Steve Jobs on joining the dots…

Now I’m not a super techie but I must admit, when Steve Jobs passed away I was devastated. Maybe I’d read too many Silicon Valley articles, books and biographies. Over the years I’d churned through the lives of Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen, Bill Gates and the rest of the tech revolutionaries. I’d poured over business articles on the business innovation and cultural articles on the social influence of Jobs’ breakthroughs. The guy was a genius. Forget Apple [although clearly Apple is where it is today due to the unfailing vision of Jobs], but NeXT technology and of course, Pixar. As Apple and indeed the rest of the technology world start to imagine a world without Jobs, I thought it might be a timely moment to reflect on one of his more well known quotes on creativity. I love the idea that creativity is not some abstract thinking that only creative people do. Some heightened genius that just pops into the heads of those “creative types”. The more we look around, the more engaged we are, the more we think, the more we imagine and hypothesise and try new thinking on for size, the more we join dots in different ways. Hell the more dots we see. We know Apple wasn’t perfect, we know Jobs’ management style wasn’t always popular but one thing’s for certain, the guy certainly thought differently. I wonder whether we’ll ever see another man of Jobs’ creative and intellectual magnitude in our lifetime..

Creativity is just connecting things. 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. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. “Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” – Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1995