A Shortcut To Ideas

a shortcut to ideas
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One day I showed the image below to a couple of American colleagues. It shows a few “caboclos de lança“, a carnival character very specific to a small region of north-eastern Brazil, where I’m from. They wear magnificent hand-embroidered cloaks, carry a white gillyflower between their lips and wear those amazing sparkling oversized wigs. Not to mention the massive spear they swing around.

The first comment I heard was about how much their shoes resembled Converses.

Maracatu Rural

When exposed to something alien, our first instinct is to try to find a connection to something we already know. That’s our way of making sense of the world. We will (unconsciously) try to use previous experiences to better understand new ones.

This concept can help us understand both how ideas are formed and how communication can be optimized by leveraging this fact. Continue reading

How the new Apple headquarters will boost creativity

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Apple, considered by many the most innovative company in the world, takes ideas seriously. More seriously than anyone else, probably. Apple’s future headquarters is proof of that: it has been designed with creativity in mind.

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The building, described by Steve Jobs as “a shot at being the best office building in the world”, has been conceived in such a way to incentivize the exchange of ideas among employees of different departments and divisions. Continue reading

Creative Technique: Chance Creativity

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push for eureka
Chance can inspire great ideas. It’s the proverbial “Eureka” moment. Most of the times, though, we don’t have the luxury of waiting for chance to strike. The real world is full of deadlines and sometimes ideas need to come on demand. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow force random events to bring us ideas? I believe we can.

Chance creativity can be turned into an idea generation technique. It has worked for me many times. Here’s how it works:

1. Remember the last time you’ve been somewhere you had never been before.

It can be anything: the last time you met someone new, or visited a new museum, or when you experienced a new part of town. You can also create a fresh new experience: go have lunch somewhere you’ve never been before. When we experience something new, we become more sensitive to the events around us. We can take advantage of that state and use those experiences as a starting point for creativity. Continue reading

Are Luck and Creativity one and the same?

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In a previous article I wrote about the invention of Velcro and how the idea came to be. It touched on taking inspiration from nature’s designs, but there’s another side to that story I’d like to explore deeper now: the relationship between luck and creativity.

When George de Mestral – the inventor of velcro – noticed burrs stuck to his clothes, he did not dismiss the fact. Something that could be brushed aside as an insignificant event in his life ended up becoming the starting point of his legacy. Why did he not ignore the burrs, like most of us would have? Was it luck?

According to Dr. Richard Wiseman, “lucky folks – without even knowing it – think and behave in ways that create good fortune in their lives”. Dr. Wiseman ran an 8-year-long experiment involving self-proclaimed lucky and unlucky people. As it turns out, only a small percentage of good or bad outcomes in our lives is a direct result of chance:

My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

– Dr. Richard Wiseman

Dr. Richard Wiseman

A man of luck

Continue reading