(soothing piano music) – You are going to need to know about things in multiple fields. So the more multiple
fields you know about, the more likely you are to be able to juxtapose one against the other and find the association, the previously unknown
association, between those fields, the threads that link those two things. Another definition, the
more standard definition, is to produce new and useful insight through imaginative skill. That’s also a reasonable
definition but it doesn’t, to me it doesn’t get at the essence of it which is associating
previously unassociated fields. If I stay in finance I might be very smart and I may come up with
a bunch of useful ideas, but they won’t be creative. I’ve got to go across fields if other people are going
to say, “That’s creative.” So creativity is different from
problem solving in my mind. Problem solving’s a great thing, we all learn how to do it, and you know, I hope we’re all quite good at it and they’re very effective, but creative solutions are insightful, we’ve talked a little bit about that, they’re novel, they’re simple, they’re not wildly-complicated
structures, they’re elegant, and their simplicity and
elegance go together, and they’re generative. That is to say that when
you find one creative idea, it more or less, it more
often than not triggers other creative ideas in
the same kind of fashion. So when you come up with, I can make a point-contact transistor, as they did in the Bell Labs in 1948, then all of a sudden you
start thinking about, “Well what if I had a
bunch of these things “and I can use it for memory, “but gee I could also
use it for computing, “and then I put it together, “but then I’m going to
need to program it,” and all kinds of, you get a cascade effect that comes out of a truly creative idea. It’s different from
innovation because creativity in my mind is producing
new ideas, or actions, whereas innovation is
applying new ideas in action. So creativity is a
precursor to innovation, but it’s not the same as innovation, and it’s different from discovery. Discovery in my mind is
finding something new and creativity is making something new. So, many scientists are
great at discovery, right? That doesn’t mean they
can make something new. It means they’ve discovered something new, I’ve found 10 pounds in the floor, how unusual is that in New Haven to find 10 pounds in the floor, right? So that would be a discovery but it wouldn’t be creative in that sense. There are six stages in
the creative process. There’s preparation, which is everything we’ve done up until today, there’s incubation, which
is this mysterious period where Wallas didn’t know what went on but something clearly
something was happening because there was a
difference between preparation and the next stage which is illumination, and illumination happens in a flash, that’s the blinding insight,
and then you validate it, you show that you can do it twice, and then you show that
you can do it 50 times and then you put it into use. He didn’t imagine this
as this kind of process. It’s not a sequential process, anything but a sequential process. You start off in preparation,
you go into incubation, actually nothing happens in incubation, you go back to preparation, and then when you’re least
expecting it you get an idea, and we’ll talk about that, and
then all of a sudden nothing, you couldn’t make it work again, and then you’re back into incubation and so you pop all over the place. So that’s what he viewed it as. These dark blue areas are the
areas of conscious thought. These green areas occur
in unconscious thought. By the way I would’ve thought that word would’ve been
subconscious thought but the official psychological
word is unconscious thought. Arthur Koestler the famous author, Hungarian member of the Red
Army when he was a teenager and then became a complete
democracy advocate, wrote “Darkness at Noon,” great author, wrote a book called “The Act of Creation,” 600 pages long, great book to read, 200 pages on creativity and art, 200 pages on creativity and science, 200 pages on humor, and he viewed those
three as the same thing. So it’s a really wonderful
book and well worth the read. He said, you know, you have
two fields of knowledge and you find the juxtaposition of those two perspectives thinking and that’s where you
get the creative ideas. So, you know, the association of two previously unassociated fields. So let me give you an exercise here. I want you to associate
previously unassociated fields. Here’s a river, I want you to build a bridge over
this river for cars. So in your mind create this bridge. You got it? Did it look like this? All right, so what is this all about? Well this is about a guy
named Santiago Calatrava who was one of the greatest architects, certainly the most expensive architect on the planet these days. That’s him, he’s Spanish, and what are the two fields he associates? I mean one is bridges obviously. The other is skeletons. And where do the skeletons, what, he studies the architecture of bones, and he knows the intimate
shapes of all these bones and he thinks they’re absolutely gorgeous and uses these bones as
structural components in his buildings, associating previously
unassociated fields, in this case architecture and biology. He also loves bugs, as
you’ll see in a second, and he loves dinosaurs. So there’s no apparent
relationship between these, just he’s interested in them, so he comes up with buildings
that looks like this, which is the theater
in St. Louis I believe, and others that look like this, and then these great things
that look like fly eyes, and is that a bug, or what is that? This is a warrior bug, right. He also likes mathematical functions. So there’s another one, right. So it’s associating previously
unassociated fields. This is the Oculus,
which is being built now at the World Trade Center. It looks like a stegosaurus
to me, sort of a stegosaurus. This is the oldest known
association that I’m aware of. This is the Lion Man
of Hohlenstein-Stadel. It’s from the Aurignacian
period of 32,000 B.C. It’s the head of a lion
on the body of a man. Why would you want to do that, right? Well if you’re chasing lions then you occasionally you saw
your friend get eaten by one, you might like to have
lion-like qualities, right. This was obviously developed
by a man and not by a lion, so I can’t explain it from
the lion’s point of view, but this is this, if you
create these mythical, many mythical figures, or taking
parts of different animals or different cultures
and putting them together in order to give them super-human powers, associating previously unassociated fields for a particular end product. So new solutions are often the combination of two or more existing concepts, as we’ve just talked in the
Lion Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel. So if you had a video store, a videotape store which no longer exist, and you combine it with Amazon and priority mail you get Netflix, and there are a lot of businesses that are built with
these kinds of concepts. I think that it’s all
about the construction of associative networks of ideas, that’s what you’re really doing when you’re creating a business, you’re constructing
associative networks of ideas, and they have to be, it’s not just, a business is not one
idea, it’s many many ideas. It’s not about rearranging known elements and it’s not about
improving known elements, it’s about finding these structures, these hidden structures
that were not there, and recalling Koestler, Nabokov said, “Genius is finding the
invisible link between things,” and that’s what this is all about, what creativity is all about and what ventures are all about, is finding those invisible
links between things. So hypnagogic is people who have their associations
as they are falling asleep. Hypnopompic is people who have their associations
as they are waking up. When you’re falling asleep
you’re going from a state of an orderly state to a disorderly state. When you’re waking up you’re going from a disorderly state
to an orderly state. I have all my ideas, I’m
definitely hypnopompic. I’ve never had an idea
as I’m falling asleep. First of all I’m narcoleptic, I mean it takes me about .4
microseconds to fall asleep and I just, my wife takes
like four hours to fall asleep and she takes four hours to wake up. I wake, I’m like that, but
I don’t wake up and get up, I wake up and I kind of daydream for maybe an hour, hour and 1/2 sometimes, and if I get ideas that’s
99% of the ideas I get, and I get up and I run around the corner and I write them down
and I go back to bed. I generally have about
three, they’re small ideas, and I go back to bed, and
then the minute I lay down I get another three ideas, right, and then I get up and I write
them down and I come back, and sometimes I get another set of three. I don’t know why they always
come in sets of three, for me they come in sets of three, I don’t think there’s
anything important about that, and then I get up the next
morning and I read those things. I can’t read seven of the nine, and then the remaining two, at least one makes no sense whatsoever, and one may make some sense. So the productivity of this
process for me is extremely low. On the other hand if I go
back and look over time, where have all my good ideas come from? That’s where they’ve come from, and other people are like that as well. So there’s, and they’ve
actually tested this in Germany, something called the
number reduction task. So they give you a series of numbers and they give you an algorithm, completely made up, nonsense algorithm. There’s no math involved,
they just made it up, and they said if you see, if you take the first two
numbers and you combine them, we want you to write down a one, and then in the second stage
we want you to compare that one from the first two numbers
with the third number, and if it’s a one and a four we want you to call that a nine, and then we want you to
complete that sequence with the algorithms we give you until you get to the final number, and so you go through this whole process and you combine these things
and you finally get to the end, and lo and behold the
number at the end is nine, and what they do is they’ll
give you 50 of these and time how long it takes you, or they will give you half an hour and see how many you can do, so the rate at which you
do these things, all right. So what they don’t tell you is there’s a hidden algorithm in here, and the hidden algorithm is that the second number is
always the last number. So if you figure that out, you can really fly
through this thing, right, ’cause you don’t have to complete it, you just have to do two
numbers and you’re there, but you have to recognize that algorithm. So they train you in the morning and they test you in the
afternoon in how to do this, and in that case about 25% of
the people get the algorithm, and then they train you
in a different group in the afternoon and they
test ’em in the evening, and about 25% get it, and then they take another group and they train them in the evening and test ’em in the
morning and they get 60%, almost triple, two and 1/2
times the productivity, because of the associative
mechanism Of sleep. Do not waste that time, all right? If you’re exhausted at the end of the day, your day is not done, your day isn’t done until you’re either going
to sleep or waking up, one way or the other particularly if you’re interested in
the creative sciences. So you’ll see this
reflected in the documents. It takes people of a certain
personal quality as well. There are three qualities that I think and that the literature
would suggest, curiosity, associative ability, and
energy in productivity. In curiosity, ubiquitous interests, interested in absolutely
bloody everything, right, as opposed to a specialist. You have to have a love of exploring boundaries in the periphery. You have to focus on assumptions, you have to focus on flaws in systems and find them interesting. The implication, continually
drawing out the implications of what you’re seeing, open to new ideas, loving ambiguity, and
a certain immaturity, all these things are kind of
associated with curiosity. Then in associative ability, instinctive framework buildings. I’ve got to understand how the whole bloody thing
fits together in some ways, and I’m not satisfied
until I can see that. Psychologically androgynous,
having characteristics both male and female. For example, extroverted and introverted, aggressive and nurturing at the same time, sensitive and rigid,
dominant and submissive, conservative yet risk
seeking, humble and proud, and a sense of, as Csikszentmihalyi
said, “sunny pessimism,” and so these people with
all these opposing traits can be really a pain in the
neck sometime to be with, but it’s because of this opposition, this psychological opposition, that you juxtapose the previously, and you find the associations between previously unassociated fields, and you can substantially improve
your output by doing this, and then energy, an ability to sustain concentrated attention
for long periods of time, and I mean 36, 48 hours without
sleep and things like that, when you’re really on a
jag it’s quite wonderful, I mean you’re exhausted at the end but boy it’s a trip when you’re doing it, and passion and impatience
all go together. So these are the traits that
we’re looking for in people when you’re looking for
people in your companies, you want to look for these traits, and that doesn’t mean you
only have to have these traits but if you don’t have any of these traits in the people in your company, it’s, you’re competing against people who do, so you need to think about that. So just to finally wrap it up with our recently-departed
friend Steve Jobs, he said creativity is
just connecting things, and that’s really the simple essence of it all that we talked about. When you ask creative people
how they did something, they feel just a little guilty because they really didn’t do
it, they just saw something, just very much like we’ve seen today. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able
to connect the experiences that they’ve had and
synthesize new things, and the reason they were
able to do that was because they’ve had more experiences
where they thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect and they end up with very linear solutions without broad perspective, zoom in, zoom out, on the problem. The broader one’s understanding
of the human experience, zoom in, zoom out, the
better design we will have, 100% consistent with everything that we’ve learned over time. So he obviously really,
really understood this, and he was able to turn it
into something practical.