I don’t know where to start with the creative process, it’s overwhelming

Thin Airing


The Context

According to a report from a sustainable energy journal, engineers have recently invented a powerful technology that absorbs moisture from the air and returns it as clean, usable water. This super sponge, as they are calling it, could be used in disaster situations, poverty stricken areas and developing countries. One scientist explained that all you need to do is leave the hydrogel outside and it will collect water. That liquid remains stored in the hydrogel until you expose it to sunlight. And after about five minutes under natural exposure, the water releases. Talk about creating value out of thin air. Breathing life into nothingness is not just philosophy, it’s practicality. And understandably, harvesting moisture from the atmosphere isn't a new concept. But it’s an inspiring reminder of how valuable it can be to the world to create something out of nothing.

The Tool

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Thin Airing

THIN AIRING — Using emotional ingenuity to drive innovation seemingly out of nowhere

Do you have a penchant for digging within yourself, as well as the environment around you, to make things better? There's actually phrase for this process. Religious scholars use the term, creatio ex nihilo, which means the fashioning of life out of nothing. It’s historically used in reference to the almighty god, who created the world not from preexistent but eternal matter. But even if you don’t believe in that kind of thing, all divine incarnation aside, ingenuity is still a very human skill. It’s our genetic inheritance. It’s rare to see people execute on it consistently, but each of us can learn how to strengthen our muscle of ingenuity.

Scott's Take

Scott's Take

One practice that’s been helpful for me is to tap into the leverage power of emotional tension. That’s often the most fertile ground for opportunity. As we say in every episode of my product development and innovation gameshow, every great innovation in history starts with some kind of problem. Some universal human struggle or pain point that the entrepreneur seeks to solve. Behind every moment of unhappiness, inconvenience and confusion, there is a new innovation waiting to be born. And so, if you are tasked with creating something out of nothing, get in the habit of asking yourself some emotional reflection questions. Whom do you badly want to call bullshit on? What is happening that offends your sense of moral order? Where are you experiencing surprise, delight, awe or violated expectation? What are you seeing that isn’t okay with you? It’s a powerful starting point. Mining that source of emotional tension can lead to powerful innovation. For example, have you ever wished you could just have access to one part of your lover's body without the necessity of the entire package? It’s something I think about when I’m on the road without my wife. I just wish she could be there with me, so my idea was to launch a silicone casting service that makes molds of your spouse's body parts that you can fondle when they're not around. After all, marriage doesn't mean loving all of them, all the time. Now you can just get the piece you want. We even found the perfect name. Empathighs, for when you want one ham in your pocket. It’s a brilliant invention that could potentially sell millions of units. And the whole invention was mined out of thin air, through my own feelings of loneliness.

The Rest

Remember, anyone can conduct interesting projects with an unlimited amount of equipment. But if you can bring things into being that were not there before, you will always have a place in this world. When was the last time you harvested moisture out of thin air?

The Benefits

Find the vein of inspiration consistently
Learn from your experiences faster
Define events in a way that you actually grow from them
Transform small moments and situations into breakthroughs in thinking and action

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