How to Become More Creative

Always mindful of the mind, Jonah Lehrer offers a brief history of creativity. Based on empirical results, brainstorming and teleconferencing are out, accidental interactions and trust are in.

What's the Latest Development?

First, stop searching for the creativity formula. When Steve Jobs was designing Pixar's office space, the computer graphics company he founded between gigs at Apple, he wanted to locate the building's only bathrooms in a center atrium, forcing people to interact with each other by chance. The space quickly became a hub for serendipity. At MIT, a makeshift building which violated numerous building codes would eventually become one of the world's most creative spaces. How? Due to lack of space, the college crammed very disparate departments right next to each other.

What's the Big Idea?

The only rule of creativity is that it does not follow a script. The idea generation process known as brainstorming, which influenced schools and businesses for generations, simply does not work because it is too formulaic. The brainstorming process also eschews criticism of others' ideas, believing creativity to be a delicate flower easily offended by debate. Empirically speaking, that is also false. The most essential element of creativity is accidental and honest human interaction, which must be facilitated but not forced.

Photo credit:

Related Articles

To save us, half of Earth needs to be given to animals

We're more dependent on them than we realize.

(Photo Lily on Unsplash)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
  • A natural climate strategy we often forget.
  • Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
Keep reading Show less

New infographics show how cigarette smokers are socially penalized

There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.

Sex & Relationships
  • The home improvement company Porch recently polled 1,009 people on their feelings about smoking.
  • The company recently published the results as infographics.
  • In terms of dating, 80 percent of nonsmokers find the habit a turnoff
Keep reading Show less

The "catch" to being on the keto diet

While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty
Surprising Science
  • Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
  • There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
  • One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep reading Show less