Asking Why?

“I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”  – Albert Einstein

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”  – Steven Wright

I really enjoyed Dave Trott’s article “A creative mind is an enquiring mind” and recommend everyone to read it.  He is right that curiosity is what makes us creative, having an open mind, pursuing diverse interests, challenging assumptions, and above all asking lots of questions.  We are naturally born to be curious, and as children are enthusiastic in asking ‘why?’ (and just as importantly ‘why not?’).  The key to creativity is to keep the child within us, the enjoyment of playing, and to never be afraid to ask ‘why?’.  Albert Einstein was known for his playful side and his childlike enthusiasm for new ideas and challenges – similarly Dave Trott describes the sheer fun and enjoyment that four modern scientists had in talking about some of their favourite heroes and ideas.

The lesson for innovation is simple – keep asking ‘why?’.  Have an open mind  (‘openness is next to godliness‘), use games to help you discover and create, and cultivate a diverse range of interests.  [Interestingly, Sam Gosling has shown that diversity of interests is highly correlated with psychological measures of openness, and is something we all use to accurately predict the personality of others.]  Give yourself the chance to make connections between different ideas, different domains and even different cultures.

And above all, be childish!


Snoop: What your stuff says about you by Sam Gosling (2009)

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