. We need that thrum of energy, that cross-section of perspectives. Creative work happens in solitude, but creative idea-gathering tends to happen in the world. Feed your head. Don’t leave inspiration to chance. Schedule it in. Establish a creative routine, then step outside of it. Mix it up on a regular basis. Seek out sources of influence. Force your brain to think in new ways. The brain is a lazy brain. It will go on automatic if you let it, so it can sit on the couch and drink a beer and watch some godawful reality TV show featuring annoying housewives. Steal ideas from everywhere you can find them, and then recombine them in new and interesting ways. Take ideas from a field or discipline as far away from yours as possible, and then find ways to apply those ideas. People will think you’re a genius. Or nuts. Or nuts, and then a genius.
In 2112, creativity will be the most valued form of work because creativity is about going against what everyone (including yourself) believes in. By 2112, our minds will be directly connected to computers. We think having Google at our disposal has changed how we think about knowledge retention, but imagine when that knowledge is literally integrated into your being.
In his classic review of the relationship between intelligence, creativity, and personality, Frank X. Barron and David Harrington concluded that creative people tend to take more risks and are more impulsive (low Conscientiousness) but they also see themselves as competent and hard-working (high Conscientiousness). This seeming paradox (that creative people are simultaneously both high and low in Conscientious) can be resolved by recognizing there are two different aspects of Conscientiousness, each one with opposite correlations with creativity. Creative individuals tend to be more self-focused, independent, and intrinsically motivated (lower dependability/orderliness) while also being more driven, persistent, and gritty (higher industriousness/achievement).
"You may have heard this anecdote. Picasso is sitting in the park, sketching. A woman walks by, recognizes him, runs up to him and pleads with him to draw her portrait. He’s in a good mood, so he agrees and starts sketching. A few minutes later, he hands her the portrait. The lady is ecstatic, she gushes about how wonderfully it captures the very essence of her character, what beautiful, beautiful work it is, and asks how much she owes him. “$5,000, madam,” says Picasso. The lady is taken aback, outraged, and asks how that’s even possible given it only took him 5 minutes. Picasso looks up and, without missing a beat, says: “No, madam, it took me my whole life.”
Aren't walled classrooms boxes too? Would my students' creativity flare to new heights if we met under open skies?
And think of the wider applicability. Somewhat wildly, I envision world leaders, locked in conflict over some geopolitical issue, who not only meet each other outdoors in nature's greenery, but also talk through their differences as they walk together, each lifting two hands in alternation.
It's an amusing image, but my question behind it is serious. What does the embodied-cognition perspective have to teach us when it comes to "thinking big" about our world's challenges?
"There is no quick fix for this problem. But my view (and Richard's) is that we have to rethink how we utilize workers in our advanced economy. We fear that job structuring and classification becomes entirely self-sealing for many American workers. Once a job is defined as routine, it becomes routine and the individual in it doesn't exercise judgment or decision-making. That employee then becomes by definition low-productivity and both can't be paid much and is easier to think of as a candidate for off-shoring.
If instead, the employee was asked to exercise judgment and decision-making in order to innovate and enhance the productivity of the operation, then the possibility for higher productivity, higher firm performance and higher wages exists.
This won't be the case for all jobs. But I believe that America can influence the slope of the line of increasing creativity-oriented jobs by leaning toward creativity"