Saturday, 16 February 2013

How Creativity works – Jonathan Lehrer 2012

Plenty obvious tips and tricks how to work in advertising and how to create a successful agency:  „This book is about how such moments happen. It is about our most important mental talent: the ability to imagine what has never existed.“ (Lehrer 2012)

„Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we’ve hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 239) „It’s often only at this point, after we’ve stopped searching for the answer, that the answer arrives.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 249)  „The question, of course, is how these insights happen.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 265).

„Perhaps the purpose of the right hemisphere was doing the very thing he was trying to do: find the subtle connections between seemingly unrelated things.“ (Lehrer, 2012,1 285).  “It needs to see the forest and the trees. The right hemisphere is what helps you see the forest.” (Lehrer, 2012, 288). „When I solved puzzles with analysis, I tended to sound out each possible combination, cycling through each of the different words that went with age and then seeing if it also worked with mile and then sand. When I came up with a solution, I always double-checked it before pressing the space bar. An insight, by contrast, was instantaneous: the word felt like a revelation.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 376). „The suddenness of the insight is preceded by an equally sudden burst of brain activity.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 406).

„Instead of composing freely, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints. But that’s precisely the point. Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they’ll never invent an original line.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 489). „You break out of the box by stepping into shackles.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 506).

A researcher used „EEG to help explain why interrupting one’s focus—perhaps with a walk outside or a game of Ping-Pong—can be so helpful. Interestingly, Bhattacharya has found that it’s possible to predict that a person will solve an insight puzzle up to eight seconds before the insight actually arrives.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 595). „The essential element is a steady rhythm of alpha waves emanating from the right hemisphere. While the precise function of alpha waves remains mysterious, they’re closely associated with relaxing activities such as taking a warm shower.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 599).  

„it’s important to find time to unwind, to eavesdrop on all those remote associations coming from the right hemisphere. Instead of drinking another cup of coffee, indulge in a little daydreaming. Rather than relentlessly focusing, take a warm shower, or play some Ping-Pong, or walk on the beach.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 888). “We wanted them to have a blank mind. I assumed that this would lead to a real drop in brain activity. But I was wrong.” (Lehrer, 2012, 795). „“When you don’t use a muscle, that muscle isn’t doing much,” Raichle says. “But when your brain is supposedly doing nothing, it’s really doing a tremendous amount.”“ (Lehrer, 2012, 799).

„Modern science has given Nietzsche’s categories a new set of names. The Dionysian innovator, trusting all those spontaneous epiphanies, is a perfect example of divergent thinking.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 1081). „The Apollonian artist, by comparison, relies on convergent thinking. This mode of thought is all about analysis and attention.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 1086). „I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, a very time-consuming verb. It’s about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that’s always going to be a long and difficult process. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to feel like work.“” (Lehrer, 2012,1154).

„For Ma, the tedium of the flawless performance taught him that there is often a tradeoff between perfection and expression. “If you are only worried about not making a mistake, then you will communicate nothing,” he says. “You will have missed the point of making music, which is to make people feel something.”“ (Lehrer, 2012, 1395). „I will make a mistake on stage. And you know what? I welcome that first mistake. Because then I can shrug it off and keep smiling. Then I can get on with the performance and turn off that part of the mind that judges everything. I’m not thinking or worrying anymore. And it’s when I’m least conscious of what I’m doing, when I’m just lost in the emotion of the music, that I’m performing at my best.”“ (Lehrer, 2012, 1423).

„But Jobs (at Pixar) realized that it wasn’t enough simply to create an airy atrium; he needed to force people to go there. Jobs began with the mailboxes, which he shifted to the lobby. Then he moved the meeting rooms to the center of the building, followed by the cafeteria and coffee bar and gift shop. But that still wasn’t enough, which is why Jobs eventually decided to locate the only set of bathrooms in the atrium. “At first, I thought this was the most ridiculous idea,” says Darla Anderson, an executive producer on several Pixar films. “I have to go to the bathroom every thirty minutes. I didn’t want to have to walk all the way to the atrium every time I needed to go. That’s just a waste of time. But Steve said, ‘Everybody has to run into each other.’ He really believed that the best meetings happened by accident, in the hallway or parking lot.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 2269).

„“Because you can take the same person, and if you just move them from a city of fifty thousand to a city of six million, then all of a sudden they’re going to do three times more of everything we can measure. It doesn’t matter where the city is or which cities you’re talking about. The law remains the same.”“ (Lehrer, 2012, 2788). „“Cities are this inexhaustible source of ideas,” West says. “And that’s entirely because of these equations. As cities get bigger, everything starts accelerating.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 2800). „The results were astonishing: businesspeople with entropic networks full of weak ties were three times more innovative than people with small networks of close friends. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity—thinking the same tired thoughts as everyone else—they were able to invent profitable new concepts.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 3015).

„The first thing we have to ensure is that our new digital contacts don’t detract from our real connections, from the analog conversations of the physical world. Twitter has its uses, but it’s no substitute for the ballet of Hudson Street, just as the weak ties of Facebook cannot replace the weak ties of life.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 3072).  „The Internet has such creative potential; it’s so ripe with weirdness and originality, so full of people eager to share their work and ideas. What we need now is a virtual world that brings us together for real.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 3081).

„This raises the obvious question: Why are corporations so fleeting? After spending twenty-five thousand dollars for statistics on more than eighty-five hundred publicly traded companies, West and Bettencourt discovered that corporate productivity, unlike urban productivity, didn’t increase with size. In fact, the opposite happened: as the number of employees grew, the amount of profit per employee shrank.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 3094). „Instead of imitating the freewheeling city, these businesses minimize the very interactions that lead to new ideas. They erect walls and establish hierarchies. They keep people from relaxing and having insights.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 3099). „Rather than maximizing employee creativity, they become obsessed with minor efficiencies.“ (Lehrer, 2012, 3100).

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