Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Absolute unpredictability and total improbability of our connected minds

“Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictably and total improbability of our connected minds. That way we can keep open all the options, as we have in the past.”
Lewis Thomas, 1973

Science and Complexity

Warren Weaver
Rockefeller Foundation, New York City

"Science and Complexity", American Scientist, 36: 536 (1948).
Based upon material presented in Chapter 1' "The Scientists Speak," Boni & Gaer Inc.,1947. All rights reserved.

Science has led to a multitude of results that affect men's lives. Some of these results are embodied in mere conveniences of a relatively trivial sort. Many of them, based on science and developed through technology, are essential to the machinery of modern life. Many other results, especially those associated with the biological and medical sciences, are of unquestioned benefit and comfort. Certain aspects of science have profoundly influenced men's ideas and even their ideals. Still other aspects of science are thoroughly awesome.

How can we get a view of the function that science should have in the developing future of man? How can we appreciate what science really is and, equally important, what science is not? It is, of course, possible to discuss the nature of science in general philosophical terms. For some purposes such a discussion is important and necessary, but for the present a more direct approach is desirable. Let us, as a very realistic politician used to say, let us look at the record. Neglecting the older history of science, we shall go back only three and a half centuries and take a broad view that tries to see the main features, and omits minor details. Let us begin with the physical sciences, rather than the biological, for the place of the life sciences in the descriptive scheme will gradually become evident.

Problems of Simplicity
Speaking roughly, it may be said that the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries formed the period in which physical science learned variables, which brought us the telephone and the radio, the automobile and the airplane, the phonograph and the moving pictures, the turbine and the Diesel engine, and the modern hydroelectric power plant.

The concurrent progress in biology and medicine was also impressive, but that was of a different character. The significant problems of living organisms are seldom those in which one can rigidly maintain constant all but two variables. Living things are more likely to present situations in which a half-dozen, or even several dozen quantities are all varying simultaneously, and in subtly interconnected ways. Often they present situations in which the essentially important quantities are either non-quantitative, or have at any rate eluded identification or measurement up to the moment. Thus biological and medical problems often involve the consideration of a most complexly organized whole. It is not surprising that up to 1900 the life sciences were largely concerned with the necessary preliminary stages in the application of the scientific method-preliminary stages which chiefly involve collection, description, classification, and the observation of concurrent and apparently correlated effects. They had only made the brave beginnings of quantitative theories, and hardly even begun detailed explanations of the physical and chemical mechanisms underlying or making up biological events.

To sum up, physical science before 1900 was largely concerned with two-variable problems of simplicity; whereas the life sciences, in which these problems of simplicity are not so often significant, had not yet become highly quantitative or analytical in character.

Problems of Disorganized Complexity
Subsequent to 1900 and actually earlier, if one includes heroic pioneers such as Josiah Willard Gibbs, the physical sciences developed an attack on nature of an essentially and dramatically new kind. Rather than study problems which involved two variables or at most three or four, some imaginative minds went to the other extreme, and said: "Let us develop analytical methods which can deal with two billion variables." That is to say, the physical scientists, with the mathematicians often in the vanguard, developed powerful techniques of probability theory and of statistical mechanics to deal with what may he called problems of disorganized complexity.

This last phrase calls for explanation. Consider first a simple illustration in order to get the flavor of the idea. The classical dynamics of the nineteenth century was well suited for analyzing and predicting the motion of a single ivory ball as it moves about on a billiard table. In fact, the relationship between positions of the ball and the times at which it reaches these positions forms a typical nineteenth-century problem of simplicity. One can, but with a surprising increase in difficulty, analyze the motion of two or even of three balls on a billiard table. There has been, in fact, considera~e study of the mechanics of the standard game of billiards. But, as soon as one tries to analyze the motion of ten or fifteen balls on the table at once, as in pool, the problem becomes unmanageable, not because there is any theoretical difficulty, but just because the actual labor of dealing in specific detail with so many variables turns out to be impracticable.

Imagine, however, a large billiard table with millions of balls rolling over its surface, colliding with one another and with the side rails. The great surprise is that the problem now becomes easier, for the methods of statistical mechanics are applicable. To be sure the detailed history of one special ball can not be traced, but certain important questions can be answered with useful precision, such as: On the average how many balls per second hit a given stretch of rail? On the average how far does a ball move before it is hit by some other ball? On the average how many impacts per second does a ball experience?

Earlier it was stated that the new statistical methods were applicable to problems of disorganized complexity. How does the word "disorganized" apply to the large billiard table with the many balls? It applies hecu~ise the methods of statistical mechanics are valid only when they are distributed, in their positions and motions, in a helter-skelter, that is to say a disorganized, way. For example, the statistical methods would not apply if someone were to arrange the balls in a row parallel to one side rail of the table, and then start them all moving in precisely parallel paths perpendicular to the row in which they stand. Then the balls would never collide with each other nor with two of the rails, and one would not have a situation of disorganized complexity.

From this illustration it is clear what is meant by a problem of disorganized complexity. It is a problem in which the number of variables Is very large, and one in which each of the many variables has a behavior which is individually erratic, or perhaps totally unknown. However, in spite of this helter-skelter, or unknown, behavior of all the individual variables, the system as a whole possesses certain orderly and analyzable average properties.

A wide range of experience comes under the label of disorganized complexity. The method applies with increasing precision when the number of variables increases. It applies with entirely useful precision to the experience of a large telephone exchange, in predicting the average frequency of calls, the probability of overlapping calls of the same number, etc. It makes possible the financial stability of a life insurance company. Although the company can have no knowledge whatsoever concerning the approaching death of any one individual, it has dependable knowledge of the average frequency with which deaths will occur.

This last point is interesting and important. Statistical techniques are not restricted to situations where the scientific theory of the individual events is very well known, as in the billiard example where there is a beautifully precise theory for the impact of one ball on another. This technique can also be applied to situations, like the insurance example, where the individual event is as shrouded in mystery as is the chain of complicated and unpredictable events associated with the accidental death of a healthy man.

The examples of the telephone and insurance companies suggests a whole array of practical applications of statistical techniques based on disorganized complexity. In a sense they are unfortunate examples, for they tend to draw attention away from the more fundamental use which science makes of these new techniques. The motions of the atoms which form all matter, as well as the motions of the stars which form the universe, come under the range of these new techniques. The fundamental laws of heredity are analyzed by them. The laws of thermodynamics, which describe basic and inevitable tendencies of all physical systems, are derived from statistical considerations. The entire structure of modem physics, our present concept of the nature of the physical universe, and of the accessible experimental facts concerning it rest on these statistical concepts. Indeed, the whole question of evidence and the way in which knowledge can be inferred from evidence are now recognized to depend on these same statistical ideas, so that probability notions are essential to any theory of knowledge itself.

Problems of Organized Complexity

This new method of dealing with disorganized complexity, so powerful an advance over the earlier two-variable methods, leaves a great field untouched. One is tempted to oversimplify, and say that scientific methodology went from one extreme to the other-from two variables to an astronomical number — and left untouched a great middle region. The importance of this middle region, moreover, does not depend primarily on the fact that the number of variables involved is moderate — large compared to two, but small compared to the number of atoms in a pinch of salt. The problems in this middle region, in fact, will often involve a considerable number of variables. The really important characteristic of the problems of this middle region, which science has as yet little explored or conquered, lies in the fact that these problems, as contrasted with the disorganized situations with which statistics can cope, show the essential feature of organization. In fact, one can refer to this group of problems as those of organized complexity.

What makes an evening primrose open when it does? Why does salt water fail to satisfy thirst? Why can one particular genetic strain of microorganism synthesize within its minute body certain organic compounds that another strain of the same organism cannot manufacture? Why is one chemical substance a poison when another, whose molecules have just the same atoms but assembled into a mirror-Image pattern, is completely harmless? Why does the amount of manganese in the diet affect the maternal instinct of an animal? What is the description of aging in biochemical terms? What meaning is to be assigned to the question:

Is a virus a living organism? What is a gene, and how does the original genetic constitution of a living organism express itself in the developed characteristics of the adult? Do complex protein molecules "know how" to reduplicate their pattern, and is this an essential clue to the problem of reproduction of living creatures? All these are certainly complex problems, but they are not problems of disorganized complexity, to which statistical methods hold the key. They are all problems which involve dealing simultaneously with a sizable number of factors which are interrelated into an organic whole. They are all, in the language here proposed, problems of organized complexity.

On what does the price of wheat depend?This too is a problem of organized complexity. A very substantial number of relevant variables is involved here, and they are all interrelated in a complicated, but nevertheless not in helter-skelter, fashion.

How can currency be wisely and effectively stabilized? To what extent is it safe to depend on the free interplay of such economic forces as supply and demand? To what extent must systems of economic control be employed to prevent the wide swings from prosperity to depression? These are also obviously complex problems, and they too involve analyzing systems which are organic wholes, with their parts in close interrelation.

How can one explain the behavior pattern of an organized group of persons such as a labor union, or a group of manufacturers, or a racial minority? There are clearly many factors involved here, but it is equally obvious that here also something more is needed than the mathematics of averages. With a given total of national resources that can be brought to bear, what tactics and strategy will most promptly win a war, or better: what sacrifices of present selfish interest will most effectively con-tribute to a stable, decent. and peaceful world?

These problems-and a wide range of similar problems in the biological, medical, psychological, economic, and political sciences-are just too complicated to yield to the old nineteenth~century techniques which were so dramatically successful on two-, three-, or four-variable problems of simplicity. These new problems, moreover, cannot be handled with the statistical techniques so effective in describing average behavior in problems of disorganized complexity.

These new problems, and the future of the world depends on many of them, requires science to make a third great advance, an advance that must be even greater than the nineteenth~century conquest of problems of simplicity or the twentieth~century victory over problems of disorganized complexity. Science must, over the next 50 years, learn to deal with these problems of organized complexity.

Is there any promise on the horizon that this new advance can really be accomplished? There is much general evidence, and there are two recent instances of especially promising evidence. The general evidence consists in the fact that, in the minds of hundreds of scholars all over the world, important, though necessarily minor, progress is already being made on such problems. As never before, the quantitative experimental methods and the mathematical analytical methods of the physical sciences are being applied to the biological, the medical, and even the social sciences. The results are as yet scattered, but they are highly promising. A good illustration from the life sciences can be seen by a comparison of the present situation in cancer research with what it was twenty-five years ago. It is doubtless true that we are only scratching the surface of the cancer problem, but at least there are now some tools to dig with and there have been located some spots beneath which almost surely there is pay-dirt. We know that certain types of cancer can be induced by certain pure chemicals. Something is known of the inheritance of susceptibility to certain types of cancer. Million-volt rays are available, and the even more intense radiations made possible by atomic physics. There are radioactive isotopes, both for basic studies and for treatment. Scientists are tackling the almost incredibly complicated story of the biochemistry of the aging organism. A base of knowledge concerning the normal cell is being established that makes it possible to recognize and analyze the pathological cell. However distant the goal, we are now at last on the road to a successful solution of this great problem.

In addition to the general growing evidence that problems of organized complexity can be successfully treated, there are at least two promising bits of special evidence. Out of the wickedness of war have come two new developments that may well be of major importance in helping science to solve these complex twentieth-century problems.

The first piece of evidence is the wartime development of new types of electronic computing devices. These devices are, in flexibility and capacity, more like a human brain than like the traditional mechanical computing device of the past. They have memories in which vast amounts of information can be stored. They can be "told" to carry out computations of very intricate complexity, and can be left unattended while they go forward automatically with their task. The astounding speed with which they proceed is illustrated by the fact that one small part of such a machine, if set to multiplying two ten-digit numbers, can perform such multiplications some 40,000 times faster than a human operator can say 'Jack Robinson." This combination of flexibility, capacity, and speed makes it seem likely that such devices will have a tremendous impact on science. They will make it possible to deal with problems which previously were too complicated, and, more importantly, they will justify and inspire the development of new methods of analysis applicable to these new problems of organized complexity.

The second of the wartime advances is the "mixed-team" approach of operations analysis. These terms require explanation, although they are very familiar to those who were concerned with the application of mathematical methods to military affairs.

As an illustration, consider the over-all problem of convoying troops and supplies across the Atlantic. Take into account the number and effectiveness of the naval vessels available, the character of submarine attacks, and a multitude of other factors, including such an imponderable as the dependability of visual watch when men are tired, sick, or bored. Considering a whole mass of factors, some measurable and some elusive, what procedure would lead to the best over-all plan, that is, best from the combined point of view of speed, safety, cost, and so on? Should the convoys be large or small, fast or slow? Should they zigzag and expose themselves longer to possible attack, or dash in a speedy straight line? How are they to be organized, what defenses are best, and what organization and instruments should be used for watch and attack?

The attempt to answer such broad problems of tactics, or even broader problems of strategy, was the job during the war of certain groups known as the operations analysis groups. Inaugurated with brilliance by the British, the procedure was taken over by this country, and applied with special success in the Navy's anti-submarine campaign and in the Army Air Forces. These operations analysis groups were, moreover, what may be called mixed teams. Although mathematicians, physicists, and engineers were essential, the best of the groups also contained physiologists, biochemists, psychologists, and a variety of representatives of other fields of the biochemical and social sciences. Among the outstanding members of English mixed teams. for example, were an endocrinologist and an X-ray crystallographer. Under the pressure of war, these mixed teams pooled their resources and focused all their different insights on the common problems. It was found, in spite of the modern tendencies toward intense scientific specialization, that members of such diverse groups could work together and could form a unit which was much greater than the mere sum of its parts. It was shown that these groups could tackle certain problems of organized complexity, and get useful answers.

It is tempting to forecast that the great advances that science can and must achieve in the next fifty years will be largely contributed to by voluntary mixed teams, somewhat similar to the operations analysis groups of war days, their activities made effective by the use of large, flexible, and highspeed computing machines. However, it cannot be assumed that this will be the exclusive pattern for future scientific work, for the atmosphere of complete intellectual freedom is essential to science. There will always, and properly, remain those scientists for whom intellectual freedom is necessarily a private affair. Such men must, and should, work alone. Certain deep and imaginative achievements are probably won only in such a way. Variety is, moreover, a proud characteristic of the American way of doing things. Competition between all sorts of methods is good. So there is no intention here to picture a future in which all scientists are organized into set patterns of activity. Not at all. It is merely suggested that some scientists will seek and develop for themselves new kinds of collaborative arrangements; that these groups will have members drawn from essentially all fields of science; and that these new ways of working, effectively instrumented by huge computers, will contribute greatly to the advance which the next half century will surely achieve in handling the complex, but essentially organic, problems of the biological and social sciences.

The Boundaries of Science
Let us return now to our original questions. What is science? What is not science? What may be expected from science?

Science clearly is a way of solving problems-not all problems, but a large class of important and practical ones. The problems with which science can deal are those in which the predominant factors are subject to the basic laws of logic, and are for the most part measurable. Science is a way of organizing reproducible knowledge about such problems; of focusing and disciplining imagination; of weighing evidence; of deciding what is relevant and what is not; of impartially testing hypotheses; of ruthlessly discarding data that prove to be inaccurate or inadequate; of finding, interpreting, and facing facts, and of making the facts of nature the servants of man.

The essence of science is not to be found in its outward appearance, in its physical manifestations; it is to be found in its inner spirit. That austere but exciting technique of inquiry known as the scientific method is what is important about science. This scientific method requires of its practitioners high standards of personal honesty, open-mindedness, focused vision, and love of the truth. These are solid virtues, but science has no exclusive lien on them. The poet has these virtues also, and often turns them to higher uses.

Science has made notable progress in its great task of solving logical and quantitative problems. Indeed, the successes have been so numerous and striking, and the failures have been so seldom publicized, that the average man has inevitably come to believe that science is just about the most spectacularly successful enterprise man ever launched. The fact is, of course, that this conclusion is largely justified.

Impressive as the progress has been, science has by no means worked itself out of a job. It is soberly true that science has, to date, succeeded in solving a bewildering number of relatively easy problems, whereas the hard problems, and the ones which perhaps promise most for man's future, lie ahead.

We must, therefore, stop thinking of science in terms of its spectacular successes in solving problems of simplicity. This means, among other things, that we must stop thinking of science in terms of gadgetry. Above all, science must not be thought of as a modern improved black magic capable of accomplishing anything and everything.

Every informed scientist, I think, is confident that science is capable of tremendous further contributions to human welfare. It can continue to go forward in its triumphant march against physical nature, learning new laws, acquiring new power of forecast and control, making new material things for man to use and enjoy. Science can also make further brilliant contributions to our understanding of animate nature, giving men new health and vigor, longer and more effective lives, and a wiser understanding of human behavior. Indeed, I think most informed scientists go even further and expect that the precise, objective, and analytical techniques of science will find useful application in limited areas of the social and political disciplines.

There are even broader claims which can be made for science and the scientific method. As an essential part of his characteristic procedure, the scientist insists on precise definition of terms and clear characterization of his problem. It is easier, of course, to define terms accurately in scientific fields than in many other areas. It remains true, however, that science is an almost overwhelming illustration of the effectiveness of a well-defined and accepted language, a common set of ideas, a common tradition. The way in which this universality has succeeded in cutting across barriers of time and space, across political and cultural boundaries, is highly significant. Perhaps better than in any other intellectual enterprise of man, science has solved the problem of communicating ideas, and has demonstrated the world-wide cooperation and community of interest which then inevitably results.

Yes, science is a powerful tool, and it has an impressive record. But the humble and wise scientist does not expect or hope that science can do everything. He remembers that science teaches respect for special competence, and he does not believe that every social, economic, or political emergency would be automatically dissolved if "the scientists" were only put into control. He does not-with a few aberrant exceptions~expect science to furnish a code of morals, or a basis for esthetics. He does not expect science to furnish the yardstick for measuring, nor the motor for controlling, man's love of beauty and truth, his sense of value, or his convictions of faith. There are rich and essential parts of human life which are alogical, which are immaterial and non-quantitative in character, and which cannot be seen under the microscope, weighed with the balance, nor caught by the most sensitive microphone.

If science deals with quantitative problems of a purely logical character, if science has no recognition of or concern for value or purpose, how can modern scientific man achieve a balanced good life, in which logic is the companion of beauty, and efficiency is the partner of virtue:

In one sense the answer is very simple: our morals must catch up with our machinery. To state the necessity, however, is not to achieve it. The great gap, which lies so forebodingly between our power and our capacity to use power wisely, can only be bridged by a vast combination of efforts. Knowledge of individual and group behavior must be improved. Communication must be improved between peoples of different languages and cultures, as well as between all the varied interests which use the same language, but often with such dangerously differing connotations. A revolutionary advance must be made in our understanding of economic and political factors. Willingness to sacrifice selfish short-term interests, either personal or national, in order to bring about long-term improvement for all must be developed.

None of these advances can be won unless men understand what science really is; all progress must be accomplished in a world in which modern science is an inescapable, ever-expanding influence.

Innovation Profiles: Survey Report

Innovation is the means by which enterprises create wealth. Enterprises that learn how to integrate innovation into strategy, and strategy into the process of innovation, will gain a competitive advantage and optimize the enterprise's creation of wealth.

Integration of innovation into strategy requires two tools -- the Innovation Profile and the Innovation Road Map. The Innovation Profile provides a way to analyze the innovation opportunities and threats of the market, strategy of competitors, capability of the enterprise, and desires of the stakeholders.

The Innovation Profile is a matrix of nine different types of innovation. The Innovation Road Map includes customers, competition, technology, stakeholders, enterprise capability and the enterprise's capacity for change. This Road Map enables the creation of multiple scenarios based on different innovation strategies that are necessary for strategic wealth creation decisions.

Copy of Report

Monday, April 27, 2009

Applications of the Innovation Grid

The InnoVantage Grid
The InnoVantage Grid is a tool useful to characterize innovation. It provides a powerful language for innovation that transcends application, industry and function. It is unique, comprehensive and inclusive.

There are two different categories of innovation -- nature and class. The nature of innovation is its focus -- product, process or procedure. In general, product innovations relate to things interacting with things. Process innovations relate to people interacting with things. And, procedure innovations relate to people interacting with people.

The second category of innovation is its class -- incremental, distinctive or breakthrough. Breakthrough innovation is the first of its kind. Distinctive innovations are others like the breakthrough but are distinctively different. Incremental innovations are small changes on distinctive innovations. By combining these two categories together a matrix of nine different types of innovation is created. We call this matrix the InnoVantage Grid.

Strategic Competitive Analysis -- Industry Level
The InnoVantage Grid is an excellent tool for mapping "the long-term sword fight" between companies within an industry. Richard Foster describes in his book Innovation: The Attacker's Advantage, various thrusts and counter thrusts that companies in pitch battle with each other make. The InnoVantage Grid not only displays in graphic terms what happens, but it also points to the weakness of each thrust. This grid helps an innovation strategist to understand at the "gut" level that every innovative strategy implemented necessarily leaves the door open for a counter thrust. If you are the attacker you will immediately understand the weakness of the opponent. And if you are the innovator on top, with this grid you can see what your next series of potential options are, and which of these are the most beneficial.

For example, consider some history of the Personal Computer Industry:

1. The PC industry effectively began with product introductions from companies like Commodore and Apple. From customer's perspective these were breakthrough product innovations.
2. IBM's contribution to this fledgling industry was the open systems architecture. This allowed the product to be developed differently and allowed the market to be expanded dramatically. For the PC industry this was a breakthrough process innovation. IBM's product and procedures were similar to their competitors, but distinctively different.
3. The open architecture allowed all of the so-called clones to enter the market. They largely focused on an incremental innovation strategy aimed at reducing costs.
4. One of the clones differentiated itself by focusing on a breakthrough innovation procedure. Dell institutionalized the mail order and delivery to the customer of their PC purchases. From the customer's view point, the idea of placing an order for an entire system via telephone and credit card, then having the system delivered promptly to their door by UPS or Federal Express was a breakthrough in customer service.
5. The next major innovation strategy was the development of the laptop computer, a distinctive product innovation.
6. Microsoft's introduction of Windows '95, a distinctive product innovation, took away all the market advantage that Apple based computers previously had.

Market Strategy Development
The 3M Company - Traffic Control Materials (TCM) Division found itself sitting in an incremental product, process & procedure innovation pattern with all of its chemical based technologies. A strategic market analysis showed that they needed to move toward electronic and software systems based products. This move required an innovation profile that is substantively different. The overall driving force for change for TCM was the development of Intelligent Traffic Systems, which is substituting for the traditional pavement markings, signage and vehicle identification. The new required pattern of innovation requires a heavy component of distinctive and breakthrough product, distinctive process, and distinctive and breakthrough procedures. The InnoVantage Grid, together with the other methodologies described in Innovate! were used to help 3M - TCM develop strategies and plans for its entry into the new marketplace.

Internal Venturing
IBM's first attempt to create an Independent Business Unit (IBU) based on the concept of intrapreneurship was "a learning experience" that created a great deal of stress for the people living the experience. And, it created a number of learnings, practices and procedures that were later applied to other very successful IBM internal ventures. The IBM Instrument Systems began its 17 year odyssey first as a "skunk works" operation sponsored by a second line IBM manager that grew to a wholly owned subsidiary in just ten years, to being sold off in 1987. The InnoVantage Grid associated with this example shows the very first product offerings coming out of the nascent IBU.

One of the purposes of IBU's in general is to change the way that "things are done around here." It has as much to do with culture development as with product development. The culture of the IBU was schizophrenic, causing considerable stress. The IBU was embedded in a culture that was focused on incremental product and procedure. The technologists from the "skunkworks," developed a culture strong in breakthrough product and procedure. The technologists prevailed, and the first products that came out of Instrument Systems were breakthrough products with breakthrough procedures. However, the market was more interested in incremental product innovations, breakthrough processes and distinctive procedures. What the customers were looking for was a product a little better than what they already had, but at a significantly reduced cost, and with terms and conditions that were more customer friendly. As a result, the initial product offerings failed, thus putting the IBU in a disadvantageous position for its continued success.

External Venturing
One of Inc.'s 100 Fastest Growing companies wanted to sustain its growth. A company in the telecommunications field, it had a reputation for quality products and services. Workmanship and professionalism were the prime focus for their activities in a segment of the market not known for either. Dozens of letters from happy clients greeted each visitor and employee as they went in the front door of the business. Quality charts decorated all the walls on hundreds of parameters that they tracked weekly. They had reached a growth rate of 40 to 50% per year in revenue and the owners of the company, the principle stakeholders, and the stockholders, wanted to continue this record. This growth and quality achievement had been driven by an incremental product, process, and procedure strategy that had been very successful.

The owners of the company wanted to leave the day to day operations and hired an executive team. The executive team were not, in general, stockholders. A few had bought some shares of stock upon being hired. As they began to take control of the company, problems began to arise between them and the owners. The executive team correctly realized that in order to continue the growth, a distinctive innovation strategy must be followed. Distinctive innovations expand market share and create new markets. Also, and this was the real problem, a distinctive innovation strategy requires more money. The owners were not willing to put any more money into the company, and they were not willing to give up financial or managerial control that would result from the acquisition of funding from venture capitalists or a public offering.

The result was a series of confrontations as the continued growth began to use up the available capital. This resulted in the firing of many of the executives and the return of some of the owners to day to day operational management. The remaining executives hung on until they could find other jobs. When they found jobs, they left. The company is restructured itself around new goals and management, and is no longer growing as fast as it was.

Strategic R&D Direction Assessment
Five years after the breakup of AT&T, the so-called baby bells were well on their way to making their own strategic R&D decisions. Several of them have established internal capabilities. One of these companies had gone to great efforts to create and staff a world-class R&D facility. However, executive and corporate management had started to grow impatient because no miracles had been forthcoming. Upon looking at the stated strategic vision for the R&D organization and comparing it to the actual on-going projects and resource allocation, including the recognition and reward policies, it became very evident that the organization had a problem.

The stated R&D vision was to develop breakthrough product innovations. Every project, all personnel policies, including the recognition and reward systems clearly pointed the R&D personnel to focus only on incremental product innovations. Not surprisingly, this came as a shock to the management.

There are two issues related to this innovation profile. First, it obviously did not agree with the stated intent of the R&D function. Second, the innovation profile was focused on product innovations only. In today's environment especially, this is a narrow view of innovation. Quite often competitive differentiation is made through process and procedure innovations. As a result, the R&D function was never able to recover as they were unable to deliver the products and services that, in the minds of the corporate executives, justified their expense. The corporation is now heavily invested in a strategy of acquisitions and the R&D function has become one primarily of contract development and management.

New Strategic Directions vs. Culture
The National Laboratories since their inception have been largely focused on creating breakthrough product innovations. In the current environment they, as have many other organizations, have been forced to reexamine their missions. The new focus for these laboratories has been created largely by politicians and national ideals that want all of the good work that has been done in these institutions to be shared with U.S. industry. Thus, the laboratories are more and more being asked to transfer their technology by collaboration and joint work with industry. This type of activity requires more breakthrough procedure and process innovation. The culture of the laboratories, as well as that of the Department's staff in Washington, is still steeped in the command and control mind set. They are comfortable only with traditional incremental innovations in the procedures and process areas.

The requirement for the DOE to "flip flop" its innovation strategy is unprecedented in government.

Analyzing and Developing an Ad Campaign
Advertising and public relations campaigns are important to organizations. They must reflect back to the customers what they want to hear about the products and services of the organization. The process of developing an ad or PR campaign is not a science but an art. A good campaign captures the essence of the organization and projects that into the market. The InnoVantage Grid can be used to assist in this process. Once the innovation profile has been established for the organization that will meet or anticipate customer needs, take full advantage of the capability of technology, and differentiate it from its competitors, that same innovation profile can be used to guide the development of all marketing and sales literature.

Pharmaco LSR is a fast growing company that handles the field tests on humans of pharmaceuticals. It had worked with an ad agency using conventional techniques to develop a series of six print media ads. The ad agency provided us with their designs and copy before releasing it to the market. We analyzed the values and resulting innovation profile represented in the ads. From this we developed a description of Pharmaco with particular emphasis on its culture. Without knowledge of the company, we were told by the ad agency and later by Pharmaco, that we had accurately described the company, and the image that they wanted to project into the market. The ad agency had done a good job of capturing the essence of the company that they wished to display to potential customers.

Analyzing the Innovation Profile of Organizational or Personal Development Programs
Many times organizational or personal development programs sweep through organizations, almost like a fad. "It seems to work for one person or company so it should work for me" is the logic. These efforts meet with varying degrees of success. In spite of that, quite often their popularity continues.

One of the reasons why this type of program is not successful in all organizations is that the innovation profile that they foster is not what the market needs, or what is consistent with the organization's culture. For example, quality circles will promote incremental product, process and procedural innovations. If that is what the market needs, then the tool is useful. "Skunk works," or IBU (independent business units, are best used to promote distinctive product innovations, or to a lesser extent distinctive process innovations. Suggestion programs have a primary focus of incremental procedure innovations. The pattern of innovation resulting from the quality programs depends on the quality philosophy followed, but most of them end up promoting incremental innovations.

A very popular program for individuals and organizationswas Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. When we analyzed the innovation profile for the seven habits, we found an almost equal emphasis of all types of innovation. This means that if an organization, and all of the people in it, was to adopt and live the seven habits, there would be no focus of innovation in the organization. Depending on the organization and its culture, the adoption of the seven habits could raise or lower the overall amount of innovation in the organization. In either case, it would not, alone, allow the organization to improve its effectiveness and efficiency in anticipating and meeting customer needs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

David Pearce Snyder on Information, Creativity and the Future

David Pearce Snyder, Life-Styles Editor of The Futurist magazine, is a data-based forecaster whose thousands of seminars and workshops on strategic thinking have been attended by representatives from most of the Fortune 500 companies, and from local and federal government agencies, educational institutions and trade associations. Before entering private practice as a consulting futurist in 1981, Mr. Snyder was Chief of Information Systems, and later, Senior Planning Officer for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, where he designed and managed the Service's Strategic Planning System. He was also a consultant to the RAND Corporation, and served as an instructor for the Federal Executive Institute, and for Congressional and White House staff development programs. Mr. Snyder has published hundreds of studies, articles and reports on the specific future of a wide range of U.S. institutions, industries and professions, and on the socio-economic impacts of new technologies. He is the editor/co-author of five books, including Future Forces and a sequel, America in the 1990s, both published by the American Society of Association Executives. He has appeared on Nightline, the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC World Service.

The common assumption that the Information Revolution will create a new generation of high value/high pay rank-and-file jobs remains an article of faith that is not reflected in current hiring patterns or official long-range employment forecasts. To the contrary, routine workplace activities are increasingly being automated, infomated, and commoditized, reducing the need for skilled labor. Simultaneously, macroeconomists expect that international competition made possible by free trade and our new global infostructure – the Internet – will increasingly drive local labor markets worldwide to pay comparable wages for comparable work. But real revolutions arise from the “bottom up,” and a confluence of spontaneously adopted technical innovations and collegial workplace practices is currently foreshadowing a grassroots reinvention of work itself that can be expected to increase the value- added and the income earned by rank-and-file employees. What is emerging is an absolutely unexpected yet intuitively compelling social invention – “open collaboration” – uniquely capable of mobilizing the creative capacities of workers everywhere to exploit the productive potential of information technology, and to address the growing inventory of social, economic, environmental and bio-medical challenges confronting the future of human enterprise.

The next Web of open, linked data

Adam Blatner on Philosophy and Creativity

(1) Appreciate some philosophical ideas that offer an intellectual foundation for many more practical efforts; (2) Relate these, if one chooses--but it's not necessary--to a contemporary view of spirituality; (3) Relate these, also to the processes in one's own mind and personal evolution; (4) Apply the techniques of asides, multiple parts of self, and future projection to enhance effectiveness in communications; (5) Recognize the sources of creativity and cultivate receptivity to these "dramatic muses"; and (6) Appreciate the roots and interconnections of drama, creativity, and the psychologies of play and creativity.

Adam Blatner, M.D., T.E.P., is the only certified trainer of psychodrama in the United States who is also a psychiatrist, and, indeed, a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Doubly Board Certified in Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Dr. Blatner has retired from active clinical practice and instead devotes himself to writing and teaching about "Psychological Literacy," seeking to foster a higher level of social and emotional skills in the population as his contribution to mental hygiene. In the field of psychodrama, Dr. Blatner was the recipient of the field’s highest "J. L. Moreno Award" for lifetime service. He’s the author of three of the most widely used books on the subject, as well as numerous articles and chapters and books.

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi on Creativity and the Future of Work

How will the practice of creativity be a driving force in the future world of work? What role can we play to take advantage of the current uncertainty to leverage creative thinking? What are the links between strategic and creative thinking? How do you totally engage the brain in the creative process? Come and engage your brain in this thought provoking session that will stimulate your thinking!

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi is CEO of Herrmann International, publisher of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) which is based on extensive research on thinking and the brain. Multiple applications of whole brain technology include creativity, strategic thinking, problem solving, management and leadership, teaching and learning, self-understanding, communication and team/staff development. Ann seeks to apply the principles of whole brain technology to her varied responsibilities: from day-to-day operations, to sales, to workshop design and presentations. Having resided in Europe for 13 years, Ann brings a global perspective to the company. Since joining Herrmann International USA 19 years ago, Ann has expanded the network of international offices to 16, spanning Europe, the Pacific Rim and Latin America.

Her personal goal is to promote better understanding of how individuals and organizations think and become more effective, as well as enhance learning and communication technologies worldwide through the application and development of whole brain concept. Ann is an advisor to the American Creativity Association, and has served such clients as Bank Of America, Coca Cola, General Electric, BMW, Target, Cintas, Cisco Systems, Hallmark, IBM, Milliken, Novartis, the US Forest Service and The Wharton School, Vanderbilt, as well as many educational groups. A powerful and highly energetic speaker, Ann has delivered keynotes and large group presentations around the world including events for ACA, CPSI, ASTD, ISA, American Planning Association, Training, the International Alliance for Learning and Innovative Network.

Herrmann International, celebrating its 25th year in 2006, was founded by Ned Herrmann, a Past President and founding member of the ACA and major contributor to the association for many years before he passed away in 1999. Ned, a physicist by education, was Manager of Management Education for General Electric where he began his groundbreaking study of the brain, creative human development and learning which resulted in the formation of the HBDI. The HBDI has been used worldwide to profile individuals’ learning and thinking styles and preference in accordance with brain theory. Herrmann developed and validated the HBDI and the Whole Brain Model while at GE, and designed several workshops that are internationally recognized for their use of cutting-edge creativity-learning models. Herrmann authored several books outlining his findings, including The Creative Brain published in 1996; The Whole Brain Business Book, published in 1998.The work of the North Carolina company has been featured in O Magazine, Business Week, USA Today, Discover, Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review. Herrmann International, with affiliates world-wide, continues to research and develop products and applications in the fields of thinking, creativity, leadership and learning

Kirpal Singh on Creativity in Singapore

Kirpal Singh is an internationally recognized writer, the author of 15 books, and a Singaporean icon. Among other things, he teaches courses on and directs a program on creativity at the very innovative Singapore Management University.

Alex Pattakos on Prisoners of Our Thoughts

Drawing on his book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles at Work, Dr. Alex Pattakos underscores the close relationship between creativity and the human quest for authentic meaning in life. Indeed, the intrinsic motivation to "actualize creative values" is one of the primary sources of meaning that defines our human-ness. Moreover, the will to meaning is based upon our individual and collective willingness to be held responsible--for our attitudes, our beliefs, and our behaviors. In this regard, Dr. Pattakos calls for a new paradigm that connects creativity with responsibility. In other words, we not only have a responsibility to be creative and to inspire creativity in others, but also to ensure that our personal and collective creative outputs are "responsible" and seek to make a positive difference in the world.

Dr. Alex Pattakos, affectionately nicknamed "Dr. Meaning," is the founder of the Center for Meaning and a principal of The Innovation Group, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. He has had a long-standing passion for creativity as an academic (he began teaching creativity courses at the University level in the early 1980s), as an author (he's published extensively on the relationship between creativity and learning within complex organizations), and as a practitioner (he's worked in/with the government, corporate, and nonprofit sectors). In 1986, he received the "Creativity Award" from the University of Maine for his pioneering work in distance learning. The World Future Society credited him with inventing the concept of the "Electronic Visiting Professor" and IBM showcased his work as an innovation in academic computing.

More recently, Dr. Pattakos has integrated his passion for creativity with the emerging discipline of Innovation Management (see: www.seedsofinnovation.com ). Among his recent publications is the book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, already translated into eight foreign languages, which applies the wisdom of his mentor, Dr. Viktor Frankl, to contemporary work and personal situations and provides a meaning-centered platform for innovative action. In addition, he is a member of the Honorary Advisory Council for the Statue of Responsibility Foundation (www.SORfoundation.org ), which seeks to erect a Statue of Responsibility monument, an idea that originated with Dr. Frankl, on the West Coast of the USA (as a "book-end" to the Statue of Liberty) by the end of this decade.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mapping a City's Rhythm

Kate Greene, Technology Review

The New York startup, Sense Networks, has developed algorithms that can identify distinct types of behaviors of people in a city, and group them into so-called tribes. The first animation shows the changing whereabouts of these tribes over the course of an evening in San Francisco and the second animation depicts the process of identifying the primary tribes visiting the top 200 nightlife destinations during a certain period of the night.


Viva la Vida

Viva la vida!
(Long live life!)
Frida Kahlo


This presentation covers the concept of innovation, types of innovation, observations on the pattern of innovation, and innovation development.

Can technology save the economy?

David Rotman, Technology Review

The U.S. stimulus bill includes tens of billions to support energy and information technologies. It is intended both to create jobs immediately and to set the stage for long-term economic growth. So why are economists and innovation experts so skeptical?

By any measure, $100 billion is a staggering amount of money. That's how much the federal stimulus bill devotes to the discovery, development, and implementation of various technologies. Some $20 billion will fund the increased use of electronic medical records; another $7.2 billion will support the extension of broadband Internet access to areas currently without such services. Most impressive, roughly $60 billion will be spent on energy, funding everything from energy-efficiency programs to loan guarantees for the construction of large facilities that use new biofuel and solar technologies.

The spending is unprecedented, not only in scale, but also in the breadth of technologies it covers. For initiatives such as broadband deployment and incentives to adopt electronic medical records, the billions of dollars represent entirely new investments. And for energy technologies, the spending levels dwarf existing public and private investments. One big winner: the U.S. Department of Energy, which received $39 billion (in addition to its $25 billion annual budget). The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, whose budget in 2008 was $1.7 billion, alone was given $16.8 billion. By comparison, venture capitalists, who often claim clean tech as their favorite growth area, invested just $4.1 billion in that sector in 2008.


Human Brain on the Edge of Chaos

PhysOrg.com Mar. 20, 2009

Human brain dynamics exist at a critical point on the edge of chaos or self-organized criticality, allowing us to switch quickly between mental states to respond to changing environmental conditions, Cambridge researchers have found. The researchers used state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to measure dynamic changes in the synchronization...


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Social Technographics Of Business Buyers

How Technology Buyers Engage With Social Media
This is the first document in the “B2B Social Media Strategy” series.
by Laura Ramos and G. Oliver Young
with Peter Burris, Josh Bernoff, Bradford J. Holmes, and Zachary Reiss-Davis

Social media give a voice to buyers who can now describe their experience and disappointment to a global audience. And, wow, are they saying a lot. Forrester surveyed more than 1,200 business technology buyers and found that they exceed all previous benchmarks for social participation. B2B marketers, eager to know how social media fits into the marketing mix, can use the Social Technographics® Profiles of business decision-makers to design marketing programs that not only capitalize on emerging social behaviors but also fundamentally change the nature of the marketing relationship between B2B buyers and sellers.

According to Forrester's research initial B2B social marketing efforts have failed to attract buyers because:

  • Marketers don't know how business buyers use social technologies
  • Successful track records are rare and copying others doesn't work
  • Rapid technological changes leave no time to master current approaches
  • Executive and legal departments see social activity as a risk to business brands

They also found:
  • .Business buyers participate socially more than adult US consumers
  • Social activity carries over into the workplace
  • Subtle differences separate technology category buyers

Creating a social technology marketing strategy is difficult because:
  • Social participation does not yet translate into purchase influence today
  • But social media importance will increase during the next 12 months

I have one criticism of their research. In asking the question, "Which of the following sources of information impact your decision making process?". 84% of the buyers responded "Peers and colleagues (word of mouth". Yet, for example "Forums, online communities, social networks" which are word of mouth only garnered 45%. Arn't all of the social media word of mouth. That's what makes it so powerful. I think it would be better if they gathered the data in a matrix with media on one axis and ,method along the other axis. I did this on market research technologies in order to more clearly see the substitutions that are are ongoing. A substitution analysis would also help.

I think it's understandable that B2B is lagging consumer adoption of social technology for marketing. The key obstacles to overcome in B2B social media marketing are competitive advantage, intellectual property and control.

The customers in a B2B market are all competitors. As a result they are still reluctant to collaborate with each other and sometimes even the supplier. They fear that in collaborating with their competitors that someone else will gain the competitive advantage they hold. They are even sometimes reluctant to collaborate with the supplier because of fear that what they teach the supplier will be passed on to their competitors. I used the word "still" because this situation exists in most B2B markets in spite of the success of many open source types of collaborations and consortia.

Suppliers have a similar fear that what is learned in the collaboration could be passed on by the buyers to other suppliers, or even that the buyers will start to make the product themselves.

Suppliers have a fear of loss of control of intellectual property and the brand message.

Until these concerns are alleviated, outgrown or boxed in legal agreements, adoption social media marketing in B2B will be slow.

I, like the authors, believe that this is tide will not be overcome in consumers, and that I think will eventually sweep through B2B. However, I wish the authors would treat these adoption issues more thoroughly. Furthermore, I would feel more comfortable with a rigorous substitution analysis.

See Groundswell for more information on Forresters approach.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Interview with Andrew Ouderkirk

Dr. Andrew J. Ouderkirk received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Northern Illinois University in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Northwestern University in 1983. After working two years at DuPont, he joined 3M in 1985.

Andy formed and led the team developing 3M’s Multilayer Optical Film (MOF) technology platform and developed the program’s intellectual property strategy. MOF products have wide-ranging, innovative applications, such as light-polarizing products, ultra high efficiency light reflectors and wavelength-selective products. The initial MOF product, Dual Brightness Enhancement Film, was the world’s first, commercially successful reflective film polarizer, which is now commonly used in LCDs for handheld, monitor, and TV applications. Andy is one of the lead developers of the new business Platform Architecture series being taught to 3M technical employees.

Andy has over 95 issued US patents and made more than 35 publications and invited presentations. Recognition includes the 2000 Fast Company Fast 50 award, the 2003 Finance and Commerce Innovator of the year, and the 2004 ACS Award for Creative Invention. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 2005. Andy is a 3M Carlton member, and is a Corporate Scientist in 3M’s Optical Systems Division.

Change and the Future

If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.

Every act of discovery advances the art of discovery.
Francis Bacon

The future influences the present just as much as the past.
Friedrich Nietzsche

If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.
Baruch Spinoza

If we do not learn from history, we shall be compelled to relive it. True, but if we do not change the future, we shall be compelled to endure it, and that could be worse.
Alvin Toffler

This is the first age that's paid much attention to the future, which is a little ironic since we may not have one.
Arthur C. Clarke

Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.
Francis Bacon

Inventiveness, creativity, lies in the future, not in the past.
Loren Eiseley

The unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into himself, or call himself to account. Whereas with the learned man it fares otherwise, that he doth ever intermix the correction and amendment of his mind with the use and employment thereof.
Francis Bacon

The great synthesizer who alters the outlook of a generation, who suddenly produces a kaleidoscopic change in our vision of the world, is apt to be the most envied, feared, and hated man among his contemporaries. Almost by instinct they feel when the seed of a new order; they sense, even as they anathematize him, the passing away of the sane, substantial world they have long inhabited.
Such a man is a kind of lens or gathering point through which past thought gathers, is reorganized, and radiates outward again in new forms.
Loren Eiseley

Look. There is tomorrow. Take it with charity lest it destroy you.
Francis Bacon

The geographical novelties of the earth are now exhausted. Our voyages of discovery have become time voyages.
Wyndham Lewis

Life can only be understood backward but it must be lived forward.

But howsoever the works of wisdom are among human things the most excellent, yet they too have their periods and closes. For so it is that after kingdoms and commonwealths have flourished for a time, there arise perturbations and sedition and wars; amid the disturbances of which, first the laws are put to silence, and then men return to the depraved conditions of their nature, and desolation is seen in the fields and cities. And if such troubles last, it is not long before letters also and philosophy are so torn in pieces that no traces of them can be found but a few fragments, scattered here and there like planks from a shipwreck; and then a season of barbarism sets in, the waters of helicon being sunk under the ground, until, according to the appointed vicissitude of things, they break out and issue forth again, perhaps among other nations and not in the places where they were before.
Loren Eiseley

The analogy that relates the evolution of organisms to the evolution of scientific ideas can easily be pushed too far. But with respect to the issues of this closing section it is very nearly perfect. The process described in the earlier section, as the resolution of revolutions is the selection by conflict within the scientific community of the fittest way to practice future science.
The net result of a sequence of such revolutionary selections, separated by periods of normal research, is the wonderfully adapted set of instruments we call modern scientific knowledge. Successive stages in that developmental process are marked by an increase in articulation and specialization. And the entire process may have occurred, as we now suppose biological evolution did, without benefit of a set goal, a permanent fixed scientific truth, of which each stage in the development of scientific knowledge is a better exemplar.
Thomas Kuhn

My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.
Charles F. Kettering

Our prime task in the future, unlike that in the past, will not be to deal with similar - or even increases in the similar - but to adjust to a world where conditions are more different than similar.
William A. Conboy

Without communication, the past would be unknowable, the present unintelligible, the future unimaginable.
Frank Snowden Hopkins

Long range planning does not deal with future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.
Peter Drucker

Time is three fold present: the present as we experience it, the past as a present memory, and the future as a present expectation.
St. Augustine

To arrive at the simplest truth, as Newton knew and practiced, requires years of contemplation. Not activity. Not reasoning. Not calculating, not busy behavior of any kind. Not reading. Not talking. Simply bearing in mind what it is one needs to know.
Spencer and Brown

No one can take from us the joy of the first becoming aware of something, the so-called discovery. But if we also demand the honor, it can be utterly spoiled for us, for we are usually not the first. What does discovery mean, and who can say that he has discovered this or that? After all it's pure idiocy to brag about priority, for it's simply unconscious conceit, not to admit frankly that one is a plagiarist.

For many men the abolition of that teleological kind of evolution was the most significant and least palatable of Darwin's suggestions. The origin of species recognized no goal set either by god or nature. Instead, natural selection, operating in the given environment and with the actual organisms presently at hand, was responsible for the gradual but steady emergence of more elaborate, further articulated, and vastly more specialized organisms. Even such marvelously adapted organs as the eye and hand of man-organs whose design had previously provided powerful arguments for the existence of a supreme artificer and an advance plan-were products of a process that moved steadily from primitive beginnings but toward no goal. The belief that natural selection, resulting from mere competition between organisms for survival, could have produced man together with the higher animals and plants was the most difficult and disturbing aspect of Darwin's theory. What could evolution, development, and progress mean in the absence of a specified goal? To many people, such terms suddenly seemed self-contradictory.
Loren Eisely

Creativity Is...

Creativity and Aging

Invention is the talent of youth, as judgment is of age.
Jonathan Swift

To live means to create.
Milton Steinberg

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas

Creative intelligence in its various forms and activities is what makes man.
James Harvey Robinson

One must not lose desires. They are mighty stimulants to creativeness to love, and to long life.
Alexander A. Bogomoletz

No matter how old you get, if you can keep the desire to be creative, you're keeping the man child alive.
John Cassavetes

The past is but the beginning of a beginning.
H. G. Wells

Every beginning is a consequence every beginning ends some thing.
Paul Valery

Attributes of a Creative Person

Arrival at the age of 16 is usually all that is required for achieving half of this important attribute of creativity. It is unusual to find a "contented" young person; discontent goes with that time of life. To the young, everything needs improvement ... As we age, our discontent wanes; we learn from our society that "fault finders" disturb the status quo of the normal, average "others." Squelch tactics are introduced. It becomes "good" not to "make waves" or "rock the boat" and to "let sleeping dogs lie" and "be seen but not heard." It is "good" to be invisible and enjoy your "autonomy." It is "bad" to be a problem maker. And so everything is upside down for creativity and its development. Thus, constructive attitudes are necessary for a dynamic condition; discontent is prerequisite to problem solving. Combined, they define a primary quality of the creative problem solver: a constantly developing Constructive Discontent.
Don Koberg and Jim Bagnall
The Universal Traveler. A Soft Systems Guide to: Creativity, Problem Solving, and the Process of Design

I would propose the following statements as descriptive of creative artists, and perhaps also of creative scientists:

Creative people are especially observant, and they value accurate observation (telling themselves the truth) more than other people do.

They often express part truths, but this they do vividly; the part they express is the generally unrecognized; by displacement of accent and apparent disproportion in statement they seek to point to the unusually unobserved.

They see things as others do, but also as others do not.

They are thus independent in their cognition, and they also value clearer cognition. They will suffer great personal pain to testify correctly.

They are motivated to this value and to the exercise of this talent (independent, sharp observation) both for reasons of self preservation and in the interest of human culture and its future.

They are born with greater brain capacity; they have more ability to hold many ideas at once, and to compare more ideas with one another hence to make a richer synthesis.

In addition to unusual endowment in terms of cognitive ability, they are by constitution more vigorous and have available to them an exceptional fund of psychic and physical energy.

Their universe is thus more complex, and in addition, they usually lead more complex lives, seeking tension in the interest of the pleasure they obtain upon its discharge.

They have more contact than most people do with the life of the unconscious, with fantasy, reverie, the world of imagination.

They have exceptionally broad and flexible awareness of themselves. The self is strongest when it can regress (admits primitive fantasies, naive ideas, tabooed impulses into consciousness and behavior), and yet return to a high degree of rationality and self criticism. The creative person is both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, crazier and saner, than the average person.
Frank Barron
Scientific American

Creative people are especially observant, and they value accurate observation (telling themselves the truth) more than other people do. They are by constitution more vigorous, and have available to them an exceptional fund of psychic and physical energy.
Frank X. Barren

Few of the great creators have bland personalities. They are cantankerous egotists, the kind of men who are unwelcome in the modern corporation.
David Mackenzie Ogilvy

At 17, in 1581, he matriculated as a student in medicine at the University of Pisa. There his constant questioning of the text and lectures held before him made him stand out as an unusual individualist. It also made him unpopular with the more creative teachers and fellow students.*

Galileo, thus squelched by teachers and fellow students, may give us the first recorded instance of a creative youngster in school being met with impatience.

*Quoted from Berm Dibner and Stillman Drake, A Letter from Galileo Galilei (Norwalk, Conn.: Burndy Library, 1967), p. 56.

A. D. Moore
Invention, Discovery and Creativity

A bit of our folklore has it that inventors are often slightly off the beam; or, shall we say, a bit wacky. One of our sayings is, "You don't have to be crazy to be an inventor, but it helps."

A. D. Moore
Invention, Discovery and Creativity

In 1939 at a banquet in Ann Arbor, I had the good fortune to be seated next to a very personable young chap of twenty nine who was already on his way to fame and fortune. I had a good long talk with this college dropout. After a freshman year at Harvard, he quit, to perfect his first invention; and he never finished college. He now holds over two hundred patents. Discoveries, he says, are made "by some individual who has freed himself from a way of thinking that is held by friends and associates who may be more intelligent, better educated, better disciplined, but who have not mastered the art of the fresh ' clean look at the old, old knowledge." He himself often spends prolonged periods working on projects in his plant's laboratory. Fortune magazine says that he and his wife are worth over half a million dollars. This is Edwin H. Land, inventor of Polaroid and maker of Polaroid cameras.

A. D. Moore
Invention, Discovery and Creativity

Discipline and focused awareness contribute to the act of creation.
John Poppy

There is a correlation between the creative and the screwball. So we must suffer the screwball gladly.
Kingman Brewster

The difference between a top flight creative man and the hack is his ability to express powerful meanings indirectly.
Vance Packard

It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different, and to be able to combine them into some new forms the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.
William Plomer

Blocks to Creativity

The specialized semantics of established knowledge constitutes conventions, which make reality abstract and secondhand. Learned conventions can be windowless fortresses, which exclude viewing the world in new ways.
William J. J. Gordon

The reason for your complaint (about not being creative) lies, it seems to me, in the constraint which your intellect imposes upon your imagination. Here I will make an observation, and illustrate it by an allegory. Apparently, it is not good and indeed it hinders the creative work of the mind if the intellect examines too closely the ideas already pouring in, as it were, at the gates. Regarded in isolation, an idea may be quite insignificant, and venturesome in the extreme, but it may acquire importance from an idea, which follows it; perhaps, in a certain collocation with other ideas, which may seem equally absurd, it may be capable of furnishing a very serviceable link. The intellect cannot judge all those ideas unless it can retain them until it has considered them in connection with these other ideas. In the case of a creative mind, it seems to me, the intellect has withdrawn its watchers from the gates, and the ideas rush in pell mell, and only then does it review and inspect the multitude. You worthy critics, or whatever you may call yourselves, are ashamed or afraid of the momentary and passing madness which is found in all real creators, the longer or shorter duration of which distinguishes the thinking artist from the dreamer. Hence your complaints of unfruitfulness, for you reject too soon and discriminate too severely.
The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud
A. A. Bell

The creative process requests more than reason. Most original thinking isn't even verbal. It requires a groping experimentation with ideas -- governed by intuitive hunches, and inspired by the unconscious. The majority of businessmen are incapable of original thinking, because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason. Then imaginations are blocked.
David Mackenzie Ogilvy

In our day of dedication to facts and hardheaded objectivity, we have disparaged imagination: it gets us away from "reality"; it taints our work with "subjectivity"; and, worst of all, it is said to be unscientific.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it.
S. I. Hayakawa.

Brain Function and Creativity

Thomas Gladwin, an anthropologist, contrasted the ways that a European and a native Trukese sailor navigated small boats between tiny islands in the vast Pacific Ocean.

"Before setting sail, the European begins with a plan that can be written in terms of directions, degrees of longitude and latitude, estimated time of arrival at separate points on the journey. Once the plan is conceived and completed, the sailor has only to carry out each step consecutively, one after another, to be assured of arriving on time at the planned destination. The sailor uses all available tools, such as a compass, a sextant, a map, etc., and if asked, can describe exactly how he got where he was going."

The European navigator uses the left hemisphere mode.

"In contrast, the native Trukese sailor starts his voyage by imaging the position of his destination relative to the position of the islands. As he sails along, he constantly adjusts his direction according to his awareness of his position thus far. His decisions are improvised continually by checking relative positions of landmarks, sun, wind direction, etc. He navigates with reference to where he started, where he is going, and the space between his destination and the point where he is at the moment. If asked how he navigates so well without instruments or a written plan, he cannot possibly put it into words. This is not because the Trukese are unaccustomed to describing things in words, but rather because the process is too complex and fluid to be put into words."

The Trukese navigator uses the right hemisphere mode.
J. A. Paredes and M. J. Hepburn
The Split Brain and the Culture Cognition Paradox

The development of an Observer can allow a person considerable access to observing different identity states, and an outside observer may often clearly infer different identity states, but a person himself who has not developed the Observer function very well may never notice the many transitions from one identity state to another.
Charles T. Tart
Alternative States of Consciousness

Krishnamurti: "So where does silence begin? Does it begin when thought ends? Have you ever tried to end thought?"
Questioner: "How do you do it?"
Krishnamurti: "I don't know, but have you ever tried it? First of all, who is the entity who is trying to stop thought?"
Questioner: "The thinker."
Krishnamurti: "It's another thought, isn't it? Thought is trying to stop itself, so there is a battle between the thinker and the thought ...
Thought says, 'I must stop thinking because then I shall experience a marvelous state'...One thought is trying to suppress another thought, so there is conflict. When I see this as a fact, see it totally, understand it completely, have an insight into it ... then the mind is quiet. This comes about naturally and easily when the mind is quiet to watch, to look, to see."
J. Krishnamurti
You Are the World

Blind swimmer, I have made myself see. I have seen. And I was surprised and enamored of what I saw, wishing to identify myself with it...
Max Ernst

To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves ... This is our responsibility, yours and mine; because, however small may be the world we live in, if we can bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large.
J. Krishnamurti
Self Knowledge
The First and Last Freedom

A monk asked his teacher, 'What is my self?' The teacher answered, 'There is something deeply hidden within your self, and you must become acquainted with its hidden activity.' The monk then asked to be told what this hidden activity was. The teacher just opened and closed his eyes.
Frederick Franck
The Zen of Seeing

Tesla, an extremely productive technological innovator (fluorescent lights, the AC generator, and the "Tesla" coil) apparently had incredible visualization powers. Tesla "could project before his eyes a picture complete in every detail, of every part of the machine. These pictures were more vivid than any blueprint." Further, Tesla claimed to be able to test his devices mentally, by having them run for weeks after which time he would examine them thoroughly for signs of wear.
J. J. O'Neill
Prodigal Genius

A particularly important mode of thinking, which I have referred to several times before and which is presently receiving increased attention academically, is visual thinking. For an excellent treatment of this subject read Bob McKim's Experiences in Visual Thinking and Rudolf Arnheim's Visual Thinking. Visualization is an important thinking mode, which is especially useful in solving problems where shapes, forms, or patterns are concerned. Arnheim explains: "Visual thinking is constantly used by everybody. It directs figures on a chess board and designs global politics on the geographical map. Two dexterous moving men steering a piano along a winding staircase think visually in an intricate sequence of lifting, shifting, and turning..." All of us are used to using visual imagery in some situations. For instance, visual imagery is extremely common in dreams. It is also common if someone asks us a question about the appearance of a person or a place. But it is also used in conceptualization, at times when one would not obviously expect its use.
Conceptual Blockbusting

The important and profound aspect of the Dionysian principle is that of ecstasy. It was in connection with Dionysian revels that Greek drama was developed, a magnificent summit of creativity, which achieved a union of form and passion with order and vitality. Ecstasy is the technical term for the process in which this union occurs.

I use the word, of course, not in its popular and cheapened sense of "hysteria," but in its historical, etymological sense of "ex stasis" ¬that is, literally to "stand out from," to be freed from the usual split between subject and object which is a perpetual dichotomy in most human activity. Ecstasy is the accurate term for the intensity of consciousness that occurs in the creative act.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

Communicating Creative Ideas

In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is to surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing, you probably hunt about till you find the exact words that seem to fit. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning clear as one can through pictures or sensations.
George Orwell
Politics and the English Language

Heraclitus said, "Conflict is both king of all and father of all." He was referring to the theme I am here stating: conflict presupposes limits, and the struggle with limits is actually the source of creative productions. The limits are as necessary as those provided by the banks of a river, without which the water would be dispersed on the earth and there would be no river that is, the river is constituted by the tension between the flowing water and the banks. Art in the same way requires limits as a necessary factor in its birth.

Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create


Every creative act involves a new innocence of perception, liberated from the cataract of accepted belief.
Arthur Koestler

I am used now to thinking of two kinds of science, and two kinds of technology. Science can be defined, if you want to, as a technique whereby uncreative people can create and discover, by working along with a lot of other people, by standing upon the shoulders of people who have come before them, by being cautious and careful, and so on. That I'll call secondary creativeness and secondary science.
A. Maslow
Emotional Blocks to Creativity

A creative act is "the combination of previously unrelated structures in such a way that you get more out of the emergent whole than you have put in. it.
Arthur Koestler

What is now proved was once only imagined.
Proverbs of Hell

Whatever now is established, once was innovation.
Jeremy Benthau,
A Fragment of Government

Invention is the bringing out the secrets of nature and applying them for the happiness of man.
Thomas Alva Edison

Creativeness, to venture a crude definition, is the production and disclosure of a new fact, law, relationship, device or product, process or system based generally on available knowledge but not following directly, easily, simply, or even by usual logical processes from the guiding information at hand. A possible explanation of creativeness is that it is based on intuitive processes.

A. N. Goldsmith
Creativity: A Symposium
IRE Student Quarterly (9/57)

When we define creativity, we must make the distinction between its pseudo forms, on the one hand that is, creativity as a superficial aestheticism. And, on the other, its authentic form that is, the process of bringing something new into being. The crucial distinction is between art as artificiality (as in "artifice" or "artful") and genuine art.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

In this sense genuine artists are so bound up with their age that they cannot communicate separated from it. In this sense, too, the historical situation conditions the creativity. For the consciousness which obtains in creativity is not the superficial level of objectified intellectualization, but is an encounter with the world on a level that undercuts the subject object split. "Creativity," to rephrase our definition, "is the encounter of the intensively conscious human being with his or her world.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

As Picasso remarked, "Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction."

The breakthrough carries with it also an element of anxiety. For it not only broke down my previous hypothesis, it shook my self world relationship. At such a time I find myself having to seek a new foundation, the existence of which I as yet don't know. This is the source of the anxious feeling that comes at the moment of the breakthrough; it is not possible that there be a genuinely new idea without this shake up occurring to some degree.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

The useful combinations that come through from the unconscious are precisely the most beautiful, I mean those best able to charm this special sensibility that all mathematicians know, but of which the profane are so ignorant as often to be tempted to smile at it.

... Among the great numbers of combinations blindly formed by the subliminal self, almost all are without interest and without utility; but just for that reason they are also without effect upon the esthetic sensibility. Consciousness will never know them; only certain ones are harmonious, and, consequently, at once useful and beautiful. They will be capable of touching this special sensibility of the geometer of which I have just spoken, and which, once aroused, will call our attention to them, and thus give them occasion to become conscious.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

Creativity occurs in an act of encounter and is to be understood with this encounter as its center.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create
The creative process is the expression of this passion for form. It is the struggle against disintegration, the struggle to bring into existence new kinds of being that give harmony and integration.

Plato has for our summation some charming advice:

"For he who would proceed aright in this manner should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms; and first, if he be guided by his instructor aright, to love one such form only out of that he should create fair thoughts; and soon he will of himself perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another, and that beauty in every form is one and the same."
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

Inventing is a combination of brains and materials. The more brains you use, the less material you need.
Charles F. Kettering

Abstract ideas are the patterns two or more memories have in common. They are born whenever someone realizes that similarity. Creative thinking may mean simply the realization that there's no particular virtue in doing things the way they always have been done.
Rudolf Flesch

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.
Albert Szent Gyorgyi

For after the object is removed or the eye shut, we still retain an image of the things seen, though more obscure than when we see it... Imagination, therefore, is nothing but decaying sense.
Thomas Hobbes
(1588 1679)

External Resistance to Creativity

Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger.
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
Dogmatists of all kinds scientific, economic, moral, as well as political are threatened by the creative freedom of the artist. This is necessarily and inevitably so. We cannot escape our anxiety over the fact that the artists together with creative persons of all sorts, are the possible destroyers of our nicely ordered systems. For the creative impulse is the speaking of the voice and the expressing of the forms of the preconscious and unconscious; and that is, by its very nature, a threat to rationality and external control.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

He who builds a better mousetrap these days runs into material shortages, patent infringement suits, work stoppages, collusive bidding, discount discrimination and taxes.
H. E. Martz

Internal Struggle to be Creative

Anxiety is the essential condition of intellectual and artistic creation... and everything that is finest in human history.
Charles Frankel

To be willing to suffer in order to create is one thing; to realize that one's creation necessitates one's suffering, that suffering is one of the greatest of God's gifts, is almost to reach a mystical solution of the problem of evil.
J. W. N. Sullivan

Motivation to be Creative

The mainspring of creativity appears to be the same tendency, which we discover so deeply as the curative force in psychotherapy man's tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities. By this I mean the directional trend, which is evident in all organic and human life the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism, to the extent that such activation enhances the organism or the self. This tendency may become deeply buried under layer after layer of encrusted psychological defenses; it may be hidden behind elaborate facades which deny its existence; it is my belief, however, based on my experience, that it exists in every individual and awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed.
Carl Rogers
"Toward a Theory of Creativity" from
Creativity and its Cultivation
Edited by H. Anderson

You men must learn to think.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
T. J. Watson
Proverbs, 24, 18
From an essay by T. J. Watson
As A Man Thinks

Our future progress, our future prosperity, will come from the discovery of new materials, new processes and new uses for old products with which to further enrich the lives of men.
T. J. Watson
As A Man Thinks

Technological change demands an even greater measure of adaptability and versatility on the part of management in a large organization. Unless management remains alert, it can be stricken with complacency one of the most insidious dangers we face in business. In most cases it's hard to tell that you've ever caught the disease until it's almost too late. It is frequently most infectious among companies who have reached the top. They get to believing in the infallibility of their judgments.
T. J. Watson, Jr.
A Business and Its Beliefs

It is no one's fault, but everyone's problem.
R. F. Wagner, Jr.

Calm times teach few lessons. A diversity is a great teacher.
Otto Eckstein

Panoptical purview of political progress and the future presentation of the past.
James Joyce
Finnegan's Wake
Ideas are, in truth, forces.
Henry James

Creativity is a drug. I can't do without.
Cecil B. DeMille
Man is made to create, from the poet to the potter.
Benjamin Disraeli

He that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well being of mankind.
Henry Ward Beechen

Where we cannot invent, we may at least improve; we may give somewhat of novelty to that which was old, condensation to that which was diffuse, perspicuity to that which was obscure, and currency to that which was recondite.
Charles Caleb Colton

Innovation stimulates excitement and new ideas invigorate progress.
V. Goldberg

Comfortable, conservative, complacent people do not create. Why should they? They like it the way things are. Creativity means change of some sort and that means two kinds of disturbance. First, one's routines are disturbed in order to create. Second, if something new is created, it means change for the individual himself; and often, for others who are affected.

The creative process is not a comfortable thing. It involves urge, pressure. Some pressure is a part of the game for the experience is both disturbing in some degree, and also tantalizing.

A. D. Moore
Invention, Discovery and Creativity

Creativity is a yearning for immortality. We human beings know that we must die. We have, strangely enough, a word for death. We know that each of us must develop the courage to confront death. Yet we also must rebel and struggle against it. Creativity comes from this struggle out of the rebellion the creative act is born. Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one's death.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

This passion for form is a way of trying to find and constitute meaning in life. And this is what genuine creativity is. Imagination, broadly defined, seems to me to be a principle in human life underlying even reason, for the rational functions, according to our definitions, can lead to understanding can participate in the constituting of reality only as they are creative. Creativity is thus involved in our every experience as we try to make meaning in our self world relationship.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

Want is the mistress of invention.
Susanna Centlivre
(1667? 1723)
Invention breeds invention.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

High heels were invented by a woman who had been kissed on the forehead.
Christopher Morley

If necessity is the mother of invention, what was papa doing?
Ruth Weekley

Invention is the mother of necessity.
Thorstein Veblen

Now I really make the little idea from clay, and I hold it in my hand. I can turn it, look at it from underneath, see it from one view, hold it against the sky, imagine it any size I like, and really be in control almost like God creating something.
Henry Moore

The Creative Process

The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities, which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be 'voluntarily' reproduced and combined.
Albert Einstein

"Many meditative disciplines take the view that... one possesses (or can develop) an Observer that is highly objective with respect to the ordinary personality. Because it is an Observer that is essentially pure attention/awareness, it has not characteristics of its own." Professor Tart goes on to say that some persons who feel that they have a fairly well developed Observer "feel that this Observer can make essentially continuous observations not only within a particular d SoC (discrete start of consciousness) but also during the transition between two or more discrete states."
Charles T. Tart
Putting the Pieces Together

Oh, Kitty, how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking Glass House! I'm sure it's got, oh! such beautiful things in it! Let's pretend there's a way of getting through into it, somehow, Kitty. Let's pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it's turning to a mist now, I declare! It'll be easy enough to get through..."
Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass

The life of Zen begins with the opening of satori. Satori may be defined as intuitive looking into, in contradistinction to intellectual and logical understanding. Whatever the definition, satori means the unfolding of a new world hitherto unperceived.
D. T. Suzuki
An Introduction to Zen Buddhism

Preconscious processes are assailed from both sides. From one side they are nagged and prodded into rigid and distorted symbols by unconscious drives which are oriented away from reality and which consist of rigid compromise formations, lacking in fluid inventiveness. From the other side they are driven by literal conscious purpose, checked and corrected by conscious retrospective critique.
Neurotic Distortion

I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by repeated visions of this kind, could now distinguish larger structures, of manifold conformation; long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snakelike motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning, I awoke.
Frederick Kekule
The Art of Creation

A wealth of suggestion links in this one thought. Too often we labor under the burden of a "fixed idea" the result, generally, of a fixed point of view. The ability to see a problem from every angle and to reverse, when need be, all pre established convictions provides the light of inspiration and constructive thought.
T. J. Watson
As A Man Thinks

Thought begets the will to create.
T. J. Watson
As A Man Thinks

It is better to aim at perfection and miss than it is to aim at imperfection and hit it.
T. J. Watson

There is no magic formula for achieving creativity it is simply a way of life in a laboratory dedicated to discovery and invention.
Paul Solzberg
Think (1962)

In the complicated situations of life, we have to solve numerous problems and make many decisions. It is absurd to think that reason should be our guide in all cases. Reason is too slow and too difficult. We do not have the necessary data or we cannot simplify our problem sufficiently to apply the methods of reasoning. What then must we do? Why not do what the human race has always done use the abilities we have our common sense, judgment, and experience. We underrate the importance of intuition. In almost every scientific problem which I have succeeded in solving, even after those that have taken days or months of work, the final solution has come to my mind in a fraction of a second by a process which is not consciously one of reason. Such intuitive ideas are often wrong. The good must be sorted out from the bad sometimes by common sense or judgment other times by reasoning. The power of the human mind is far more remarkable than one ordinarily thinks.

Irving Langmuir
Creativity: A Symposium
IRE Student Quarterly (9/57)
A. N. Goldsmith

I believe in intuition and inspiration. At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.
Albert Einstein
Creativity: A Symposium
IRE Student Quarterly (9/57)
A. N. Goldsmith

[After previous investigations of a problem] . . . in all directions . . . happy ideas come unexpectedly without effort, like an inspiration. So far as I am concerned they have never come to me when my mind is fatigued or when I was at my working table. [Helmholtz got his inspirations when rested often in the morning.]

[The positive attitude] is a characteristic of creative people. Form the habit of reacting Yes to a new idea. First, think of all the reasons why it's good; there will be plenty of people around to tell you why it won't work . . .. Be on the alert for hunches, and whenever you find one hovering on the threshold of your consciousness, welcome it with open arms. Doing these things won't transform you into a genius overnight. But they're guaranteed to help you locate that treasure chest of ideas, which lie hidden at the back of your own brain . . .. It's generally a hunch that starts the inventor on his quest . . .. Later on, perhaps after weeks of fruitless searching, another inspiration, arriving when he least expects it, drops the answer in his lap. I've seen this happen over and over. But I've yet to meet that "coldly calculating man of science" whom the novelists extol. Candidly, I doubt that he exists; and if he did exist, I fear that he would never make a startling discovery or invention.
C. Guy Suits
Alex Osborn
Your Creative Power

The way is to sit down and, consciously and with a good deal of self discipline, force yourself to think hard about the problem. It usually takes, he finds, a number of hours, which may not necessarily be in a continuous stretch. The mental effort here must be great. But after the mental effort has been put forth, the problem thereafter haunts the mind; that is, you know your brain is working on it because bits of it keep entering the consciousness, at odd moments. Thereafter the subconscious work requires some time perhaps days or months. A booster shot of conscious effort may be required from time to time, but in the main you can do other things with your conscious attention. Just when the solution will come (if at all) is entirely unpredictable.
H. R. Crane
The g Factor of the Electron
Scientific American
(January 1968)
Speaking about Poincare

The creative process must be explored not as the product of sickness, but as representing the highest degree of emotional health, as the expression of the normal people in the act of actualizing themselves. Creativity must be seen in the work of the scientist as well as in that of the artist, in the thinker as well as in the aesthetician; and one must not rule our the extent to which it is present in captains of modern technology as well as in a mother's normal relationship with her child.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

The first thing we notice in a creative act is that it is an encounter.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

The fourth characteristic of this experience is that the insight comes at a moment of transition between work and relaxation. It comes at in periods of voluntary effort.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

Albert Einstein once asked a friend of mine in Princeton, "Why is it I get my best ideas in the morning while I'm shaving?" My friend answered, as I have been trying to say here, that often the mind needs the relaxation of inner controls needs to be freed in reverie or day dreaming for the unaccustomed ideas to emerge.
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

A sine qua non of creativity is the freedom of artists to give all the elements within themselves free play in order to open up the possibility of what Blok excellently calls "the creative will."
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

Whatever the intention of the Delphic priests, the effect of ambiguous prophecies was to force the suppliants to think out their situation anew, to reconsider their plans, and to conceive of new possibilities. Apollo, indeed, was nicknamed the "ambiguous one."
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

When my insight "suddenly breaks through which may happen when I am chopping wood in the afternoon I experience a strange lightness in my step as though a great load were taken off my shoulders, a sense of joy on a deeper level that continues without any relation whatever to the mundane tasks that I may be performing at the time. It cannot be just that the problem at hand has been answered that generally brings only a sense of relief. What is the source of this curious pleasure?

I propose that it is the experience of this is the way things are meant-to be. If only for that moment, we participate in the myth of creation. Order comes out of disorderly form out of chaos, as it did in the creation of the universe. The sense of joy comes from our participation, no matter how slight, in being as such. The paradox is that at that moment we also experience more vividly our own limitations. We discover the amor fati that Nietzsche writes about the love of one's fate. No wonder it gives a sense of ecstasy!
Rollo May
The Courage to Create

The so called Ah ha! reaction... shows up as a deceleration of six heartbeats or more.
The IQ's Connected to the Heartbeat

When I am... completely myself, entirely alone ... or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. When and how these come I know not nor can I force them ... Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them gleich alles zusammen (at the same time all together).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Somebody once asked Anton Bruckner: "Master, How, when, where did you think of the divine motif of your Ninth Symphony?" Well, it was like this," Bruckner replied. "I walked up the Kahlenberg, and when it got hot and I got hungry, I sat down by a little brook and unpacked my Swiss cheese. And just as I open the greasy paper, that darn tune pops into my head!"
Anton Bruckner

Value of Creativity

To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large. This is an experience of inestimable value to everyone.
Aldous Huxley

To empty one's minds of all thought and refill the void with a spirit greater than oneself is to extend the mind into a realm not accessible by conventional processes of reason.
Edward Hill

The use of history is to give value to the present hour and its duty.

The great creative individual ... is capable of more wisdom and virtue than collective man ever can be.
John Stuart Mill
1806 1873