Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nature of creativity

“Creativity isn’t magic. It happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials…. These are the basic elements of creativity: copy, transform, and combine.”

- Kirby Ferguson, a New York-based filmmaker, author, and speaker.

I saw this on a Facebook group and thought it well worth reflecting on. 

I can recall as a kid drawing some cartoons from the newspaper. A simple act of copying. Never took me anywhere but it was fun. When I've put together lecture notes or theological material, it always starts with a little cut and paste, then some quote marks or rewording. We all start by copying. Any parent can here their own catch phrases in their childern. My son says 'seriously' like me almost daily.

Transforming is the act of turning what someone else has done into what we have done. It might be paraphrasing or summarising. It might be modifying, hacking, rejigging, reordering. It might be an extension of an idea or thought just that little bit beyond what has been done. In science, a lot of papers leave things open. Science is iterative and we should always look to jump onto those little pointers.

Finally, combining is the act of synthesising. Reading many works and weaving them together into a larger or more comprehensive story. Producing a mash up or a work of art that has several themes or techniques embedded. Creating a narrative with many subplots and cultural echoes.

So start simple. Imitation is a form of flattery, but it's also the first step in something new.

1 comment:

Ian Packer said...

And now I'm going to copy this on to my blog with a little word change here and there... ;-)