7 bits of creative wisdom

Over the course of the last century, many great minds have shared their thoughts on creativity. Below are seven powerful insights for anyone who wants to be more creative.

“Genius is seeing what everyone else sees and thinking what no one else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Creativity is combining existing elements (ideas, products, services etc) to create something new. The basis for an innovative idea does not have to be invented… it’s already there! Creative minds simply notice what’s available and combine it in new ways.

“Rules are a great way to get ideas. All you have to do is break them.” – Jack Foster
To find truly remarkable ideas you need to challenge your assumptions. Most rules, both written and unwritten, can be bent or broken. Escaping the rules that seem inevitable is indeed a great way to kickstart your creativity.

“Beer does not refresh anyone while it is in the bottle. It has to be poured out to be effective. The same applies to your ideas.” – Paul Sloane
Ideas are cheap. Everybody has ideas. Good ideas however, cán be worth considerable amounts. But ónly when implemented. Unfortunately, most people are afraid to set their ideas free. Thoughts like “Someone might steal my brilliant idea” or “What if it doesn’t work?” often dominate. It’s like holding on to a banknote of € 100,00 for all your life. Too scared to pay with it (someone might rob you once you’ve flashed the paper), too anxious to put it in the bank (it might very well collapse, leaving you with nothing!). If you can’t use it, the banknote is about as valuable as any other coloured piece of paper. The same is true for ideas. Keep them in your head and you will never profit from them.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
Having extensive knowledge is great, but sometimes it’s even better to be a novice on the subject. Too much knowledge and experience can prevent you from finding alternative viewpoints and new possibilities. The most revolutionary ideas will usually be found by those naive enough to challenge ‘rules’ that have been in place for ages.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson
Doing something new has the inherent risk of failure. It has never been done before, so there are no guarantees for success. However, if you want progress or growth, you need to accept the risk of failure. If you keep doing the same things, nothing will change! In fact, there is something to be said for the statement “There is no such thing as failure”. Like Edison famously said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Every time something goes wrong you’ll learn something.

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” – Linus Pauling
In creativity quantity leads to quality. If you have only two or three ideas, your ideas are likely to be mediocre and obvious. The more ideas you conjure up, the more likely it is that one of those is brilliant and truly unique. If your team has generated hundreds of ideas during a creative session, most of those will be totally impractical. This is fine. These ideas have a different purpose. They pave the way for rare, ground breaking ideas. Ideas that reflect a brilliance that only surfaces if the environment is exactly right.

“The insecure way is the secure way” – Joseph Campbell
Not taking risks is risky. It might work for as long as the competition is just as risk-aversive as you are… but at some point the competition will try something new. Something that gives them an edge. Conservative companies that avoid risks and keep everything the same will inevitably lose the race. Avoiding risks will prove to be very risky indeed…


What are your favourite words of wisdom when it comes to creative thinking? Please let me know in the comment box below.


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