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Creativity is all about connecting experiences

Frédérick Giasson wrote a very nice commentary on one of the popular Steve Jobs quotes:

“To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. 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 have thought more about their experiences than other people have. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they en up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.” — Steve Jobs

Fred mentioned several interesting points:

  • experiences mentioned by Steve does not only apply to software engineering but it applies to any experiences in life.
  • knowledge can be connecting each other with experiences.
  • differentiation of a creative person from the unimaginative one is their experiences.

The How to be Creative post got me thinking a lot of the creativity topic recently. In my opinion, experience is one of the major keys for being creative, but it may not be all. Same goes with the common saying “To be creative you need to think outside the box”. It is not all.

For instance, these aspects are also important to be creative:
Ignore everybody.
Put the hours in.

What creativity is for Steve jobs? It is all about experience connectivity – [Fred on something]
The Breakout Principle: Maximize Creativity, Athletic Performance, Productivity and Personal Well-Being


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