Creativity: how to generate new ideas
One of things I am asked most if how do I generate new ideas. It always comes in the top three on any training evaluation form or pre-training questionnaire.
I was fascinated to read this article this week. What attracted me to it was the title:
A Neuroscientist and a Composer on How the Brain Generates New Ideas
What sets us apart from the rest of species on earth apparently is our ability to generate 'what-if scenarios', to imagine things that haven’t yet happened. Neuroscientist David Eaglemann says "so much of creativity is generating new possibilities—many of which will be terrible"
Many of which will be terrible? Eh? What?
He goes on to say that many of our daydreams will ultimately prove futile or worthless or disastrous failures, but that the ability to generate lots of different options is the key to the creative mind at work.
Here's a lovely bit... he says there are three mechanisms for generating new possibilities:
bending, breaking, and blending.
Bending is like a variation on a theme. So you take some source (insulating tubes), and you create a new version of it that introduces novelty in some way (you wrap it round your neck, you bend it, you balance it on your nose, you make a tunnel out of it)... David Eaglmann says "you’re twisting it out of shape, you’re transforming it. It’s what a jazz pianist does with a jazz standard every night that they perform."
So here I am experiencing what David calls "bending" as a way to create new ideas... and I literally am bending it! Excuse the pun...
This introduces the important notion that the insulting pipe can be anything. Everyone involved has bought into the idea that the insulating pipe can be something else. You only have to look at the looks on the children faces to see how eager they are to have a go at "bending" also.
Young brains go to that place happily, in fact they go to that places will vigour and fervour!