For years I thought that creativity is an innate trait. You either have it, or you don’t.
Till I discovered Dave Trott and read or listen to 4 of his books.
Winston Churchill summarized creativity in a quote: “We have no money, we shall have to think.” So, creative thinking is finding new ways to solve a problem with limited resources.
And let me tell you an example of pure creativity. One of the gems you’ll discover by reading Dave’s books.
Some years later, in the Arctic, the activist had a big problem. Hunters were killing thousands of seal pups for their pelts. It was impossible to defend the puppies or fight the seal hunters.
With limited resources, the activists had to find a solution. The brief was to prevent the baby seals from being killed.
The first thought was to oppose the hunters, but activists thought outside the box and went upstream of the brief.
They find a different answer. It was to spray cans of paint on every seal pup, ruining the pelt. Thus, the hunters had no point in killing the seals because they couldn’t sell their pelts.
But how do you do creative thinking?
Steve Jobs said that any new idea is nothing more than a new combination of old elements. And creative thinking is the ability to see combinations between the old elements.
Those who do that are good because they have more experiences or thought more of that experiences than other people.
“They are better at connecting the dots because they have more dots to connect.”
It’s what Dave Trott has been doing in all of his books. It shows us lots of experiences so we could set up relationships between dots.
He wrote a series of unrelated stories of unconventional thinking from the history of everything.
In One + One = Three, he paints stories like Scrabble’s invention, the branding experiences of Bank of Italy, which became Bank of America, and eventually launched the Visa card, or the story of the gypsy who lost two fingers and then reinvented jazz.
One lecture is about the young David Bowie, who collected and listened to countless records, including weird kinds of music, like Japanese music, men playing with spoons, opera, or even whale songs. Because he knew that these experiences would add up and someday help him create new and unique tones.
As Bowie or Jobs shows us, the creative sorts are curious and experience everything. Someday they will connect those experiences and give birth to a masterpiece.