What is your creative process?

Question: What's your creative process?

Tom Stewart: I once was doing an article that I was doing in Fortune magazine.  I did an article about power.  I actually did two of them about power in corporations.  And I got very interested in psychological testing and how … and because there was a fad. This was, I can’t remember, seven or eight years ago.  There was a fad for giving psychological tests to people before they got promoted . . . Meyers-Briggs tests, but also other kinds of tests.  I also was intrigued because back in the 1950s, there was a fad for aptitude tests.  And in fact it was concern with the aptitude test fads that got … to start writing the book that became the organization of the articles for Fortune … became the organization.  And included in that book was a chapter on how to cheat on aptitude tests – how to take them and how to cheat on them.  So I got interested in the personality tests, and I went to a psychologist friend and I said, “Would you teach me how to cheat on psychology tests?”  And she said, “No, I can’t.  I’m not allowed.  There are professional standards.  But I’ll give you one.  I’ll give you the battery that I give.”  Because she does executive coaching and so on and so on.  So she gave me this battery of tests and gave me the feedback.  And out of it … and of course I tried to cheat … and I …  But out of it I got some interesting feedback in which she said that … that she was intrigued by the way that my mind worked.  Because she found that … that my mind worked in a way that not too many other people in her experience … experience did.  Which … which is it made all kinds of connections to things in strange ways.  I would, you know … I’d leap from A to Z to M to L to P, and I’d pull in things from … from a whole lot of sources and sort of dance around topics until I’d get it right.  And if I get passionate about an idea, I swarm it.  I overdo it.  I kill it.  You know I … I just go all over it until I think I understand it.  Or until … or until I’m bored and I go somewhere else.  So it’s that kind of …  There’s not an orderly process.  It’s a fairly physical process.  I mean, there’s a … I … I squirm a lot around in my chair when I’m excited by an idea, or I start talking to people.  I wanna run it by them.  So it … it’s kind of a noisy … a noisy process of seeing connections and getting excited by them.

Recorded on: 6/22/07

Tom Stewart's creative process is far from orderly.

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists find the "magic number" that links forces of the universe

Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.

Credit: Adobe
Surprising Science
  • A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
  • This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
  • The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
Keep reading Show less

A new system separates oxygen and hydrogen from Mars’ water

Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.

Technology & Innovation
  • Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
  • Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
  • The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.
Keep reading Show less

Astrophysicists: Gamma-ray jets exceed the speed of light

Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.

Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab (used with permission by Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is co-managed by Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Tech).
Surprising Science
  • Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
  • The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
  • The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Keep reading Show less

How officials will ensure the COVID-19 vaccine stays cold enough in transit

Pfizer's vaccine needs to be kept at -100°F until it's administered. Can caregivers deliver?

Credit: Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels
Coronavirus
  • Fair distribution of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is especially challenging because they need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures.
  • Back in 2018, the WHO reported that over half of all vaccines are wasted worldwide due to lack of cold storage, and they were only talking about vaccines that need to be chilled or kept at standard freezer temperatures.
  • Real-time logistics data, location tracking, and information about movements are crucial to track shipment progress, product temperature and other conditions.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast