Unleashing Creativity: Combining Old Elements and Embracing Transparency


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 24, 2023

3 min read


Unleashing Creativity: Combining Old Elements and Embracing Transparency

Creativity is a fascinating concept that often leads to breakthrough ideas and innovations. Contrary to popular belief, creative thinking is not about starting from scratch but rather about combining existing elements in unique ways. This article explores the connection between creativity, gathering new material, and the power of transparency in the journey of building a successful company.

The first step towards fostering a more creative brain is to recognize that innovative ideas emerge when we develop new combinations of old elements. This idea resonates with David Perell's concept of "Imitate, then innovate." By taking what is already present and forming new links between concepts, we can generate truly original ideas. Robert Frost once said, "An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor."

To begin this creative process, we must gather new material. This involves two key aspects: learning specific material directly related to our task and exploring a wide range of concepts that fascinate us. By expanding our knowledge base and exploring diverse subjects, we provide ourselves with a rich pool of ideas to draw from.

Once we have gathered the material, the next step is to thoroughly work over it in our minds. This stage involves examining the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together. It is through this process of mental exploration that we can begin to form new connections and generate innovative solutions.

However, it is important to note that creativity also requires space and time for ideas to incubate. Stepping away from the problem and allowing our minds to rest is crucial. Often, when we least expect it, our ideas return to us with a flash of insight and renewed energy. This moment of clarity, known as the "Eureka" moment, is when our creative thinking flourishes.

To bring our ideas to fruition, we must shape and develop them based on feedback. This is where the concept of transparency comes into play. GitLab Inc., a successful company, exemplifies the power of radical transparency. The company's co-founder and CEO, Sid Sijbrandij, embraced the idea of making everything transparent, both inside and outside the organization.

By posting an extraordinary amount of information online, including roadmaps, bug fixes, internal operations, and strategic priorities, GitLab Inc. involved the community in every step of their journey. This level of transparency allowed for relentless execution and true innovation. It also created a culture of continuous improvement, where feedback from the community was taken to heart and implemented in future iterations.

Incorporating transparency into our creative process can be immensely beneficial. Sharing our ideas and processes with others opens the door to valuable feedback and insights. Learning in public and building in public not only enhances our creativity but also helps us grow and improve.

In conclusion, creativity is all about connecting things. By combining old elements in new ways, gathering diverse material, working over ideas in our minds, stepping away to allow for insight, and embracing transparency, we can unleash our creative potential. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to foster creativity:

  • 1. Embrace a wide range of interests and continually gather new material to expand your knowledge base.
  • 2. Give yourself space and time to let ideas incubate. Step away from the problem and allow your mind to rest.
  • 3. Embrace transparency in your creative journey. Share your ideas and processes with others, invite feedback, and adapt based on valuable insights.

By following these steps, we can cultivate a more creative brain and unlock the potential for groundbreaking ideas and innovations. Remember, creativity is not about starting from scratch but about connecting existing elements in new and exciting ways.

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