Creativity Quotes


    Genius can be stimulated by a powerful, challenging problem. It can be nurtured by an environment that eliminates fear and honors failure. It can be encouraged by the open flow of information and free interaction of people from all parts of the organization. – Wake-up Brain

    Invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. (attributed to Edison and many others)

    It’s not how many ideas you have, It’s how many you make happen.

    The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. – Dee Hock

    Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. – John Steinbeck

    Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought. – Albert Szent-Gyorgi

    Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

    What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work? A stick! – Bill Kirchenbaum

    For the purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will. – Henri Frederic Amiel

    It often happens that two schoolboys can solve difficulties in their work for one another better than their master can. When you took the problem to a master, as we all remember, he was very likely to tell you what you understood already, to add a great deal of information which you didn’t want and say nothing at all about the thing that was puzzling you. – C. S. Lewis

    Without ambition, no conquests are made, no lands discovered, no business created. Ambition is the root of all achievement. – James Champy

    In the age of revolution you have to be able to imagine revolutionary alternatives to the status quo. If you can’t, you’ll be relegated to the swollen ranks of keyboard pounding automatons. – Gary Hamel

    He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator. – Francis Bacon

    Just because something has always been done in a certain way is never a sufficient reason for continuing to do it that way. – Clarence Birdseye (Frozen food entrepeneur)

    We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys. – Eric Hoffer

    If two people always agree, one of them is unnecessary. – Henry Ford

    If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play. – John Cleese

    As long as it is not out of proportion to a situation, anxiety is actually good for you, because there is a close relation between anxiety and creativity, originality and intelligence. – Rollo May

    In order to solve pertinent problems, there is no other way but to seek and implement new forms of relationship and interaction. Only the creative interaction of divergent groups … will allow for the answers we all seek to emerge. – Mikhail Gorbachev

    You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London

    One of the greatest pains for human nature is the pain of a new idea. – Walter Bagehot

    If you can do something with your eyes closed, it’s time to find something new. – Kathie Lee Gifford

    Nothing is ever as dangerous as having THE Answer.

    The only way you can live a truly creative life or know the highest happiness is by developing your own unique potential. – Norman Vincent Peale

    The magnificence of the individual thinker lies in the refusal to be restricted by the known universe.

    Creative clutter is better than tidy idleness.

    If everyone thought the same way, no one would be thinking. – John Diefenbaker

    We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys. – Eric Hoffer

    To achieve the marvelous, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought. – Tom Robbins

    Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training. – Anna Freud

    Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. – Emile Charter

    The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Those of us who keep our eyes open can read volumes into what we see going on around us. – E. T. Hall

    It is much more fun to work in a creative, committed environment. The people who shared their ideas with me were excited, ensusiastic, and committed to their organizations with a loyalty, a pride, and a zest that were contagious. – Barbara Glanz

    We are going to need organizations that are culturally equipped to adapt. They must have internal processes that are creative, generative, and productive rather than controlled, confining, and normative. In short, we must UNSHACKLE THE HUMAN BRAIN and exploit its productive potential.- Karl Albrecht

    Confound these ancestors…. They’ve stolen our best ideas! – Ben Jonson

    Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels. – Goya

    College isn’t the place to go for ideas. – Hellen Keller

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes up to the top. – Virginia Woolf

    In the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, from the prison of past conditioning. Uncertainty is the fertile ground of creativity and freedom. – Deepak Chopra

    When Gordon McKensie visits schools demonstrating his metal sculptures, he asks: How many artists are there in the room? He reports that first graders will all enthusiastically raise their hands. However, only about half of the second graders raise their hands and by sixth grade only one or two. The message: because of peer intimidation, the gift of possibility is removed suppressing true talent.

    If I could only live at the pitch that is near madness when everything is as it was in my childhood – violent, vivid, and of infinite possibility. – Richard Eberhart

    You have to recognize that every ‘out front’ maneuver you make is going to be lonely, but if you feel entirely comfortable, then you’re not far enough ahead to do any good. That warm sense of everything going well is usually the body temperature at the center of the herd. – John Masters

    Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – R. Zaphiropoulos

    The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein

    New opinions are always suspected and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. – John Locke

    Those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people. – Napoleon Bonaparte

    If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle

    We live at a time when man believes himself fabulously capable of creation, but does not know what to create. Lord of all things, he is not lord of himself. – Jose Ortega y Gasset , The Revolt of the Masses

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. – Albert Einstein , On Science

    Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart. – Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

    It is easier to behave your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of behaving.

    The achievement of excellence can only occur if the organization promotes a culture of creative dissatisfaction. – Lawrence Miller

    Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier. – Charles F. Kettering

    Turning FAILURE into SUCCESS:
    Ivory Soap wasn’t meant to float, but a manufacturing error became its top selling point. Kleenex failed as a cold cream remover. Repackaged as a disposable handkerchief, its success remains nothing to sneeze at.

    When the ‘weaker’ of the two brains (right and left) is stimulated and encouraged to work in cooperation with the stronger side, the end result is a great increase in overall ability and … often five to ten times more effectiveness. – Professor Robert Ornstein, University of California

    Observe what is with undivided awareness. – Bruce Lee

    The Wright brothers first flight was not reported in a single newspaper because every rookie reporter knew what could and couldn’t be done. – Edward R. Murrow

    15 ways to stimulate CREATIVITY:
    1. Associate with diverse individuals
    2. Spend time with children under the age of 6
    3. Eat and drink different foods and beverages
    4. Try a new hobby
    5. Fly a kite
    6. Exercise stimulate endorphins)
    7. Relax (blow bubbles, review momentos from last vacation)
    8. Meditate (beta state of brain)
    9. Go to a cultural celebration
    10. Visit a museum
    11. Walk in the woods
    12. Visit a foreign country or watch a foreign film
    13. Practice saying yea and why not to something new
    14. Listen to music or an opera
    15. Encourage creativity in yourself and others

    Six creativity killers:
    1. There is only one right answer
    2. Always follow the rules
    3. Don’t rock the boat
    4. Don’t make a mistake
    5. Be practical
    6. Become highly specialized

    When I eat a tomato I look at it the way anyone else would. But when I paint a tomato, then I see it differently. – Matisse in Gertrude Stein, Picasso

    Excellence can be attained if you:
    – Care more than others think is wise
    – Risk more than others think is safe
    – Dream more than others think is practical
    – Expect more than others think is possible

    When you are completely absorbed or caught up in something, you become oblivious to things around you, or to the passage of time. It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imagination. – Dr. Rollo May

    Unfortunately, most of us learned to “act our age” as we grew up. This meant abandoning some of the most natural and powerful high-energy stimulants available to us. Learn to let the child within you live. Fifteen childhood characteristics that encourage creativity and innovation and that frequently get lost in adults:
    1. Seek out things that are fun to do
    2. Jump from one interest to another
    3. Curious, eager to try new things
    4. Smile and laugh a lot
    5. Experience and express emotions freely
    6. Creative and innovative
    7. Physically active
    8. Constantly growing mentally and physically
    9. Risk often – are not afraid to keep trying something that they aren’t initially good at and aren’t afraid to fail
    10. Rest when their body tells them to
    11. Learn enthusiastically
    12. Dream and imagine
    13. Believe in the impossible
    14. Generally don’t worry about things
    15. Passionate
    – Ann McGee-Cooper – “You Don’t Have to Go Home from Work Exhausted!”

    A person might be able to play without being creative, but he sure can’t be creative without playing. – Kurt Hanks and Jay Parry

    The achievement of excellence can occur only if the organization promotes a culture of creative dissatisfaction. – Lawrence Miller

    Innovation – any new idea – by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires “courageous patience.” – Warren Bennis

    Ideas are like apples; to get them you have to shake the tree.

    You’ll keep gettin’ what you been gettin’ as long as you keep doin’ what you been doin’.

    It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date.

    Those who say something can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it.

    If you want to be part of the solution, get involved. If you don’t, don’t complain.

    Where all think alike, no one thinks very much. – Walter Lippmann

    The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away. – Linus Pauling

    Success is on the far side of failure. – Thomas Watson Sr. (IBM executive)

    Replace ‘either/or’ thinking with ‘plus’ thinking. – Craig Hickman

    If you are speaking from experience, you are already out of date. – Dennis Waitley

    You don’t understand anything unless you understand there are at least three ways. – M. Minsky

    When written in Chinese, the word CRISIS is composed of two characters- one represents DANGER and the other represents OPPORTUNITY.

    The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions. – Anthony Jay

    He who never walks except where he sees other men’s tracks will make no discoveries.

    Organization is the enemy of improvisation.

    He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.

    The word question is derived from the Latin quaerere (to seek) which is the same root as the word for quest. A creative life is a continued quest, and good questions can be very useful guides. Most useful are open-ended questions; they allow for fresh unanticipated answers to reveal themselves.

    Creativity killers:
    – Surveillance
    – Evaluation
    – Rewards (if overused, deprive intrinsic pleasure of creative activity)
    – Competition (win-lose situations)
    – Over-control
    – Restricting choices
    – Pressure

    Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game. – Goethe

    It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out-of-date. – Roger von Oech

    Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

    Breakdowns can create breakthroughs. Things fall apart so things can fall together.

    Contentment: The smother of invention.

    To have a great idea, have a lot of them. – Thomas A. Edison

    That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time. – John Stuart Mill

    Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried. – Frank Tyger

    Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction. – Picasso

    Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity – Chuck Jones, Warner Bros animator

    One measure of how creative you are is how you respond to changes in your circumstances and environment. How flexible are you? Consider how water adapts to its environment: evaporation, condensation, snowflake, melting, flowing, goes around rocks, fills containers, etc.

    An inventor is simply a person who doesn’t take his education too seriously. You see, from the time a person is six years old until he graduates form college he has to take three or four examinations a year. If he flunks once, he is out. But an inventor is almost always failing. He tries and fails maybe a thousand times. It he succeeds once then he’s in. These two things are diametrically opposite. We often say that the biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work. – Charles Kettering

    Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport. – Robert Wieder

    He who would be a man must therefore be a non-conformist. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    The creative process involves getting input, making a recommendation, getting critical review, getting more input, improving the recommendation, getting more critical review … again & again & again.

    If you do not the expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail. – Heraclitus

    SYMBIOSIS: Beneficial relationships can develop between very dissimilar things. Example: Lichen (pronounced “liken”) is actually a symbiotic community made up of fungus and algae which, in many environments, could not exist by themselves, but together are able to flourish. Very often, the blending of different (sometimes even opposing) ideas can result in very creative solutions. There is strength in diversity.

    The creative person is usually rebellious. He or she is the survivor of a trauma called education.

    Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not? – Robert Kennedy

    A good explorer knows that looking for ideas is like prospecting for gold. If you look in the same old places, you’ll find tapped-out veins. But if you’re curious and poke around in new areas, you’ll improve your chances of discovering new idea lodes. Venture off the beaten path.

    In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. – Roger von Oech

    CREATIVITY is thinking up new things. INNOVATION is doing new things. – Theodore Levitt

    INNOVATION is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form. – Watts Humprey

    The INNOVATION point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams. – W. Arthur Porter

    “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – (Charles H. Duell, Director of US Patent Office 1899)
    “Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.” – (Grover Cleveland, 1905)
    “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – (Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros Pictures, 1927)
    “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” – (Robert Miliham, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923)
    “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” – (Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895)
    “Ruth made a big mistake when he gave up pitching.” – (Tris Speaker, 1921)
    “The horse is here today, but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” – (President of Michigan Savings Bank advising against investing in the Ford Motor Company)
    “Video won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” – (Daryl F. Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, commenting on television in 1946)
    “What use could the company make of an electric toy?” – (Western Union, when it turned down rights to the telephone in 1878)

    INNOVATION is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced. Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation, the changes and their symptoms that indicate opportunities for successful innovation. And they need to know and to apply the principles of successful innovation.- Peter Drucker

    The Japanese are thought by many as not being true innovators. However, innovation that EXPLOITS change (which the Japanese do) is not as visible as innovation that attempts to CAUSE change (which is the hard way to go). The Japanese have a saying: “The nail that sticks up tends to get hit down.”

    As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shaped, so are all innovations, which are the births of time. Surely every medicine is an innovation and he that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator. – Francis Bacon

    The industrial landscape is already littered with remains of once successful companies that could not adapt their strategic vision to altered conditions of competition.
    – Abernathy, Clark & Kantrow

    The Model “T” – Why “T”? Because Ford had gone through A-S before being successful in producing and marketing the “T”.

    I roamed the countryside searching for the answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plant and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it and why immediately on its creation the lightening becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life.
    – Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Man

    Slaying sacred cows makes great steaks. – Dick Nicolose

    It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date. – Roger von Oech

    We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don’t waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the “closed” mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the “open” mode – to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent. – John Cleese

    Framework of reference: A woman conducting a survey into sexual behavior was questioning an airline pilot. She asked him, finally, when he had last made love. He replied, “1956.” She was most surprised, pilots being what they are. “Nineteen fifty-six?” she asked. “Well it’s only 2216 now,” he replied, looking at his watch. A joke involves a sudden switch from one framework of reference to another. This sudden switch of frames of reference is the kind of lateral thinking that can often generate creative ideas.

    Man gets a flat tire by mental institution. Takes off old tire. Accidentally drops lug nuts down drain. What to do now? “Nut” sitting on fence inquires what the problem is. Suggests taking one nut from each of the other three wheels! The guy may be crazy but he wasn’t stupid.

    A white man was unsuccessful in trying to catch monkeys. A native took a narrow mouth pot and placed cookie at bottom. Monkey reached in grabbed cookie, but couldn’t remove hand. Was stuck – didn’t think of letting go! We don’t want to get trapped into fixed methods of doing things to the point where we can’t see any other way. Babies tend to do the same thing (grasping reflex) “lock-on” to finger, can’t let go.

    ORIGINALITY is unexplored territory. You get there by carrying a canoe- you can’t take a taxi. – Alan Alda

    Barbarians keep a culture lively, citizens keep it orderly. With too many barbarians, the culture moves toward anarchy. With too many citizens, the culture becomes ingrown and tends to stagnate. We need both. What’s really fascinating about this concept is the cultural impact of citizens who used to be barbarians.

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