Creativity is a lateral move. You are at connecting dots. Linking different existing ideas is the greatest source of innovation. That “aha” moment people talk about comes after you make new connections. So how do you go about connecting different dots?
In my book I write: “You’re not born with a great ability to connect dots. You learn it.” OK. But how? First, recognize that dot of knowledge your anchor dot. Then cast out from that to link to something else. I write: “Casting wide can land you in the strangest of places, but having some kind of anchor–a puzzle you’re trying to solve, a product or process you’re trying to improve–can help you…We don’t always know what connections will work best, what synthesis of two ideas will be the most effective. That’s why its important to keep an open mind to what your casting may bring back. You may have to relearn the joy of surprise.”
James Dyson found the answer to a new vacuum cleaner in a saw mill. He completely reframed the cleaning process by watching how saw mills cleaned up sawdust.