Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thinking Great Thoughts

[January 2007 - IEEE Spectrum] ... Great ideas do happen, as has occurred with many of the innovations and achievements we celebrate as engineers -- it’s just that they don’t tend to get scheduled or to come about because of a job requirement. Most often these ideas come at unexpected moments when the originator is thinking about something else or nothing at all. Perhaps while we are taking a shower in the morning, a background process is grinding away in our brains, and a connection is made while we ostensibly are thinking of nothing but pouring shampoo. There is a theory of creativity that holds that creativity is most often the product of the unexpected intersection of two previously unconnected thoughts. If you are thinking very hard about one such thought, perhaps you are suppressing the other thoughts that could connect with it. On the other hand, if your mind is a perfect blank…but perhaps I go too far. If you will excuse me now, I have reserved this time for the thinking of great thoughts. More

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