The Creativity Spectrum

The Creativity Spectrum

From what I have seen, the brain is still largely a black box. We can control inputs and measure the outputs to begin making assumptions on how certain people act, how they behave, or see where “good ideas” come from, but there are still many unknowns. The artificial intelligence community has been using the human brain to model learning algorithms for the past serval decades, but these are just models.

I went down a bit of a rabbit whole the last few days with the brain and creativity. I started by revisiting Temple Gradin’s talks, which I enjoy for many reasons. The biggest reason being that she relates a lot of her research back to animals, specifically cattle, and I grew up on a cattle ranch. There are many takeaways from her talks, and I believe everyone should spend some time reviewing her work. The biggest takeaway for me is her recognition of the different types of minds. Some people are more visual-driven, some are pattern-driven, etc, and the world needs all different kinds of minds.

I started thinking about the creative mind, and what people perceive as creative or original. I have made comments in the past about originality and creativity, and I generally believe that most original ideas are reimplementations or simply blends of other ideas. That’s not to say they aren’t “great” ideas, that is just to say that the creator is not necessarily the inventor. In Netflix’s ‘The Creative Brain’, they speak about this, and one of the conversations, I believe it was with Nick Cave, painted this nice visual of how creative minds can evaluate their ideas to see how they might be received by the public. I made the slides below to visualize it, but in short: creative and original ideas hit a sweet spot between what is known and what the public perceives as crazy. If your work is too close to what is know, it may be seen as derivative. On the other hand, if it is too far out there, it may be uncomfortable to people and they will not accept it.


About Brandon C Sammons

Brandon is a versatile and passionate engineer that uses design thinking and web technologies for creative problem-solving. He is currently working as the Director of Software at SXSW and teaching Web Design at FIDM.