Highly creative people work alone to master a domain. But, not all the time. Some of the time they hang-out with key people and in key communities. Creators don’t hoard ideas. They know ideas fertilize in the rich soil of human exchange. Less productive creative-types often fear throwing an idea out to the wind. But, to hold an idea within one person alone, no matter how life-changing it could be, is to bury it. Founder and CEO of Behance, Scott Belsky, says,
The process of creation is deeply consuming and lined with narcissism. We fall in love with our ideas and become both certain and protective…we become less receptive to criticism, and our ideas stagnate in isolation.
As we share our ideas with our communities, we receive feedback and support. We may also encourage competitors, who may, at first, scare us, but who will ultimately serve to make us work harder.
For several weeks, last Spring, I rocked my premature baby sitting in a worn-out glider-chair at UCSD Medical Center. I sang to her, chatted up the nurses and listened to doctors rounding. In the words of one nurse,
The place is a zoo.
The facility is crowded. Nurses, attending physicians, fellows, medical students, residents, social workers, lactation specialists, respiratory therapists, ophthalmologists and volunteers work together in close quarters. Everyone can hear when a nurse talks about the fabulous Caribbean Cruise she just returned from. But everyone can also hear a physician-attending suggesting research topics to the fellow shadowing her or the two nurses discussing an infant respiration monitoring study they are working on. The constant idea exchange uninhibited even the highly introverted.
Exchange, whether of ideas, recipes, or products, fuels human creativity.
Today’s Brain Candy:
Biologist Matt Ridley, spoke at TED Oxford recently about the upward mobility of human creativity, from pre-history to the future. Enjoy below: