Where Do Ideas Come From? The Science of Creativity
Next time you need an idea, try associating different ones that exist in a different way – and leave your psychoanalyst at home.
Where do ideas come from? It’s a difficult question to answer, and one that has inspired quite a bit of research over the years. A new study, recently published in Psychological Science, gives us some insight into where ideas come from and how we can improve our chances of having more of them. Here’s what the researchers discovered about where ideas come from and how we can spark creativity!
There's Nothing New Under the Sun?
Ever heard the expression, “there’s nothing new under the Sun?”
If you’re expressly trying to figure out something completely new, it’ll feel forced. Like you are trying to create something from absolutely nothing. But when you take a look at existing ideas:
- you can try to figure out how to adapt them for people who have less resources like money or time, or
- who haven’t realized how much the original idea might help them, or
- Any number of other ways that make the new idea better than the original.
1. How can creativity be nurtured?
Creativity isn’t just about coming up with new ideas; it’s also about recognizing the potential in existing ideas and adapting them to new situations. To nurture creativity, we need to create an environment that supports open dialogue and encourages people to think outside the box.
2. Experimentation and the environment can foster creativity
The right environment can help foster creativity. When people feel free to explore and experiment, they are more likely to come up with new ideas. It is important to create a space in which challenges are discussed openly and without fear, stimulating new solutions. When we give ourselves permission to think outside the box and play around with new concepts, we often discover things that were never possible before.
3. The Creative Process
Ideas often originate from dialogues in which an individual hears about a challenge and recognizes a new path for solving it. It is therefore crucial to create a space in which challenges are discussed openly and without fear, stimulating new solutions. So where do creative ideas come from? How can we create new ideas?
4. Three Steps to Becoming a Better Creative Thinker
If you’re wondering how to create new ideas, it’s important to understand where they come from in the first place. Many people mistakenly believe that creativity is something that only a select few are born with. However, the reality is that we all have the ability to be creative – it’s just a matter of understanding how to tap into that potential.
Here are three steps that can help you become a better creative thinker
1) Select an idea-generation strategy. There are many different ways to find inspiration and generate new ideas; some of these include observing objects closely, brainstorming with others, or finding connections between seemingly unrelated things.
2) Use your imagination as a tool for problem solving. Often times, simply imagining how an object could work will lead to a breakthrough idea.
3) Embrace mistakes as valuable learning opportunities and not failures.
Steve Jobs: Creativity is Connecting Things
Steve Jobs pointed out that creativity is just connecting things – and that creative people often feel guilty because they just see new connections between existing ideas, where others don’t.
He had a point.
One of the only necessities for creating ideas is to do so in a safe environment. Ideas don’t stand up very well to inspection. We care what theirs think. So we don’t like to share our ideas in case others think they are bad ideas, or that we lack intelligence. Unfortunately, such behavior in itself shows a lack of intelligence. But the damage is already done.
If you start off with an idea that donuts might taste good if they were made to taste like potato chips, but give up on the idea because someone is dismissive of it, then chances are you’ll never associate different ideas with it long enough for one of them to stick.
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