Friday, April 20, 2012

Creativity: a couple of random inspirations

I believe sparks for creativity are all around us.  We have to let creative thoughts enter our minds.  It's not something that each of us sit on our separate chairs and think hard about the problem that we want to solve.  High school algebra problems would be suitable for approaches like that.  But any real life complex problems will need creativity to solve it differently and solve it better.

Creativity comes from sharing.  We have to share ideas with each other.  In the midst of exchanging ideas, we are knowingly and unknowingly provoking each other's thoughts from all of our past experiences and lessons.  Being able to take in someone else's ideas and get inspired by them are critical ingredients to be more creative.

In that spirit, I want to share a couple of short stories with you.

First one.  I was doing some testing last night with engineering team in India.  It was Twitter application that we were testing, and we had to come up with short tweets to see if system worked ok or not.  Knowing all tweets are public, I knew I wanted to say something meaningful than "hello word", "test 123", "foobar", etc.  It was just past midnight, and I was trying to come up with clever things to say.  I think it took me about 15+ seconds to come up with each tweet.  Even then I was not coming up with interesting things to say.

Then I saw this tweet from one of QA engineer:
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. - Mother Teresa"
Even before the quote sank in, he followed up with another famous quotable:
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot
While I was struggling to come up with something interesting to say, he knew what to share exactly.  Interesting quotes make perfect sense.  It's thought-provoking yet easy to share without getting distracted by trying to come up with something original to say.

This instantly reminded me Buffer App.  Buffer App suggests interesting things to tweet about when you run out of things to say.  Perfect solution for those who want to start a conversation, but not sure what to talk about.

Second one.  While I was browsing the web for news, I stumbled upon this YouTube clip.  It was about an architect, Hong Yi, who started a personal project to paint the basket player Yao Ming.  To make it interesting she used basket ball instead of paintbrush to paint Yao Ming's portrait.  She pushed this idea further to paint Jay Chou, Taiwanese musician, with coffee cup and coffee stains which she got inspiration from one of his song lyrics.  Now she's pursuing another project where she is drawing inspiration from bamboo stick laundry hangers commonly seen in China.

Not only is her project interesting, but also she nicely lays out how she's collaborating with coworkers and Facebook fans by exchanging ideas with them.

Where are you drawing your creative inspirations from?  Don't look for them far from you.  Capture those that inspires you, and build on them.

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