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Creativity Quotes

  • "What made Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein such creative geniuses? It wasn’t reading books or watching YouTube talks about How To Be More Creative, that’s for sure … If startling insights could be systematically arrived at, they wouldn’t be startling. The best you can do is to create a conducive environment: put in the hours; take time to daydream; avoid mind-corroding substances."
    Oliver Burkeman (1975–), British journalist and author
    Source: Guardian (London) (January 11, 2013)
  • "There is a stigma attached to boredom—parents are always worried about their kids being bored—but it gives your mind a chance to wander. Our work shows that daydreaming could be potentially beneficial in the workplace, as it allows lateral thinking that could assist with problem solving … Boredom at work has always been seen as something to be eliminated, but perhaps we should be embracing it in order to enhance our creativity."
    Sandi Mann, British occupational psychologist
    Source: Quoted in the Daily Mail (London) (January 9, 2013)
  • "I think “creativity” is better described as failing repeatedly until you get something right."
    Seth Godin (1960–), US entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker
    Source: Interviewed on The Great Discontent blog (August 14, 2012)
  • "There are clear benefits to boredom … it can be a very productive emotion. Put simply, people who are bored and dissatisfied with accepted ways of doing things are liable to come up with new ways of doing them. Creativity is the antidote to boredom … Essentially, boredom leads to some form of change."
    Peter Toohey, US academic and author
    Source: Quoted in the Independent (London) (August 25, 2011)
  • "Experts say our brains need boredom so we can process thoughts and be creative. I think they're right. I've noticed that my best ideas always bubble up when the outside world fails in its primary job of frightening, wounding, or entertaining me."
    Scott Adams (1957–), US cartoonist and humorist
    Source: Wall Street Journal (August 6, 2011)
  • "Designers must be both conscious and unconscious at the same time. Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle talent."
    Karl Lagerfeld (1933–), German fashion designer
    Source: Twitter (Karl_Lagerfeld) (June 17, 2010)
  • "Creativity does not require invention. At its best, creativity is an effort to reveal the truth, no matter how elusive or complex it may seem. It’s 12 Angry Men, not Athena emerging from Zeus’s head."
    Mandy Brown, US writer, designer, and blogger
    Source: A Working Library blog (June 18, 2008)
  • "The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Quoted in Don’t Get Taken—Take Control (Tom Sabella, 2006)
  • "I think the enemy of creativity in the world today is that so much thinking is done for you."
    J. G. Ballard (19302010), British novelist
    Source: Quoted in the Observer (London) (2002)
  • "All the great work comes from people’s obsession and imagination, not from focus groups."
    Michael, Lord Grade (1943–), British television executive
    Source: Marketing (June 2000)
  • "The wild, the absurd, the seemingly crazy: this kind of thinking is where new ideas come from … The people capable of such playful thought carry forward their childish qualities and childhood dreams, applying them in areas where most of us get stuck, victims of our adult seriousness. Staying a child isn’t easy."
    Nicholas Negroponte (1943–), US academic, cofounder of the MIT Media Lab, and founder of the One Laptop Per Child organization
    Source: “Toys of Tomorrow,” Wired (March 6, 1998)
  • "The majority of creative acts are unplanned, and each begins with awareness of an unexpected opportunity."
    Alan G. Robinson (1958–), US author
    Source: Corporate Creativity (cowritten with Sam Stern, 1997)
  • "When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something … That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things."
    Steve Jobs (19552011), US cofounder, chairman, and CEO of both Apple and Pixar
    Source: Interview, “The Next Insanely Great Thing,” Wired (February 1996)
  • "Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
    Scott Adams (1957–), US cartoonist and humorist
    Source: The Dilbert Principle (1996)
  • "Planning, by its very nature, defines and preserves categories. Creativity, by its very nature, creates categories or re-arranges established ones."
    Henry Mintzberg (1939–), Canadian academic and management theorist
    Source: The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning (1994)
  • "In the middle of a hard project, I remind people to do something else. Sometimes people need to work on something completely different to get their best ideas."
    Brad Fregger (1940–), US entrepreneur, publisher, and author
    Source: “On Achieving Excellence” (July 1991)
  • "Tap the energy of the anarchist and he will be the one to push your company ahead."
    Dame Anita Roddick (19422007), British entrepreneur and founder of The Body Shop
    Source: Body and Soul (cowritten with Russell Miller, 1991)
  • "Music is spiritual. The music business is not."
    Van Morrison (1945–), Irish musician
    Source: The Times (London) (July 1990)
  • "Could Henry Ford produce the Book of Kells? Certainly not. He would quarrel initially with the advisability of such a project and then prove it was impossible."
    Flann O’Brien (19111966), Irish writer
    Source: Myles Away from Dublin (1990)
  • "We created an environment in which a man was expected to sit and think for two years."
    Edwin Land (19091991), US inventor and founder of Polaroid Corporation
    Source: Selected Papers in Industry (Polaroid Corporation, 1983)
  • "If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Ogilvy on Advertising (1983)
  • "Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little over a century ago?"
    Bernice Fitz-Gibbon (1895?1982), US advertising executive
    Source: Quoted in obituary, New York Times (1982)
  • "Creativity is thinking new things. Innovation is doing new things."
    Theodore Levitt (19252006), US management theorist, writer, and editor
    Source: “Ideas Are Useless Unless Used,” Inc. (February 1981)
  • "Creative people tend to pass the responsibility for getting down to brass tacks to others."
    Theodore Levitt (19252006), US management theorist, writer, and editor
    Source: “Ideas Are Useless Unless Used,” Inc. (February 1981)
  • "Every creative act is a sudden cessation of stupidity."
    Edwin Land (19091991), US inventor and founder of Polaroid Corporation
    Source: Forbes (June 1975)
  • "An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he—for some reason—thinks it would be a good idea to give them."
    Andy Warhol (19281987), US artist and producer
    Source: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again) (1975)
  • "Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties."
    Gail Sheehy (1937–), US journalist and author
    Source: Speed Is of the Essence (1971)
  • "The majority of businessmen are incapable of original thought because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Quoted in The Creative Organisation (Gary A. Steiner, ed, 1965)
  • "True creativity often starts where language ends."
    Arthur Koestler (19051983), British writer and journalist
    Source: The Act of Creation (1964)
  • "Originality is deliberate and forced, and partakes of the nature of a protest."
    Eric Hoffer (19021983), US philosopher
    Source: The Passionate State of Mind (1955)
  • "Many people are inventive, sometimes cleverly so. But real creativity begins with the drive to work on and on and on."
    Margueritte Bro (18941977), US writer
    Source: Sarah (1949)
  • "Controlled accident."
    Jackson Pollock (19121956), US painter
    Referring to his painting technique.
    Source: Interview (1946)
  • "One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
    André Gide (18691951), French novelist and essayist
    Source: The Counterfeiters (1926)
  • "Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."
    Sir James Dewar (18421923), British physicist
    Source: Attributed

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