Gladwell on Creativity – AIGA GAIN Conference

January 10, 2009

I’m always in the middle of reading multiple books at any given time (probably a bad habit). At the moment, two of those books are by Malcolm Gladwell – Blink and Outliers.

I was happy to see this video posted of a presentation Gladwell made at the October 2008 AIGA GAIN conference for design and business. In it, Gladwell discusses some interesting insights into the creative process, and how we, as humans, innovate.

In this are a couple of lessons:
1) The “magic” behind creativity and innovation is largely driven by devotion to practice and mastery of your skills
2) Experimentation is an evolutionary process. Most of us are “experimental innovators” who through a series of trial-and-error create something great (vs. having an effortless flash of innovation – the “conceptual innovator” as Gladwell describes).

Any of you who make your living off of your “ideas” knows how difficult it is to come up with something truly great. Gladwell’s presentation underscores the need for all of us to be constantly looking and applying what we learn in our everyday practice. Always be a student. Don’t be afraid to try (or fail).

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