Four Engines of Creativity

In times of increasing incorporation of technology in information processing and business operations, creativity is hard to come by whether on the frontier of an industry or passing the first barriers to entry. It is important to observe and wonder about curiosity in the business environment to figure efficient approaches to creative solutions. An approach I recommend to you to understand competitive landscapes and assessment towards most optimal strategies for use of resources; are these Four Engines of Creativity Aggregate, Background, Contrast, and Distinction.


Combine Products, services or technologies, that are independent or at odds with the other. Many 3rd party sellers on Amazon, often use custom bundles to enhance their product offering and draw sales from other sellers of the same products. Costco has made tremendous success offering products in bulk, many bundles custom assembled for the retail giant. Why buy a new computer or phone every year? Technology companies share an industry standard of incorporating new technologies into their products in new generations and updates. Phone producers with face or touch recognition, social media companies with games and user data collection are all leading business practices that aggregate.


Changes in background could expose new paths after observation of how similar issues were solved in a different context. Artificial Intelligence researchers observe how young humans and animals learn, or leading works in philosophy, psychology and mathematics to develop how AI systems learn. Quevos Egg White Chips, featured on Shark Tank; came up with an idea for healthy protein filled snacks by observing and the developing how to make chips from egg whites. Some movement design with electronic stabilizers in camera gimbals were perfected by observing chicken heads and method for stabilization. The ability also extends into different environments. Many cultures had specific recipes revolving around an ample resource or some that were not available in other regions. You can also observe how others create their own versions of a product or service when the context inspires ingenuity. Seaside Bicycle Company in Newport Beach rents bicycles to beach goers, near beaches with bicycle designated paths. Every beach is a good example how you can find businesses that provide a product or service based on context, being near the environment best suited for their offering. In this way background is an inspiring force behind creativity.


Finding growth in limitations means to embrace constraint sometimes so that it can help develop a new strategy. Creativity can yield new effectiveness out of limitations. Fidelity, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Robinhood, Webull and other stock apps, embraced a constraint from institutional investors regarding only taking high income clients and through technology provides a platform for retail investors. Low to no commission charges on trades, minimum account balances, and new approaches to revenue streams including order flow payments which had put Robinhood in the spotlight many times. Every business when it starts accepts constraints no matter what industry, product, or service; Uber accepted constraints after entering the pedestrian motor transport service and added a service to deliver food. Constraints often when embraced lead to the formation of Professions, sciences and technologies. Those who program computers specialize in certain programming languages, Investment managers can often specialize in specific set of instruments or derivatives, and lawyers often have a specific practice. As an exercise, consider imposing some limit or constraint on a team that is attempting to solve a problem, to find out a new solution.


Observe the status quo and underlying assumptions to identify and challenge them. Imagine proving any of them wrong, and what could be gained. Identify assumptions leading or popular in the industry or specific market. 1. SpaceX challenges the assumptions in rocket propulsion to make rockets reusable after a long history of rockets breaking apart or lost at sea after use. Elon Musk’s other company Tesla, challenges the traditional model of consumer automotive makers with online sales, few dealerships, energy/fuel infrastructure and battery powered vehicles. 2. Amazon challenged traditional retail by skipping retail stores and expanding the role of the warehouse in it’s operation. 3. Contrast is also the reverse of bundling; computer and phone production companies often decide what apps to have loaded on new phones, or what audio technologies companies to have audio speakers from, such as for HP computers with Beats Audio, Bose speakers or other audio systems providers bundle into HP’s products.

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