Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for October, 2008

Niels Bohr and Creativity

Posted by Plish on October 11, 2008

Physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962)  is the father of Quantum theory as he theorized that the electrons of an atom were in various shells of energy and they didn’t emit radiation unless they changed energy states- they jumped to another orbit level.  This Nobel Prize winner was once said:

“When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.”


Bohr hits on two interesting points here.

1. The language of poetry.  Poetry is…well…poetic.  Its genius lies in being able to describe something with a wholistic precision when the language used is often less than precise.  Sounds paradoxical but that’s the genius of it.  That leads to point 2.

2. Poetic language creates images – and often many of them.  The words of poetry show us, almost in a simultaneous fashion, all the facets of a crystal at once, with all their perspectives in tact.

When your stuck and can’t think of anything, use crazy ideas to get the ball rolling, and try using poetry to describe your problem.  Let the poetry lead to images and from the images, connect them together, shuffle them around to concretize your ideas.

What do you think about Bohr’s statement and its implications to creative thinking?


Posted in Great Creative Minds, idea generation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Science | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Five Ways to Get Employees Thinking Like Entrepreneurs

Posted by Plish on October 7, 2008

Interesting blog post from the Wall Street Journal. 

I have seen industry violate one or more of the above ways time and time again. It is difficult in most of today’s corporate cultures to reward risk because risk is often tied directly into the pending rewards that have already been dialed-in to short term and often long term plans. This means that failure, which should be embraced and learned from in an entrepreneurial company, becomes the enemy and people get various levels of punishment instead of reward for creative thinking.  How have you seen these followed or violated?

Posted in Creativity Leadership, idea generation, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking the dam on the river of creativity

Posted by Plish on October 5, 2008

Some thoughts on ways of breaking through and coming up with new ideas when the river of creativity is dammed.

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Tuning your Creativity

Posted by Plish on October 4, 2008

This is my first video blog on creativity. What are your thoughts? (You can actually add comments on the video itself by clicking on the plus sign on the moving indicator of the time in the video)

Posted in Brain Stimulation Tools, Creativity Videos, idea generation, Musical Creativity, Nature of Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Baseball and creativity

Posted by Plish on October 3, 2008

One way to spur your creativity is to try and link dissimilar topics. So, since we are in the midst of the baseball playoffs (Go White Sox!), I thought, what’s better than writing about something that links baseball and creativity. So I got to thinking…


No doubt there are times in baseball where players use creativity in getting an out or in hitting and running. Yet, it dawned on me that there is one place where very little creativity is used and yet it’s an area where it could have huge returns.


The line-up.


Yes, there is precious little creativity used in placing the nine men at various slots in the lineup.


“How’s that, Plish?”


If strictly talking numbers, say a team only had nine players that were bonafide starters counting the DH (I’m talking the American League here). That means there are 9! (nine factorial) ways that lineup can be put together. That’s 362,880 different ways of putting together a lineup! Now, say the team has 12 bonafide starters from which to pick from, that number balloons to 79,833,600 combinations! If there are 14 then the number goes to 726,485,760!! Just for fun, if all 25 players (this means including pitchers) could be picked from to make the starting lineup, the number of possible permutations is: 741,354,768,000!


Now going back to the more realistic lineups. How many different lineups would you say most managers use during the course of a season? I don’t know, but I would venture to guess that at the most teams use maybe 40 lineups during the course of a season – and that’s with injuries. (Actually, even if they used different lineups for every game that would be a whole 0.45% of the permutations used in the best case scenario!)


I know, I know. Technically, according to baseball traditions, certain guys bat lead off because they’re fast, and other guys bat fourth because they’re sluggers, and the not so great guys bat near the end, and others bat at a certain place because they freak out if they don’t.


But still. There are somewhere between 362,880 and 726,485,760 different combinations and baseball managers don’t even scratch the surface with the various permutations. After all, how do they know for sure that some other permutation might not be magnitudes better? The only time a lineup really matters is in the first inning, and maybe the second. After that the “leadoff” guy may not lead-off for the rest of the game, and the clean-up guy (the guy batting fourth) may never come up with men on base.


So what do you think? How well do you stack up compared to Baseball managers and are they really lacking in creativity with regards to lineups?

Posted in Science, Sports Creativity, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Creativity and Leadership

Posted by Plish on October 2, 2008

Enlightening article in the Harvard Business Review. 

The article highlights various ways in which companies’ cultures (which are largely due to management) are not conducive to creativity. 

Personally, some of the lack of rewarding the innovation process is largely due to the fact that few companies have metrics to measure what’s been done correctly during the innovation process.  Standard performance metrics do not touch on things like usability of discoveries for other business units, patent landscape development, etc.

The article proposed the model of the music producer as a model for creativity management.  I think it’s a great idea and should be looked at. 

What do you think?

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Neuroscience and Creativity

Posted by Plish on October 1, 2008

Excellent article here from FastCompany on some science behind creativity as well as some great tips to increase the creative output.

It doesn’t surprise me that Corporate off-site meetings might not be as effective as once thought.  Not surprisingly, it’s new stimuli that seem to help idea generation. 

What are your thoughts on thinking?

Speaking of idea generation, I’ve added a new Excel based creativity tool called the Lotus Blossom (right click to download).  Please try it and let me know if you like it or if there are problems with it.  More tools on the way!

Posted in cognitive studies, idea generation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Science | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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