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What creativity is for Steve jobs? It is all about experience connectivity

“To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. 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 have thought more about their experiences than other people have. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they en up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.”

— Steve Jobs

I agree with that quote. This is the real value of experience, and it is what differentiates it from knowledge. People can have a great lot of knowledge, but no experience. This experience will show him how he can, and cannot, use that knowledge. Connecting all pieces of knowledge in an effective way is only possible with experience.

Steve talks about the IT industry. The experience he is talking about, is not just one of software development, it is about all life’s experiences. Past jobs, past studies, past human interactions, etc. Everything is knowledge, all experience is good, the only thing people have to do is to connect them to create something in a non linear fashion, to see a problem with a broaden view.

I got this quote from the book The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun. He say about that quote:

“The only criticism I have of this quote is that it implies something special about creative people that can’t be obtained by noncreative people. I don’t believe people are born into one of two exclusive piles of creative geniuses and unimaginative morons.”

I think that Scott wrote this because of this: “[…]When you ask a creative person how they did something […]”. But if I read a little further: “And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or have thought more about their experiences than other people have“. So, I do not think that Steve said that considering that there are only two classes of people: the creative ones and the unimaginative morons. The only think that differentiate a creative person from the unimaginative one is their experiences. So you have the creative person and the uncreative one, but in the middle, you have all the others that have more or less experiences. There is a lot of different grey between the black and the white.

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6 thoughts on “What creativity is for Steve jobs? It is all about experience connectivity

  1. Hello Fred,

    What a great find! That’s a truly inciteful quote…in my opinion Steve Jobs is a true creative genius. His ability to continually reinvent himself is awe inspiring, and everything he touches seems to turn to gold. It’s nice to have a peek into his brain. It gives me some hope ; D

    All the best,
    -Cary

  2. Hello Cary!

    Thank for your comment. I really like it too. Yup, Mr. Jobs is a successful and intriguing man.

    Seems to be everything, but it seems that it is not the case. A good biography was released in may 2005: iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business. I did not read it, but it seems the best biography of him around. There are some critics, but I also think that it is the best one to see the two faces of the medal.

    However, it is just normal that not “everything” he touch turn into goal. If you ask to any famous people how they come along with all the things they have, their answer will probably be something like: “I get up and climb back every time I fall”. But I agree that most of the things he touched turned in goal 😉

    By the way, I just see the new version of your blog, I really like the 3 columns layout, really beautiful and easy to navigate, I like it!

    Take care, and say hello to Lori, I am glad to read that she is doing much better!

    Do not stop Cary, and keep your good work going!

    Salutations,

    Fred

  3. Hello Sudar!

    Thank for that link. I scanned it quickly and it look like a really interesting reading. I will take the time to read it when I will have some minutes.

    Salutations,

    Fred

  4. Hello Fred,

    It’s December 14th,2010. I just read your passage today.
    A friend of mine from Switzerland loves Jobs so much. He told me his favorite word “grok” was also uesd by Jobs. In order to make me know this word better, he send your web link to me.

    Do you use iPhone or iPad? ^-^ Jobs is so amazing.
    People from all over the world treat him and his company as a legend.

    BTW. I’m from Chinese.^-^

    Best regards,
    Lynn

  5. Pingback: Un mundo ordenado

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