Creativity is just connecting things

In Posted June 15, 2010

I am in the process of writing a longer post about the difference between Google’s and Apple’s approach to ‘User Experience’ and stumbled over this wonderful quote from Steve Jobs:

When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.

The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

– Steve Jobs

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3 Replies to “Creativity is just connecting things”

Don Li
June 16, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I can’t agree more. Also, a product designer should never be satisfied with his/her creation, there’s alway room to grow…

Lars Tong Strömberg
June 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

Indeed an interesting perspective.

Imo, we tend to undervalue diverse work experiences in recruitment and career development. I.e. people who have worked in different businesses and industries and even changed career completely over time can often see new dots to connect and patterns not obvious to those who are stuck in “this is how we have always done it” simply because they have followed the path everyone else have.

July 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Nice reminder :)I think the mother of creativity is often just a basic, honest and open curiosity, having the curage to ask questions and reflecting on the answers.