I have always admired creative people and wondered how they came up
with the all the cool stuff they create. The truth is that most people
who have been called creative or have invented some of the most popular
and used products did so accidentally. The Slinky and Play doh are
examples of accidental creations that the creators have made billions
from as almost 1 billion units of these items have been sold since
their creation in 1940 and 1955 respectively. Penicillin, the
Microwave, fireworks, the Pacemaker and Post it Notes are other
examples of accidental inventions. All the inventions that I just
mentioned have impacted our daily lives and quite frankly, some of us
would be hard pressed to admit that we are not glad that someone
stumbled upon them.
The question is though, can I intentionally
come up with something creative that can have a worldwide impact, or
are we relegated to inventing based on pure luck. The simple answer is
yes. Most large companies invest millions in Research and Development
(R & D) Departments set aside for the purpose of creating items
that they hope will make such an impression with customers, that there
already fat pockets will get fatter. I asked a couple of R & D
Managers who wanted to remain nameless, who they depend on for
creativity and they unanimously said that they depend on young people,
specifically those under the age of 35 years old. Ageism I asked, but
they said no, the reason why they use younger people is that their
research have led them to believe that creativity in mankind generally
reduces after the age of 35. There are undoubtedly exceptions to the
rule shown with great innovators like Albert Einstein, however they
said that they generally get more creative products from their younger
members of staff. They use the experience of older members of their
staff as the voice of reason, to bring the ideas back to reality as
they put it, as the younger members of staff tend to take too many
risks. The interesting thing is that I was speaking with managers who
were well over the age of 50. Apart from age however, there are a
number of other characteristics of a creative mind.
The most important characteristic of a creative person is that they do not allow
reason to hinder his or her creative ability. If you are honest with
yourself, you will admit that most of the ideas you have come up with
are not within reason and in some cases do not seem plausible. Most
will scoff at your idea because it seems ridiculous, however,
creativity comes out of a mind that is not bound by reason. You should
take all your ideas to the extremes, ignoring reason initially. You
have to ignore doubt and naysayers and push the limits of possibility
and think outside the box society has set for you.
After you have milked out all of the possibilities for your idea, then you should
insert reason. This is done after the idea has been fully developed in
your mind because reason will cut your creation process prematurely.
Most inventions will not look like the initial concept that was
developed, so do not allow reason to cloud your creativity initially.
Reason at the end of your concept creation task, so that you can bring
the idea back to the real world, but even then, be careful not to let
reason tell you that something is impossible.
Many will say that you have to infuse reason into creativity at all points of the concept
creation stage, as it is time consuming to develop a concept and then
when reason is applied you need to start from scratch. The foregoing
may be true, however, I would prefer to not limit my creativity with
reason and spend more time creating unique things. Which leads to the
other character of a creative person. You need to have lots of patient.
Creative concepts that can work are rarely developed overnight. You
need to have patients and never give up on your ideas unless there is
absolutely no way for your idea to work in real life.
You also need to read a lot and know the technologies that are already
available. Some technologies may actually assist you in your creative
process, as you will not have to reinvent the wheel. So, where research
has been done in the area you are interested in, you may need to keep
abreast of the results of the research already done.
Good inventors are very thick skinned, that is, they never allow what others
say to discourage their creativity or to deter them from carrying a
concept to its full development. If you are going to be creative you
will come upon naysayers who themselves are not as courageous as
yourself to try something new. Never let them get you down.
Never leave an idea undone. Great inventors carry through concepts to the end
of the creation process. Get everything from the idea, as this will
protect you from others coming up with ideas based on concepts you
failed to consider.
An inventor knows how to keep a secret. Never tell anyone about your creation. Keep it to yourself until you
can patent it. There are too many sad stories about big companies
stealing ideas and making millions from the creators had work. Never
let pride get the best of you. It may be very tempting to bang your
chest like a Guerrilla to display your might, power and especially your
superiority in innovation, but be careful, because as you beat your
chest in victory, someone is seeking to piggy back off your idea.
You must be willing to take a risk. Inventions will take funding which is
difficult to come by especially in our present financial crisis.
However, you will need to spend more than you can afford to lose. You
may or may not be successful in your task, however you will have to
take a risk if you want to invent something that has never been tried.
Finally, inventors have always sacrificed their time to achieve their goals as
innovators. The development of new concepts and ideas will require long
hours of hard work. There is a need for good time management. You will
need to sacrifice the time you spend on less important things like
watching TV and other forms of entertainment. Time is critical, as I
can't count the number of times I have come up with an idea and then a
couple months down the line I see my idea advertised on TV. Use your
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