The new film 'Interstellar' is being hailed for helping to bring theoretical physics into the mainstream. But, it also communicates unexpected lessons about innovation that are vitally important to executives, entrepreneurs, scientists and others.
This year my agency conducted an experiment: we hired eight interns, all Millennials, from around the world. To top off the experiment, we took on an impossible task and launched an immersive three-week sprint to submit for the Cannes Chimera Initiative, which promotes use of creativity to address social causes. The assignment this year was to come up with ideas that would inspire Millennials to become engaged in solving the global health crisis. The first part of the challenge was to present ideas to our senior leadership team at the agency. For two hours, my jaw dropped as idea after idea arrested my imagination and filled my heart with hope and protective pride. This is not just an optimistic generation, this is an empowered generation of young people that believe it is more than their right to make a difference—it is their duty.
“Remember before the internet?” asks Joi Ito. "Remember when people used to try to predict the future?”
In this engaging talk, the head of the MIT Media Lab skips the future predictions and instead shares a new approach to creating in the moment: building quickly and improving constantly, without waiting for permission or for proof that you have the right idea.
This kind of bottom-up innovation is seen in the most fascinating, futuristic projects emerging today, and it starts, he says, with being open and alert to what’s going on around you right now. Don’t be a futurist, he suggests: be a now-ist.
The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. A person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down.
If the solution and the destination are determined up front, it leaves little if any room for creativity and innovation…
We live and work in accountability-driven systems. And for that reason, visions and endpoints proliferate our institutions and organizations. Our destinations have often been determined before we ever begin. Not that being outcome-driven is negative…but very often, the path to get to those outcomes has already been mapped out with excruciating detail before ever beginning the journey.
What we fail to realize, is that authentic creativity and true innovation seldom, if ever, occur in a linear fashion.