How Do We Identifiy Good Ideas?
I’ve always been fascinated by the failures of genius. Consider Bob Dylan. How did the same songwriter who produced Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde also conclude that Down in the Groove was worthy of release? Or what about Steve Jobs: What did he possibly see in the hockey puck mouse? How could Bono not realize that Spiderman was a disaster? And why have so many of my favorite novelists produced so many middling works? The inconsistency of genius is a consistent theme of creativity: Even those blessed with ridiculous talent still produce works of startling mediocrity. Nietzsche stressed this point. Artists have a vested interest in our believing in the flash of revelation, the so-called inspiration … shining down from heavens as a ray of grace. Notice the emphasis on rejection. A new study led by Simone Ritter of the Radboud University in the Netherlands sheds some light on this mystery. Here’s where things get interesting. But waiting isn’t the only approach. P.S.
• On Creativity