Tina Seelig: Unlock Creativity with Motivation and Experimentation | Summary and Q&A

October 17, 2014
Stanford eCorner
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Tina Seelig: Unlock Creativity with Motivation and Experimentation

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Creativity requires motivation and experimentation. True innovators are quilt-makers who use all the resources at their disposal to solve problems. Starting small and prototyping can lead to effective solutions. This is exemplified by a video clip from IDEO's toy group, where a simple prototype for a new iPhone app was tested and found to be successful.

Questions & Answers

Q: What are the two things necessary for creativity?

Motivation and experimentation are the two key requirements for creativity. Without both of these elements, it becomes difficult to generate new and innovative ideas.

Q: Why do most people not engage in motivation and experimentation?

Many people prefer to be puzzle-builders rather than quilt-makers. Puzzle-builders have a fixed idea of what their life should look like and try to find all the necessary pieces to complete the puzzle. However, if they are missing even one piece, their progress is halted, preventing them from being creative and finding alternative solutions.

Q: How do quilt-makers approach problem-solving?

Quilt-makers are true creators who take advantage of all the resources available to them. They don't get discouraged by missing pieces; instead, they use what they have to create solutions. They are willing to experiment and think outside the box.

Q: Why do some people choose to tackle certain problems?

The problems people choose to tackle are often triggered by personal experiences or events that deeply affect them. These individuals feel a strong motivation to solve those problems because they can directly relate to them and see the impact they have.

Q: Can motivation and experimentation be applied to small-scale problems?

Absolutely. One doesn't need a grand global mission to start being motivated and experimenting. Starting with small, everyday problems in one's environment can lead to ideas and solutions. It's important to remember that the bar doesn't always have to be set high.

Q: How can rapid prototyping be effective in finding solutions?

Rapid prototyping allows for quick testing and iteration. By creating a prototype within a short period of time and at a low cost, individuals can evaluate its effectiveness and make improvements. The example of IDEO's toy group developing the Monster Maker app demonstrates the success of this approach.

Q: Does creativity require completely new ideas?

Not necessarily. The ideas generated through motivation and experimentation don't have to be entirely novel to the world. What matters is that they are new to the individual, leading to unique solutions and perspectives.


Creativity is fueled by motivation and experimentation. To be truly innovative, one should approach problems as quilt-makers, utilizing all available resources to find solutions. Starting small and prototyping can be effective in testing ideas. The bar for motivation and experimentation doesn't have to be set high; even everyday problems can be the catalyst for creativity. Remember, the ideas don't need to be groundbreaking to the world, but they should be new to you.

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