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Do you consider yourself to be a creative person

  1. Aug 28, 2010 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Do you consider yourself to be a creative person - meaning more creative than the average bear? How so? What role does this play in your life? Do you consider your creativity to be an advantage, a disadvantage, inconsequential, or a net zero?

    My strong suit is solving industrial design and process problems. I seem to have a knack for recognizing the elegant solution. This [and a lot of bread and butter programming] is how I make a living. But for me, this comes with a price. As near as I can tell, I've been stuck in this mode for over 30 years: Everything is a problem to be solved. Every problem is an opportunity. Every solution has a better solution. When I see something that could be significantly improved, it often drives me nuts if I can't do anything about it; esp when it comes to critical environmental or energy issues.

    I really notice this when I get out of my domain and visit with normal people. :biggrin:

    Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, but I wouldn't give it up for all the tea in China.

    Luckily, I recognized this early in life and married a very solitary and understanding woman. I can certainly drive Tsu nuts, but most women would have killed me by now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
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  3. Aug 28, 2010 #2

    Astronuc

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    Re: Creativity

    I guess the nature of my work, primarily problem solving, simulation of physical processes, and predictive analysis, requires creativity.

    I do like the challenge of creating something that hasn't been done before.
     
  4. Aug 28, 2010 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Creativity

    No doubt! My favorite words from a customer are: We would like to do X, but it can't be done.

    Oh reeeeaaaallly? I established my career on those words.

    In the old days, I only charged for my time if I could solve the problem. It was a no-risk proposition for the customer that gained a foot in the door. Luckily, I've been around long enough now that this is no longer necessary.

    To me, one of the funnest things in life is the combination of an unsolved real-world problem, and a blank sheet of paper. But I must admit that I really got my butt kicked by the algae problem - two years of work [not full time] down the tubes. That's a very tough and expensive challenge that was just too big. Exxon got it right when they put 600 million into this. But at least I was there first!
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  5. Aug 28, 2010 #4
    Re: Creativity

    Ivan this is an interesting thread.

    I think for most of us who have become hired guns the challenge becomes trying to motivate ourselves and chalenge ourselves with each project.

    There is a point in your career when you hit a career wall. Traditional employers can no longer offer an incentive with either challenging problems nor a path to enhance yourself through learning opportunities.

    I think it is this point where we either choose to settle and accept your fate as a drone, and look outside of your daily career, or you choose to make the career your own challenge through consulting or whatever.
     
  6. Aug 28, 2010 #5
    Re: Creativity

    I am only creative in the sense that I create a lot. Of valuable software in my case. The word creative more often is used in the sense of imaginative, original, and/or inspired. I am none of these things. I have made a successful career on the slow accumulation of a large toolbox of techniques and a dogged, plodding approach to problem solving. A sort of Edison among the Teslas, but without the unfettered genius.
     
  7. Aug 28, 2010 #6

    turbo

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    Re: Creativity

    I made a good living troubleshooting industrial processes in the pulp and paper field, until my medical problems with fragrance chemicals made it impossible for me to continue flying. When a paper machine is "haying out" (constantly sheet-breaking and/or producing unsalable crap) it is just not practical for somebody in GA to call me in ME and lose tens of thousands of dollars per hour until I can drive down and diagnose the problem. Most of my clients were in GA, AL, MS, KY, FL, MD etc. Older mills in which valuable skilled employees were retiring and/or dieing off. I could usually hop a plane and be on-site within the day, often diagnosing the problem(s) and flying back the next day. Paper companies will pay good troubleshooters quite well. So well that I regularly had employment offers coming my way, so they could have me on-staff and forego my on-site fees and travel expenses. No thanks! I liked the money and the problem-solving part of the job (travelling sucked!). Plus, after having spent weeks in the deep south in summer-time during longer projects, there is NO way I would live there.

    I really miss that business, but I needed to be able to fly in order to keep my calendar filled to pay the bills. There just isn't enough specialized industrial trouble-shooting work or system-documentation work within driving distance to keep me busy.
     
  8. Aug 28, 2010 #7

    drizzle

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    Re: Creativity

    I can defiantly tell that Tsu is a patient woman. :biggrin:

    I don’t think I’m a creative person at all, I choose the easiest way possible to get things done, though I eager to explore!
     
  9. Aug 28, 2010 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Creativity

    I'm not so sure that there is really any difference between creativity, and a plodding, dogged approach [with an ever-growing toolbox], other than the creative process is less structured, and mostly mental.

    Integral attended I think several days of lectures about a structured technique that, in a sense, mimics creativity. I saw a similar program described at a customer site. These techniques apparently attempt to force one to use a structured approach, so that the entire range of possible solutions are considered when addressing a problem. One key concept is that one has to include all options, whether they seemingly make sense, or not. It is a formal method for thinking outside of the box, called Triz.

    http://www.triz-journal.com/whatistriz_orig.htm [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Aug 28, 2010 #9
    Re: Creativity

    You just described me to a "T!"

    Well, now, this is the other side of me, as I'm both a writer and a photographer. In fact, I generate ideas for Hollywood script writers. I'd paint, but I can't ever get the brush to go where it's suppose to go!

    But I also use the other side of my brain to review scripts for technical/scientific errors and plausibility.

    You are indeed blessed. :)

    Having lived with my feet in both worlds, I'd have to say they're simply different worlds. There is certainly some interplay between then, but it's complementary, and not merely overlap. In the meantime, I've known some creative people who couldn't tie their shoelaces, as well as some very bright scientific people who're nevertheless forever stuck thinking inside the box.

    I think most people, however, have more of one, but at least some of the other.
     
  11. Aug 28, 2010 #10
    Re: Creativity

    I think many of us here are "creativity junkies". Maybe, in a sense, we are similar to those adrenaline addicts who parachute out of airplanes, drive motorcycles at 200 miles per hour or surf huge curling waves in a hurricane. Instead of risking our lives, we risk our relationships as we dive headlong into the task of generating a product of the mind. Whether it is an elegant solution generated for a need, or a painting realized from an internal vision, or even a poem written to climb from the depths of a self-created hell, the product is not what drives us. What drives us is the process, and the joy we get from living in that other universe: that place where everything is possible, but from which we can only exit with a product that is compatible with the world we are forced to return into.

    And, thank God for those few special people who do tolerate us, or we might not return at all.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2010 #11
    Re: Creativity

    I'm not creative at all, which is disapointing since I think creativity is one of the most powerful attributes someone can have.

    I try to make up for it and keep myself motivated with hard work and luck. I try to force myself to think of random ideas that just might work. If I come to a dead end, I just try something... anything.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2010 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Creativity

    You have one of my dream jobs. I would LOVE to write for hollywood...if I could write. :biggrin:

    Okay, I'll play cheesy idea man and throw one at you that occured to me yesterday when I saw this video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdaMBB62vrg

    Do I need to say it? Be warned, I said cheesy! This is not a good sci-fi idea, but an unavoidable one - in the spirit of disaster movies.

    In the spirit of Snakes on a Plane, Atomic Twister, and The Day After Tomorrow, I give you: Tornadoes of Fire, or Twisting Inferno, or Fire Twisters [you get the idea]. Maybe you could use a Yellowstone mega-eruption as the source of the mega-fire-twister that burns its way to New York. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  14. Aug 30, 2010 #13
    Re: Creativity

    I wish I wrote for Hollywood, too! I just do ideas. I'd love to get into dialogue. Some day soon, I hope. In the meantime, I simply either generate ideas or review scripts for crap (I'm fairly good at spotting crap... he-heh). But I have to come up with something plausible to replace it, hence the "good ideas" angle.
    You forgot The Core, Lol! (cough, cough...)

    Lol, a few of them were enjoyable movies! Wouldn't it be cool to dive to the Earth's core in a machine made of unobtainium? Forget the fact they violated about 50 laws of physics. It's still a "cool" movie. :)
     
  15. Aug 30, 2010 #14

    turbo

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    Re: Creativity

    When I was writing accounting/financial/inventory-control applications, most desktops were 286s and you usually only saw 386s as servers on small networks. In those days, creativity was required to keep the code lean enough to run on wimpy machines with very little memory. Luckily, Fox eventually came out with a nice compiler that would smash dBase code to very small files, so I could carry entire point-of-sale and accounting packages around on floppies. I used to tag-team with a few other programmers, so we could count of having someone to maintain our code in areas far from our home-bases. There was a pretty lady on the coast that was especially good a coming up with handy little "engines" that we could plug into programs under development or existing ones, so I took her lead and developed toolboxes of handy modules that we could share. One programmer was deathly slow in the development phase and he refused to properly comment the source code, so we edged him out. He had charged one of his customers for over a month of full-time development for a point-of-sale program in a very complex situation, and when he handed me the project I looked at his work and threw it out. I visited the site, interviewed the owner, his counter-man, and his bookkeeper, and had a complete point-of-sale system developed and installed in a week. The owner was thrilled.

    All it took was getting to know what they wanted (all 3 of them) and implementing it. The program tracked retail, wholesale, and in-house sales from inventory (the company sold internally to its own repair shop) by client, and flowed the receivables to the accounting program, which I also developed. The bookkeeper told me that the accountant would want the ability to flip between first-in-first-out costing to first-in-last-out costing for the warehouse, so I included that and a couple of bells and whistles that nobody had asked for. The owner had another manufacturing/repair facility in Canada, and later that week he had someone install my programs on the HD of a brand-new PC and take it into Canada, to avoid paying VAT on my programming.

    It's not as creative as composing music (I have some trouble with that at times) but still you have to be willing to consider "what-ifs" and dance a bit to see if it can go somewhere.
     
  16. Aug 30, 2010 #15
    Re: Creativity

    I've written garbagety poetry before. So, I'd say that I'm creative, but uninspired and lame at the same time.
     
  17. Aug 30, 2010 #16
    Re: Creativity

    Perfectionism can sometimes lead to psychological disorder where you cannot function efficiently.
     
  18. Aug 30, 2010 #17

    turbo

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    Re: Creativity

    If you are a programmer, such a trait can lead to success.
     
  19. Sep 5, 2010 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Creativity

    Last night I started to watch a documentary about creativity in the manufacturing environment, called Objectified. I wasn't able to watch the entire show [honey-do list, :biggrin:], but what I saw looked pretty interesting; surely enough to merit a full viewing. It is available for instant viewing, at Netflix.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9E2D2PaIcI
     
  20. Sep 5, 2010 #19
    Re: Creativity

    The field that I work in is very creative : Construction as an electrician.

    A job site can often start with a dirt field ; then eventually a high rise building, or an industrial plant or any other number of projects.
    This is sheer creativity. There was nothing there and now .. a brand new shiny building.

    On paper (from an engineer's desk) the work might seem very wrote ; in the actual field unforseen problems and make-shift solutions happen daily. Most build sites are an evolving process with constant challenges and not simply "assemble from these prints using known methods." In an ideal world it would be like that but it never is.

    At every level of work even down to very simple tasks like bending conduit or finding a route for it requires problem solving every minute of the day. While I am solving one problem I am contemplating the next one or several next ones. It's truly design on the fly.
    There truly is no standard construction site ; there are unique challenges in every project.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  21. Sep 6, 2010 #20

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Creativity

    Creativity avenues:

    problem solving in every day life, to reduce costs and work load.
    problem solving in research (and visualizing data)
    writing/playing music

    I guess these are pretty much the advantages.

    Consequences:

    Finding meaning in random, meaningless events (leads to paranoia, illusions of grandeur, etc.)

    Total Sum Result:

    slightly profiting
     
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