I’m really into looking for patterns. There’s a reason: I believe it generates creativity – and there’s scientific evidence to back this up. I’ll start this piece with a statement: Knowledge alone is not useful unless we can make connections between what we discover. I don’t worship Steve Jobs but I think highly of him, and here’s what he had to say about connections:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
From that standpoint, increasing your creativity could be as simple as experiencing more and thinking about those experiences.
Here’s the thing: they don’t have to be original or unique experiences. To borrow from the Bible, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Moving forward to more recent times, Austin Kleon, author of “Steal Like An Artist,” wrote a book about using the work of others to inspire and inform your own. Here’s what he says about it:
“Every artist gets asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” The honest artist answers, “I steal them.” Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.”
Personal experience tells me it’s a mix of new and what I call “previously contemplated” experiences and input. While it’s true that the strongest impression upon the brain is caused by experiencing new things, it’s only new to you if you’ve never experienced it before. New is relative.
The creativity and innovation our team has injected into Changelane is a result of a balance between old and new ideas. The more experiences we have, the more connections we can make and the more patterns we can detect.
So here’s our recipe for creativity. Be a sponge. Soak in a wide range of knowledge. Mash them up. Bake in your brain. Serve with relish.