Creativity is Just Connecting Things?

This article is a good read. It raises many interesting questions and argues that Creativity is not a gift but a skill that can be developed. Look at the following paragraphs – “creativity is just connecting things”.

Steve Jobs famously declared that “creativity is just connecting things.” Although we think of inventors as dreaming up breakthroughs out of thin air, Mr. Jobs was pointing out that even the most far-fetched concepts are usually just new combinations of stuff that already exists. Under Mr. Jobs’s leadership, for instance, Apple didn’t invent MP3 players or tablet computers—the company just made them better, adding design features that were new to the product category.

The history of innovation bears out Mr. Jobs’s theory. The Wright Brothers transferred their background as bicycle manufacturers to the invention of the airplane; their first flying craft was, in many respects, just a bicycle with wings. Johannes Gutenberg transformed his knowledge of wine presses into a printing machine capable of mass-producing words. Or look at Google: Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with their famous search algorithm by applying the ranking method used for academic articles (more citations equals more influence) to the sprawl of the Internet.

Some times these connections are made by a variety of cognitive processes. They help us abstract ideas and apply them in other situations.

It turns out that we use “creativity” as a catchall term for a variety of cognitive tools, each of which applies to particular sorts of problems and is coaxed to action in a particular way.

If creativity is connecting dots, how do we find these dots? How do make the connections? Observing and Questioning seem to be some of the skills to hone.

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3 thoughts on “Creativity is Just Connecting Things?

  1. I used to think that creativity was taking an innovation from one area and applying it to another. For e.g. Take group on, they are successful in group deals, and now think if this can be done for the enterprise.

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