Just hours after posting Creativity Without Creating, I came across “The Tinkerers”: How corporations kill creativity” at Salon.com.
It’s an excerpt from Alec Foege’s latest book, “The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors who Make America Great.”
Foege sees tinkering, which to some suggests “individuals who are somehow aimless, lacking focus or not sufficiently motivated to create something new,” as the source of American innovation and “a key part of its ongoing greatness.”
He uses Steve Jobs’ and Steve Wozniak’s early tinkering with devices that could enable free long-distance phone calls—a mindset and skill that eventually led to Apple Computer—as an example of tinkering’s enormous value.
This tinkering spirit is contrasted that with a corporate culture that “has grown more rigid as it has grown larger.” “It remains extremely difficult for the freethinking alchemists of today to perform their peculiar strain of magic.”
In Creativity without Creating, I argue that corporate America places the concept of creativity above the of the actual practice of it. Creativity is increasingly viewed as an abstraction that can be tested and measured, whereas the activity of creating is shunted aside as mere “execution,” or something that is simply too slow, inefficient and messy to be integrated into the streamlined and sanitized corporate vision.
It was a stroke of good luck that as I opened Salon.com this morning, I came across a fellow traveler who also sees the tremendous personal, social and economic benefits of getting one’s hands dirty.
You can read the full article here.