As much as I enjoy using all these AI programs and image-generating tools, I still believe that observing Mother Nature is the best way to learn about the true nature of creativity.
An example is ecotones, the transition zones where different habitats overlap, which are incredibly rich in biodiversity. Nature's evolutionary experiments explode in these places where the desert meets a spring or the sea meets the shore.
It's evolution's version of "f*** around and find out", making them extremely effective for brainstorming biodiversity.
And just like Mother Nature, I love to blend, smash, and merge ideas to create something unexpected. The fact that it has worked for billions of years is enough to convince me that it is a creative process worth trying.
So, to get your divergent thinking flowing, don't rely solely on the artificial newness of ChatGPT or Midjourney to help you generate new ideas.
Instead, think like an ecotone, smash some unexpected ideas together, and while you're at it, get off your computer and go touch some grass.
VR, XR, MR, AR - what will be the next abbreviation of reality? It seems that we are constantly striving to add to reality. But is this why these technologies have not fully taken off?
Perhaps it's time to consider a different approach that focuses on enhancing the true nature of a place rather than augmenting the hell out of it.
Consider the ideas of 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. Olmstead believed in staying true to the character of a place's natural surroundings and accessing the "genius" of a location to inform every design decision he made.
It didn't matter what trends of the day were in vogue. Specimen planting and exotic flower beds did more harm than good.
He understood that the landscape has an unconscious influence on people and that the goal is to create a sense of presence and belonging. This requires more than a visual interface (or pretty flowers) - it involves understanding the experience of a place and its spiritual qualities.
In today's digital landscape, it's easy to get lost in tech and interfaces. But the most meaningful virtual experiences allow us to feel grounded and present. Like a walk through the winding paths of Central Park, it inspires us to have original ideas, and we never feel lost.
You've accessed the genius when you put on that headset and can experience a place more deeply without the superfluous stuff on top of it.
The company that can achieve this might win the experiential arms race by focusing simply on what makes reality... real.
Ever wonder why you can't stop listening to a song you love? You're addicted to anticipation.
Renowned musicologist Leonard Meyer, who wrote Emotion and Meaning in Music in the 1950s, pointed out that the emotion of music comes from the composer's choreography of expectations.
Meyer concluded that music's greatest power comes from its ability to toy with the expectations of the listener. Many artists can surprise us, delay our expectations, and sometimes deliver exactly what we want.
Next time you develop an idea, ensure you play with the feeling of anticipation and expectation. When an idea gives you goosebumps, it's like listening to your favorite song -- it plays with expectations so well, you never get sick of it.
Instead of adapting trends for new ideas, try reincarnating the forgotten. It's way more fun than doom-scrolling inspiration blogs.
Dive into the blue hyperlinks of Wikipedia, or wander the aisles of a used bookshop. Tell the shopkeeper about your idea and follow them down a rabbit hole.
Dig up those old Geocities links you saved in 2002. You may be surprised by the new connections you discover when the web is displayed in basic HTML.
Next time you're looking for creative ideas or inspiration, try looking behind rather than forward. You never know what buried treasure you'll find again.