Making Connections discussion

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ARCHIVES > Where does Serendipity come from?

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Clausen I have long been interested in creative minds, creativity and the capacity from creation.

Where does that special aha! moment come from? Is it from a casual stroll through the woods? Does it come from defocused mental wondering? Does it come from years of exposure to a subject matter? No one knows -- it is itself an object of wonder.

For these reasons, we should be willing to try things, different thing to spur our serendipity mechanisms.

How do you drive yourself to serendipitous moments?


message 2: by Angelo (new)

Angelo Marcos (angelomarcos) | 12 comments Hi Daniel,

This is a subject I've been investigating myself recently, in fact I've interviewed a number of people about this and put the interviews together if you're interested in taking a look - https://angelomarcos.wordpress.com/cr...

Personally, the way I attempt to drive myself to these moments is by exposing myself to a wide variety of different experiences and knowledge. Sometimes those very different things will connect in some way in my mind, and will lead me to thinking 'what if'...

The result of this is often an idea for a story or a comedy routine (I am a standup comedian as well as an author), and from there I love exploring and seeing where things end up.

I think that's what I love so much about creativity - the ability to take something fairly mundane and take it somewhere completely different.

Not to throw another link at you, but I gave a talk about this in central London a while ago, which you may well find interesting. It's at https://angelomarcos.wordpress.com/20...

And thanks for starting this thread Daniel, it's a fascinating topic!

:-)


message 3: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Clausen Angelo wrote: "Hi Daniel,

This is a subject I've been investigating myself recently, in fact I've interviewed a number of people about this and put the interviews together if you're interested in taking a look -..."


Thanks Angelo, I'll take a look.


message 4: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 32 comments Creativity is all about making connections. A creative person takes an idea from over here and a different idea from over there and finds a way to stick them together. It is that fusing of one idea into another which is at the heart of creativity and serendipity.

How do we "do" creativity? Actually, there's a really simple technique which all creative people use - many without realising it. I call it the question of power.

To understand the question of power, we need to know its dull twin - the question of cynicism. Most people look at a question and ask "will it work?" This is a closed question which invites a binary response. Yes or no. And more often than not the default answer to the question of cynicism is "no". It's the safer choice.

The question of power is "how can I make this work?" This is an open question - you can't answer it with a 'no'. It forces you to look for solutions. You can't wimp out with "nah, it won't work."

So the question of power works like this:

1. identify two or more concepts that you want to link together. Things that interest you. Things that maybe haven't been linked together in the past. Funky things.

2. Ask the question of power - "How can I make this work?" Do everything you can to find an answer. If it looks difficult, try a different approach. Give it everything you've got, like Edison and his light bulbs.

3. Come up with as many solutions as you can. Test each one, but not to see if you can reject it. Test each solution to see if you can improve it. It's the question of power again.

4. Either make it work or move on to something else when/ if you are really sure that it won't.

5. Repeat.

There is one more technique which really creative people use. It's a form of mental scrap-booking. They hold on to fragments of funky ideas. Half formed connections. Then as they go through their lives they are looking for ways to use these fragments. They are constantly asking the question of power (how can I make this work?), both with the ideas stored in their heads and with the new experiences that they have.

Oh, and have lots of new experiences. Because the more ideas you have floating around, the more chance you have of making a connection. And then applying the question of power.


message 5: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Clausen Starting from number three -- that is a process I got in the habit of doing in university. Yeah, it's worked out pretty well. Though, I find that sometimes it's months or years between the initial question and the final breakthrough. Often, there is a lot of heartache and discovery in between.


message 6: by Dave (new)

Dave Edlund (dedlund) Excellent question! I have to agree with Will--I think you nailed it. If I were to add anything, it would be perseverance--once you believe you are onto something, never, never give up. When you face failure or setbacks (not if, but when), press onward--there is always another solution.

By education and profession, I'm a scientist (more than 100 US patents), and I write fiction--thrillers. Some may think the creative process is different in science than it is in the arts. I would say no, not at all. In fact, I believe they are very much the same.

It all begins, as Will said, with the power question.


message 7: by Angelo (new)

Angelo Marcos (angelomarcos) | 12 comments I agree that creativity is often about using different ideas and concepts together in new ways, however I think that the basis of that process is subconscious.

Speaking for myself, I find that ideas 'come to me' in sudden bursts of inspiration. From there the process is much more of a conscious, deliberate one, where I'm looking at how I can make something work (the question of power, mentioned above). But the idea/inspiration itself generally seems to be something that just happens, rather than something I consciously try to make happen.

No idea if that makes sense, but I've found that trying to define the creative process is often like trying to catch water with a butterfly net...

;-)


message 8: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Clausen Angelo wrote: "I agree that creativity is often about using different ideas and concepts together in new ways, however I think that the basis of that process is subconscious.

Speaking for myself, I find that ide..."

It's one of the reason why I find that creating a writing routine is so hard. As soon as I think routine, I feel like I'm at work.


message 9: by Angelo (last edited Jul 04, 2016 05:52AM) (new)

Angelo Marcos (angelomarcos) | 12 comments Daniel wrote: "Angelo wrote: "I agree that creativity is often about using different ideas and concepts together in new ways, however I think that the basis of that process is subconscious.

Speaking for myself, ..."


Yes, I know what you mean. In the video I linked to above, I talk about three main parts of the creative process; ideas, choice and commitment.

The commitment part is probably the toughest, because that's where we have to show up every day and do the work no matter what else is going on. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline and - for me anyway - is nowhere near as fun as the first two stages!

I liken it to marriage or a long term relationship. The honeymoon period ends and you're left with committing, with all the good and bad that entails.


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