It is a very very day with the news that Steve Jobs, who has died aged 56 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The world has lost a visionary, not only he made an unprecedented impact not only on the world of computing and consumer electronics with insanely great products that inspired a generation of people to dream big and be different, he has also reinvented management by building and rebuilding one of the greatest companies on earth. His creative and innovative spirit and remarkable accomplishments will forever be remembered by all of us.
Steve was the most creative person on earth in business I’ve known of. His creative spirit will inspire many for decades to come. You wonder what’s makes Steve so creative? And what is creativity anway? How creativity happens? How do we prepare ourselves for creativity? Do you have to be a whole-brain thinker? Or you only need to be a rightbrainer? Are there many more young Steve Jobs out there?
Creative individuals have a few distinctive features that distinguish them from their peers: They have a rich body of domain-relevant knowledge and well-developed skills, also they find their work intrinsically motivating (Simonton 2000; Amabile 1988). They tend to be independent, unconventional, and more risk-taking, and to have wide interests and a greater openness to new experiences (Simonton 2000). Steve met all those criteria and was a perfect archetype of a super creative person.
Creative individuals also tend to have a strong “discovery” orientation, which leads them to look at situations from different perspectives at the same time, to frame problems differently, and to ask novel questions. Some academics and creative managers like to describe creativity as a process, I belong to the school of Vinacke that believes creative thinking in the arts does not follow a model or any models. Ask any top creative talent, see if they follow a process. I never like the idea to reduce creativity to a five staged process. It is simply not creative to do so.
The best creativity comes from managed chaos and applied fuzzy logic. It is never about careful calculations and you simply cannot engineer lucky accidents. It is also about committment to make change, it is a powerful motivator for creative people. Design Thinking helps organization to improve its creative and imagination capability, but it is not a creative process. Creativity has no process. Don’t waste your money on any books. Just read Steve Jobs’ story.
Steven Paul Jobs, management guru, creative visionary, businessman, born 24 February 1955; died 5 October 2011.