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8.8. Invention 'So What?'


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 8. The Motivating Fire > 8.8. Invention 'So What?'

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Again, we ask ‘so what’. How does looking at motivation factors help us to invent space rockets? The bottom line answer to this question is that once we recognise what is happening, we can act to direct those things that drive our thinking towards solving our problems and away from how they often work, which is to block and divert our creative thinking. Some specific points include:

  • Don’t fight evolution: use it. Do lots of experiments. Vary random things to see what happens. Most great inventions were unplanned accidents, so have some of your own.
  • Create challenging environments which both stimulate and nurture ideas. Give space for uncertain ideas to develop, but at some stage, the fittest idea must survive.
  • Your ideas are your children. Identify with and respect them. Also control them and expect things of them. Create tensions that draw them out.
  • Suspend your need for certainty, consistency and control. Consider diametrically opposed ideas simultaneously. Build half-completed ideas. Revel in the creative tension.
  • Gain a deep understanding of how things work, but never assume you fully understand anything.
  • If you feel the fight-or-flight response, getting scared or annoyed, stop. Go for a walk, shout at the trees and sky. Do not take it out on your invention or yourself. The answer will come.
  • If you are inventing with other people, watch yourself and them carefully. Are you truly synergising, or are you blocking one another, wanting to look good or fearing rejection? If you must work with others, make a pact to suspend such normal human behaviours.
  • Challenge yourself constantly. Create a string of satisfying achievements stretching out into your future. Build internal goals that impel you in the direction to where you really want to go.
  • Use planned boredom to stimulate yourself to do something different. Be curiouser and curiouser.
  • Invent both in functional and aesthetic domains. Make things that help people do things better and just feel better about themselves.
  • Give yourself permission to act as a child. Remember what is like to be fascinated and astonished by the wonders of the world, now and every day for the rest of your life.
  • Find out what makes you tick, and what makes your clock go wrong. Leverage the ticks and get the emotional baggage that trails behind you fixed, once and for all.
  • Build yourself powerful internal goals that stimulate the brain’s urge-desire-action system.

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