The system that all creative geniuses use to generate ideas
Quite often we hear that we don’t have to put the cart in front of the horse. What about breaking stereotypes and starting a project with only a general idea of what should be the result ? About how Chris Rock, Frank Gehry and the Pixar team do it, Peter Sims tells.
To start something new, whether it's building a new career or founding a company, we only need a complete ideaand a clear vision of the process. The vast majority of people think this way or that way, but in reality the situation is different. If you look at the stories of Starbucks, Google, YouTube, or any other organization that has achieved success over the past 10, 15, 20 years, you will find something in common in them. They started work in one direction, but achieved success and continue to develop in a completely different direction.
Top comedians and top architects use the same approach.
It may take Chris Rock six months to compose material for one hour of a comedy show, and he does it like this: sets out his ideas on sheets of paper, then unofficially visits clubs and arranges in front of an audience as relaxed and comfortable as possible so that everyone sees: “ Before them is not Chris Rock in prime time. Chris Rock is in front of them. ” He starts having fun chatting with the audience, and then bombing her with jokes. Sometimes this process is extremely awkward. But the author does this in order to grope for new jokes and, as soon as he finds them, having fixed his ideas, continues to communicate, improving his material until the jokes are so honed that they can be used directly in the show.
Frank Owen Gehry takes a similar approach. He is one of the most respected architects of his generation, but despite this, starting to something new, he is afraid that he will not be able to understand how to design the building. This is very strange for a person who has exchanged the eighth decade, but he just changes pieces of paper, uses cardboard and a lot of duct tape, makes preliminary sketches and models to start the process. All this is done in conjunction with a team of people who also produce ideas and share them. As soon as the architect delves into the work, and the new project is gaining momentum, working on it becomes easier than it seemed initially.
The same is true for most creative processes. The term that can describe these people is “experimental innovators.” These are those people who learn from every (even insignificant) mistake and combine bit by bit what becomes ultimately grandiose. It can be a comedy performance, a building, or a piece of music. There are no great achievements without losses, failures and hard work!
But the most surprising thing is the fact that people working in such different industries and directions have such a similar approach to creating something new. We can talk about those who create comedy films or Franck Gehry with its architecture, about Pixar employees, about the Stanford School of Design Thinking, or even about representatives of the armed forces. There is a universal way for everyone to think and act more creatively. This is a kind of philosophy. This is a lifestyle, after all.
How does Pixar make cool ideas from sloppy creative ideas?
Ed Catmall, co-founder of Pixar Studios, describes this process as follows: when creating a new movie, you need to go the way "from sludge to NOT sludge." Team members “summarize” each other's ideas, thereby increasing team productivity. They do not condemn or criticize thoughts voiced during meetings, even if the ideas are really “overwhelming”. They use what is called “build-up." That is, if one member of the team voices a raw idea, the rest say: “Yes, it sounds good, but what if we do like this?” This is much more effective than just saying that the idea in its present form is not like, and ignoring it. The idea of building, borrowed from the rules of improvisation, is the core of the Pixar culture. The bottom line is to perfect someone’s idea, take good elements, and then develop them to a state of perfection.
Creative people do not just solve problems - they seek them out
One of the most interesting discoveries made in the course of studies of creativity, such as the work of psychology professor Mihai Chiksentmihaii, is that creative people tend to try a lot of things before choosing a solution to a problem. These people do not just solve problems, they carefully seek out them.
- YouTube was originally a dating site. This path did not lead to anything and, ultimately, the creators of the resource found a way to make it a platform for storing and displaying video online.
- eBay in the beginning was Pez Dispenser.
- Google started as a project for the library at Stanford, in which the creators tried to help users simplify and prioritize the search for books in the library. The task was successfully solved, but at some point Larry Page and Sergey Brin realized: “We are very interested in how we can take a whole bunch of information and use it to prioritize the search results!” They realized that they could solve a lot more significant problem.
The faster you find problems, the sooner you can offer innovative solutions.
Obviously, Google has accomplished this task. We can observe the same thing in a study of psychology: people who come up with several options for solving the problem, before choosing one, as a rule, give the most creative work results.
Spend 10% of your time experimenting
Set a number of requirements and restrictions for yourself, and then tell yourself: “I am going to try to act in a given direction for several weeks and see where this leads. I will take notes to evaluate progress. I’ll look at the situation critically and make a decision whether it is worth continuing to move along the same path or is it better to turn back. ” You can use this basic philosophy every time you start something new or creative: think over requirements and allowable losses.
At some point, you begin to look for qualitative or quantitative evidence that you are on the right track, and this will happen before you enter the big game with the corresponding risks.
Thinking is what matters. Willingness to spend 5 - 10% of your time on experiments will help you (not immediately, of course) to develop a creative and entrepreneurial spirit in yourself, and get new opportunities that you never knew before.
PS We recommend another article on the topic - “5 main mistakes or why your rational decisions do not work?”
The author of the translation is Vyacheslav Davidenko, founder of MBA Consult .