Monday, January 6, 2014

Steve Jobs on Creativity

Creativity is just connecting things. steve jobs creativity quote


For decades, his appreciation of visual brilliance radiated and resonated through his words. In tribute, to wit, here are our Top 10 Steve Jobs Quotes about Art and Creativity:


"Picasso had a saying. He said, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."
PBS’s "Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires” (1996)

“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Comic Riffs: Quick sketches on deadline. (Cavna - TWP)
“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.”
Playboy interview (Jobs, of course, would go on to guide some of Apple’s greatest digital-product innovations while in his 50s.)

“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”
— Fortune magazine (via WikiQuote)

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked."

STEVE JOBS: From the Comic Riffs sketchbook on deadline. (Michael Cavna - 2011 The Washington Post )
RIP, STEVE JOBS THE ARTIST: The Apple founder is the subject of these 5 moving portraits

“We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”
MSNBC/ Newsweek interview

“People from technology don't understand the creative process that these companies go through to make their products, and they don't appreciate how hard it is. And the creative companies don't appreciate how creative technology is; they think it's just something you buy. And so there is a gulf of understanding between the two of them.”
Wall Street Journal

“Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”
Business Week

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
2005 Stanford commencement speech


By  |  07:26 PM ET, 10/06/2011

Tags:  steve jobs, apple, mark fiore

 Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/comic-riffs/post/steve-jobs-his-10-best-quotes-about-art-and-creativity/2011/10/06/gIQAc0ZARL_blog.html

Excerpted from the Stanford commencement address starting at minute 03:10:

Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans-serif and typefaces, about varying the space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had any hope of a practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me, and we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had not dropped into that single course in college the Mac would never have had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts, and since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would never have dropped in on that calligraphy class and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography they do. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. And it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road   will give you the confidence to follow your heart even if it leads you off the well worn path and that will make all the difference.

There have been a great many creative and inventive people in history but most have not told us how they did it. Isaac Newton gave a hint when he said: "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." Jared Diamond, who has studied human evolution, says that opportunity, not necessity, is the mother of invention. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Yet we keep making progress. And nature, specially the biosphere, evolves. We keep inventing things. How does it happen? We are very lucky in that Steve Jobs in his product introductions shows us how creativity works in practice, at least he shows us the tip of the iceberg. And the story he told about calligraphy during his Stanford commencement address is also about how creativity works in practice.


While some people will always be more creative than others, creativity is not some mysterious ether that some people have in abundance and most others lack. As shown above, there is a methodology that leads to creativity and innovation. While it might not be algorithmic as Kauffman argues, Colonel Boyd's OODA Loop certainly provides one method of creative problem solving. On a more spiritual level, Jobs's "follow your heart" is a less stringent road to creativity and innovation.

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