The only value is creativity

John Maeda is one of my favorite thinkers. I enjoy his observations on design and how information and society intermingle. The president of Rhode Island school of design recently had these observations about creativity and how it realtes to a society chockful of information. And while his observations are focused on 2112, I do believe what he is saying holds value even today.

In 2112, creativity will be the most valued form of work because creativity is about going against what everyone (including yourself) believes in. By 2112, our minds will be directly connected to computers. We think having Google at our disposal has changed how we think about knowledge retention, but imagine when that knowledge is literally integrated into your being.

What will be at a premium in this new world? Our unique ability to create ideas and concepts that go against the all-powerful norm of the factual. The ways of thinking and working that artists and designers embody so naturally will be in higher demand. These skills will be universally recognized as how we advance society’s future, rather than a nice “add-on” as they are perceived of today. Creativity will be the new currency of work, the world over.

Rest of Maeda’s observations are here.


  1. steve crandall (@tingilinde) says:

    March 17th, 2012 at 9:07 pm Reply

    When I was an undergrad I was taking a tough graduate level physics course from a *really* famous physicist who was known for being as playful as he was creative – creative enough to have been splashed with the Swedish holy water. One day he stopped the lecture, took out a piece of paper, and made some points on how to be creative.

    from my notebook:

    – be curious about anything and everything. expose yourself to different people and ideas

    – don’t be frightened to try the unknown. Many solve puzzles by figuring out what they can do with the puzzle pieces they have. A better approach is to figure out the missing pieces and solve a puzzle you don’t know anything about by learning about them.

    – remember it must be play

    – the delight is not in finding the answer, but in coming to it yourself

    – be totally honest

    – deeply know everything about your problem

    – real creativity simplifies – aim for simplicity as it is beautiful

    – get into something so deeply you forget everything else. you need large pieces of uninterrupted time

  2. Yael Miller says:

    March 17th, 2012 at 7:39 pm Reply

    And out of frustration comes genius.

  3. Wells Baum (@bombtune) says:

    March 17th, 2012 at 7:24 pm Reply

    I attended Kevin Systrom’s session at SXSW. One of the most important things he said was that “Instagram encourages you to see the world around you…see more of the world than less.”

    He argued that the ubiquity of photos was not hurting photography, but helping people pay attention to the awesomeness of their surroundings.

    I basically went on an Instagram with my hunt around NYC. I intentionally walk to and from Grand Central from 57th and Broadway just to capture interesting photos.

    Story short, I’ve always had the eye but I never had the proper tools to empower me. And I’ve basically used photos as status posts. They tell more than text.

    A lot of people still consider the social piece more of the add on as well. Many anonymous photographers, writers, and bands now have a significant following and legitimate business. Democratizing tools that enable us to create content around the devices and apps remind us that content is king. And free marketing on social platforms is just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. Vandy K. (@VandyKhamsay) says:

    March 17th, 2012 at 5:49 pm Reply

    But out of limitations comes creativity.

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