Tuesday, November 18, 2008


"A man's dreams are an index to his greatness. "
- Zadok Rabinwitz


In his book about Creativity, "A Whack on the Side of the Head", Roger von Oech tells us about a major oil company's concern with the lack of creativity among some of its research and development people. To deal with the problem, top management brought in a team of psychologists to determine the difference between the creative R & D people and the less-creative ones. The hope was that their findings would stimulate the less-creative people.

The psychologists asked the scientists all kinds of questions. They asked about educational backgrounds, about the environment in which their favorite colors were. After three months, the psychologists found that the biggest difference between the two groups was that the creative people thought they were creative and the less-creative people did not. As a consequence, those who thought they were creative acted like it. They ignored old methods and hatched new ideas. The less-creative people did things as they had always been done.

Some "I'm not creative" people stifle themselves because they think creativity belongs only to people like Beethoven, Einstein, and Shakespeare. These are some of the superluminaries of the creative world, but by and large, these people didn't get their big ideas out of the blue.

On the contrary, most of their big ideas came from paying attention to their small ideas, playing with them, and making them big ideas.One of the major factors that differentiates creative people from less-creative people is that creative people pay attention to their small ideas. They know that a small idea can lead to a big breakthrough, and they believe that they are capable of making it happen.