Steve Jobs on Creativity

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. 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 they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” – Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1995

(via this fantastic Brain Pickings post)

18 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Nice thought, always Steve!

  2. omg, turn off bold italic please

  3. “Get off your computer and connect with real life and culture. Life is visceral….Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn to just how much you don’t know.” says John C. Jay.

  4. He was such an inspiration really

  5. Steve Jobs and his thought about Switzerland. the clip starts in French but the interview is in english.. enjoy

  6. great thoughts!

  7. Great quote/thought!

    It’s a great argument for the “well rounded education” model. Also…a good argument for people to travel out of their home continent, try old things in new ways, and simply to try new things! :)

    …this makes me soo glad I’ve got several different experiences and interests. :)

  8. “The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

    I think this is very true. Leonardo da Vinci is a great example of this.

  9. Totally agree with Mr Jobs and the rest of the crew (not with turn off bold italics kid though).

    This quote is a great headline for a web design website/blog, ow wait, I might just use that…

  10. An accurate insight. Great thoughts.

  11. @Arno Ghelfi,

    At the end of the interview, Mr. Jobs is asked:

    “What is the next best thing that you see out there?”

    The last part in his response I found to be so significant. When he says:

    “…We’re not competing against somebody else making a great film.
    We’re competing against: “Can we make a great film?” That’s our competition.”

  12. This is so true. The guilt is true, and the thing about experiences is true. when i was in college I didnt have much to say through my art. Now that i’ve experienced more, the “creativity” comes to me much more easily

  13. It felt liberating with so many possibilities but still grounded on the current situation.

    TQ all for sharing.

  14. LOLZ.

    If this was true, then why is it most creators do their great works early, and spend the rest of their lives trying to make the same order of, or better creation. If Jobs were correct, then as we get older, we’d get more and more creative — at least until the brain really starts to lose some serious elements of its connective ability ca. 60ish — and probably past that point but slower.

    As it is, most people do their “Life’s Great Work” in their 20s.

    Lots of exceptions, no dispute — but the majority do stuff when they are young solely because people naturally refuse to accept the limits of society at that age. It’s how humans are wired, to reject the limits imposed by our elders.

    Creativity comes not just from making connections, but from listening to other people tell you what can’t be done, then going out and figuring a way to do it.

    It comes from Society telling you what you should and should not do, and then you giving Society the finger. And you know you’re correct for sure when everyone else looks at what you’ve done and says, “Hey…. S/He is right!”

    As far as guilt? HA!

    “Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.”
    – Albert Szent-Gyorgi –

    Why should anyone feel “guilty” because they SAW something and stared, that others have looked at and casually looked away? They had the same opportunity to Do A Great Thing that you did, and failed. That’s not YOUR fault. It’s a ridiculous proposition.

  15. @Angely

    THAT is the quote that should be highlighted, Tina.

    You do measure things by comparison in some ways, but the limits are the ones you choose to accept on your work. The goal is to make those limits match at the intersection of
    a) within your grasp
    b) still outside the expectation
    c) not so far outside expectation that people either don’t understand or appreciate (and this still allows for vindication later, but you might never know).

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