Sunday, September 5, 2010

On Being an Innovator

Creativity is defined in the dictionary as "the use of imagination or original ideas". Where does creativity come from? Can a person gain more creativity? Can a person become less creative if their creative energies are not exercised? Here is an interesting theory as to what creativity is:

There is a view of creativity called the "messenger of God" theory, which proposes that finished works are implanted, whole, in the creator's mind. The messenger of God theory points to people like Mozart, who claimed to hear completed symphonies in his head that he had only to write down. 
Another view of creativity, consistent with the experience of numerous people, says that instead of being suddenly inspired geniuses, individuals who are called creative are really more like a dog with a bone. They refuse to let go of an idea. They stick with it for a long time. They mull over the problem at their workbench as well as in the most mundane places. They chew on it just as a dog chews on the same old bone for hours... creative people find no challenge in problems whose answers come easily, preferring to sink their teeth into something meatier.
The true marks of creativity are: (1) an ability to sense which problems are likely to yield results and so are worth tackling, (2) confidence that you can solve the problems you single out for solution, and (3) a dogged persistence that keeps you going when others would give up. 

- From "The Man Who Tasted Shapes", by Richard E. Cytowic, M.D.

Thanks goes to lovely Patricia who lent me this book.

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