"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Here are just some of the many ways to unleash your personal creativity:

- Set up a dedicated 'think' space at home & don't forget to document your creative sparks in a notebook or journal;

- Know your "peak period" of creativity flow - mine is either early in the morning or late in the night;

- Read as much as you can, but try to go beyond mainstream & start to read odd or fringe stuff – just to get new perspectives or ideas. A quick browse of a Nature magazine gave R Buckminister Fuller some clues to his invention of the geodesic dome;

- Ask some dumb questions: The Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo came as a result of a staff member asking, “How come we don't open the zoo at night?”;

- Believe in yourself, & that you are creative; in fact we are all born geniuses; "only schools have degeniused us", according to R Buckminster Fuller;

- Scan everywhere you go & observe everything or everyone for potential ideas; ideas often come from observations in anywhere; a Singaporean inventor often observe kids hanging out on the beach with nothing to do, & so he invented a series of sand-castle-building tools for them;

- Clear your mental clutter – so that you have more space for many different & new perspectives & ideas;

- Start “possibility coagulation” - this requires openness & a willingness to ask questions;

- Regain your childhood curiosity - by spending some time with kids - their sense of wonder can really be infectious; I love to hang out with kids;

- Eliminate “Yes, but…” from your daily vocabulary, & replace it with “Yes, and…”, & watch out for all the possibilities that may start to appear;

- Allow ample time for incubation – I like to call it the 'Twilight Zone': just pose your problem in your mind & then let it go; then listen to the solutions that come to you – sitting on the toilet bowl, soaping in the shower, taking a walk in the park, while commuting, etc.;

- Switch off the inner critic – that pesky little voice that undermines your personal confidence;

- Laugh & joke often, everyday - if you have ever watched the 'Seinfeld' sitcom, you will note than jokes often allow you to see things differently;

- Grab your iPod & go for a run or a fast walk around the block: This combination of change in scenery, physical exertion & your favourite music will make you feel better, raring to go for exploring some new approaches;

- Seek out creative company &/or develop a creative community by your side: The best ideas are forged not in moments of solitary genius, but during lively exchanges with others;

- Daydream more often, & allow your mind to wander: A wandering mind may allow your brain to search more widely for new connections that could trigger a "eureka" moment;

- Apply proven generative techniques, e.g. idea-mapping, image-streaming, brain-writing, lotus-blossoming, etc., to help you boost your personal creativeness;

- Simply start doing, by immersing yourself in a broad variety of creative endeavours, e.g. gardening, cooking, playing music or instruments, starting a blog, writing poetry, & even talking to strangers on the streets or while queueing in a line, etc.;

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