Creative Thinking

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” — Albert Einstein

Years ago, I read “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”by Elizabeth Gilbert at the urging of a friend. I felt energized around the basic human desire to create. 

This month, I’ve been struck by several articles in this issue about creativity and innovation. I had several ah-ha moments reading “3 Ways Your Brain Limits Creative Thinking” on page 61. I had heard of brain drain, but I hadn’t read the science behind it. Intuitively, I’ve always understood the value of taking mental breaks but it’s nice to understand why.

In the same article, I was intrigued by this idea: “Whenever people are faced with new information, they use it to slightly refine — not completely rethink — their existing models, beliefs or hypotheses. Rarely do we assume new data means our existing beliefs might be wrong. Instead, we make incremental and minimal adjustments to our beliefs, essentially, the least possible change in our thinking that will account for new data.”

Essentially, your brain wants to hang on to the status quo. As British economist Maynard Keynes says, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”

Another interesting read is Knowledge@Wharton’s “How Big Companies Can Cultivate Intrapreneurs” on page 75. When a large company is successful, how does it innovate to continue to be successful? It’s tricky. Becoming a Goliath makes it hard to change easily, and, goodness knows, we all understand the value of pivoting after the past two years. 

A third article involves creativity and rest (see page 110). If you truly want to find solutions to knotty problems in your sleep, the sweet spot is waking up during the first stage of sleep. One way to do that: Hold an object in your hand and when it falls, it wakes you up. I’ll pass on that one, but you might want to give it a try. 

Creativity has been on my mind for a few reasons. First, this magazine. In the months to come, I hope to change a few things, but I want to spend some time slow thinking (see page 62). Second, ISPA EXPO. In March, we’ll have our first ISPA EXPO since 2018, and I’m excited to see all the innovations on the show floor. What problems have our industry members solved? I’ve been with ISPA for seven years and the amount of innovation in the mattress industry during that time has been sizable. I can’t wait to see where the industry goes next.

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