George Lois: Ideas are the Product of Discovery, Not Creation

I don’t think I create anything. I’m really serious — I discover the ideas.

[…]

If you understand how to think… If you have a background of graphic art, and you are a sports fan, and you’re literate, and you’re interested in politics, and you love opera, and ballet’s not bad either, and if you understand people… and you understand language, and you understand that product, and you understand the competitive products… and you put that all together in about ten minutes — the idea’s there.


“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan


Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative.

When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen. The time they spend on these things has increased.

But children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes or assimilating their experiences through play or just observing the world around them.

Dr. Teresa Belton


Musical Creativity and the Brain

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Some bits from Mónica López-gonzález introduction to her article for the Creativitypost.

While working with young jazz soloists, Miles Davis once said, “Play what you hear, not what you know.” Practice, experience, and sheer talent taught Davis that a personally and socially satisfying gig occurs when the ideas entering the musician’s imagination are developed through solo improvisations instead of ignored in favor of practiced patterns. Simply put, no one wants to pay for and hear a contrived performance. Both the fascination we have with the art of in-the-moment creation and the value we place on it continue to flourish.

[…]

A primary difference between our brains and those of other animals is our capacity to engage in cognitive abilities such as reasoning, representation, association, working memory, and self-reflection. During any creative act, from language production to marketing techniques selling the latest iPhone, ideas or past experiences are combined in novel and significant ways via the interaction of such cognitive capacities.

[…]

Humans appear to have a propensity for making complex new things that are not explicitly necessary for biological survival or reproduction. In comparison to other arts, such as design, photography, and sculpture, however, the universal abilities of musical creation and processing are generally accepted as some of the oldest and most fundamental of human socio-cognitive development. In fact, researchers have argued for music’s role in evolutionary biology. Scholar Ellen Dissanayake has further claimed from an ethnological stance that the creation and appreciation of art more generally are advanced adaptive behaviors that are key to social survival.

From Musical Creativity and the Brain at the Creativitypost.


Chuck Close on Creativity

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The supremacy of work ethic and process over idleness. Just do – and the rest will follow.

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art ida.’ And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you didid today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

[…]

I never had painter’s block in my whole life.

From Chuck Close on Creativity, Work Ethic, and Problem-Solving vs. Problem-Creating by Maria Popova


Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings

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From the study abstract:

Adults and children are spending more time interacting with media and technology and less time participating in activities in nature. This life-style change clearly has ramifications for our physical well-being, but what impact does this change have on cognition? Higher order cognitive functions including selective attention, problem solving, inhibition, and multi-tasking are all heavily utilized in our modern technology-rich society. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that exposure to nature can restore prefrontal cortex-mediated executive processes such as these. Consistent with ART, research indicates that exposure to natural settings seems to replenish some, lower-level modules of the executive attentional system. However, the impact of nature on higher-level tasks such as creative problem solving has not been explored. Here we show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multi-media and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50% in a group of naive hikers. Our results demonstrate that there is a cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting. We anticipate that this advantage comes from an increase in exposure to natural stimuli that are both emotionally positive and low-arousing and a corresponding decrease in exposure to attention demanding technology, which regularly requires that we attend to sudden events, switch amongst tasks, maintain task goals, and inhibit irrelevant actions or cognitions. A limitation of the current research is the inability to determine if the effects are due to an increased exposure to nature, a decreased exposure to technology, or to other factors associated with spending three days immersed in nature.

Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings. Via Take a Hike to Boost Your Creativity.


@twitter on #Creativity

My daughter gives me a great deal of creative insight & inspiration.

Fostering Creativity, Imagination Play in Kids http://ow.ly/1855x

My daughter and I used to make music with found instruments. The walls, doors, pots, pans and utensils. A noisy house but fun. #creativity #music

Now her learning is more structured but we still make time for silly play (and unstructured time).

Creative ideas are often generated when one discards preconceived assumptions & attempts a new approach/method that might seem unthinkable

Children think the unthinkable.

Creativity by individuals and teams is a starting point for innovation; the 1st is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the 2nd.

A great deal of time and money is spent on inspiring creativity in business, design, or research teams.

Much of this time and money would be better spent sitting with your children and getting involved with their activities.

Learning from them and seeing the world through their eyes provides the greatest inspiration of all.


Elizabeth Gilbert: A new way to think about creativity


Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, muses on the nature of creativity. She suggests that it’s not a rare person that is a genius but rather that there is genius in all of us, waiting to be discovered. I don’t agree with all that she has to say but it is an interesting take on some of the issues surrounding fear and creativity.


Seth Godin on Creativity

You don’t need to be more creative, all of you are too creative.
Be a person that always ends up ‘shipping’. If you are proud of what you ‘ship’ and are on time, you will be successful and you will get to do it over and over again. What you do for a living is ‘ship’ and not ‘being creative’.
The resistance gets worse and worse the closer we get to ‘shipping’. Of course we come to the meeting before ship date as our ‘lizard brain’ says I need to speak up now. The genius part (in getting ideas realized) is to get the Lizard brain to shut up long enough to overcome resistance.

Via the swissmiss report on his speech at 99%.


Discipline

The film Amadeus dramatizes and romanticizes the divine origins of creative genius. Antonio Salieri, representing the talented hack, is cursed to live in the time of Mozart, the gifted and undisciplined genius who writes as though touched by the hand of God … Of course this is hogwash. There are no ‘natural’ geniuses … No-one worked harder than Mozart. By the time he was twenty-eight years old, his hands were deformed because of all the hours he had spent practicing, performing, and gripping a quill pen to compose…
As Mozart himself wrote to a friend, “People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.”

From Twyla Tharp’s book ‘The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
‘.


Collaboration is amplification


Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age: A New Model for the Workplace. Pixar University’s Randy Nelson explains what schools must do to prepare students for jobs in new media.
I don’t think the talk needs to be pidgeon holed to careers in new media but serves as a commentary for businesses, educators, and people in general. It’s an inspiring talk. Here are some somewhat key passages:

Make your partner look good … (which might be along the same train of thought as killing the devils advocate). Take a piece of work and don’t judge it … take the work and say, here is where I am starting, what can I do with this?
The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.
Proof of Portfolio vs. promise of a resume.
Collaboration is amplification. The amplification you get by connecting a bunch of human beings .. who are listening to each other, interested in each other, bring separate depths to the problem, bring breadth that gives them interest in the entire solution, allows them to communicate on multiple different levels (in writing, in acting, in pictures/imagery) … in all those ways you get a high fidelity notion across a broad range of people.
Be interested, not interesting

The original video is located here.