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Speaking of creativity – by six Nobel Laureates

Creativity is intelligence having fun – Albert Einstein
Creativity, thinking new. Who could better speak about creativity than scientists making the impossible possible?
 Six Nobel Laureates took the stage at the Nobel Week Dialogue 2016 and spoke about creativity. This subject has always been something that both drives and fascinates me. Usually when speaking about creativity people tend think about art or music, something cultural, but creativity is also mostly and highly relevant within science, business and all other disciplines and it’s important to recognise because it’s often downgraded in these branches. My overall interpretation of creative person or creativity is that it’s about having the ability to think freely, to know how to use your accumulated knowledge to solve problems and having the capability to connect your interdisciplinary mind to take on challenges or coming up with a new ideas. I think Steve Jobs says it a bit better:
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. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
– Steve Jobs
I spend a lot of time trying to understand how things actually work and as I mentioned before on the blog, what gets me up in the morning is trying to understand how things and the world actually functions. Of course my own creativity is one of those things I’m curious about. The questions I’ve asked myself are for example:
  • When do I come up with new ideas?
  • Why do I come up with ideas at that exact time?
  • How can I give myself the ultimate conditions to ideate and be creative?
  • How is it that I can’t seen to remember names (having real troubles with it) but with ease can remember and use what I’ve read months ago in some article when having a discussion with the team?

I have no better answer to the questions above than the more I read and learn, the more creative I become. Note to self – never stop learning.

I’m a strong believer that in order for you to become a creative master it surely helps to master the topics you’re being creative about – or having a deep understanding about what you’re about it, since it will help see the challenge from several different angles. At least for me, the less I know about something the harder it is to be constructive creative. The deeper your knowledge of a subject is, the more you can apply your creativity to solve problems or coming up with new solutions, because you then understand how things belong and are connected. At the same time, your creativity won’t be optimal if you don’t have a broad interdisciplinary knowledge, since a big part of creativity is connecting things in new ways. It might sound boring but I do think that a big part of my creativity comes from the reading I’ve done throughout the years and still do. Since the day I left the gymnasium I’ve probably spent an average of 3-4 hours a day on gaining new knowledge (thank you Internet for making it possible to help democratize information) . And it’s not in one particular subject, I read a lot about everything from politics and economics to tech, marketing, leadership, biologi and whatever else comes up in mind.

There are of course a lot of great tools and exercises one can do to “lock up” the mind and becoming more creative (no expert in that), but for me – reading and gaining knew knowledge helps me to get different angles at problems and eventually helps me solve those questions.

So, what did the Nobel laureates say about creativity?

  • A driving force for a lot of scientists is that they truly want to understand how the world works.
  • A big part of being creative is to shield yourself from all the influences from the outside such as social media and the internet so that you don’t get distracted from your own thoughts.
  • There’s a big different between being productive and creative and original. Being isolated from time to time when you’re working on things will feed creativity. Being connected will keep you productive.
  • You need to be connected to get the inspiration and to do your research but today few people find their own ways of doing things, and finding your own way of thinking and solve a problem is creativity.
  • A big part of creativity comes from something going on in the environment around you and that pressures people to solve a problem – this is a common fact when looking at creativity from a macro perspective
  • Try to make a list of all the “impossibles” you see out there, how many have become “possbiles” after 3, 5 or 10 years? Find your own impossibles and work on them.
  • Creativity is power. Having power is meaningless if you don’t use it. So use your creativity and power for something that is for the greater good.
  • People love science fiction. What if we would focus on social fiction and re-invent social and the society in order to tackle todays challenges?
  • Human beings tend to not accept the impossible –  that what keeps pushing the humanity forward and beyond.
  • Creativity is combining facts that no one else has combined before – getting connections in your brain.
  • Change environment and go to places where there are smart and new people – you’ll influence each others.

When are you the most creative? Do you give yourself the benefit of shielding yourself from the impressions around you?


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