Every idea requires an extra splash of creativity to become successful and spark conversations. I’m not talking about mediocre success either. I’m talking about leave a dent in the universe kind of successful. Successful enough that the idea gets talked about around the water cooler and at little Maggies Baseball game. So successful that it’s featured on the news and talked about for years after it’s development and creation. These are the ideas that shape industries. Ideas that change the way people work. Change the way people think. These are the ideas worth talking about. These ideas however, require creativity.
Creativity is something that is slowly becoming very rare. It’s not often embraced and it’s more times than not, laughed at and ridiculed as many would rather be comfortable than take a risk. Here’s what Steve Jobs thought of creativity:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”
– Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1995
The key insight in his description of creativity is linked to the idea of connectedness. Great ideas happen when you’re able to combine traditional thinking or understanding with a concept or thought that is not directly related to the problem you’re trying to solve. When Steve Jobs and his team of designers created the very first Apple Product they didn’t look at Microsoft to identify how they can be more creative or innovative. Instead, Steve Jobs looked to the work of Picasso and the lifestyle of Buddhist Monks. The combination of these two thoughts from outside of the bubble are what combined to create some of the most user friendly and beautifully designed products in the world.
Then we have guys like Howie Schultz who instead of going from one coffee shop to the next on the streets of Nevada decided to visit the streets of Italy. In doing so, not only was he able to have an awesome trip, he was also able to identify things that North American companies didn’t even have on their radar. Taking this knowledge he was able to crush the market and leave a dent in the coffee industry forever. All of this, simply because he like Steve Jobs stepped outside of the bubble and combined abstract knowledge to a situation that was considered to be fine and not in need of disruption.
The businesses we love are special. The advertisements we share after watching them are special. They do something different. They aren’t just like everyone else. The people behind these ideas have decided to own something and bring it to life through the combination of key insights and a deep understanding for what their customers want. These are the trouble makers who go outside the bubble just so they can pop it. They are the ones who change things.
That’s what you need to do.
If you’re running a brainstorming session with your team and want some excellent ideas, invite people who do not limit themselves to the constraints of their existing education. They need to be curious enough to learn new things and unlearn old. If you’re looking to start a business and want a competitive advantage, don’t look at your competitors. Do something else.
Take a trip to Venice. Borrow a book of ancient poetry from the library. Visit art galleries throughout your city. Talk to your mom. Whatever you do, get outside of the bubble. What happens when you do that will amaze you. Ideas will flow. Concepts will die. But greatness will blossom.
Ross Simmonds is a co-founder of dreamr and digital strategist at Colour. You can follow him on Twitter and meet up with him on one of the various dreams such as “Paintball Battle & BBQ” or “Mexican Mayhem: Tequila & Taco Tasting” through dreamr.ca