The Building Blocks of Creativity - Part 1 of 3: Playing With Legos

Author: Bob Lausten
Posted: Jun 21, 2016

Topics: Creativity

To some people, being creative is a pipe dream. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard someone say, “I’m not creative.” (If you’re the person who said those words, slap your hand across your face.)


Creativity isn’t some magical unicorn only artists, musicians and James Franco can ride. Anyone can be creative. How? That dude from Apple put it nicely…

“Creativity is just connecting things.”— Steve Jobs

Yup. It’s that easy. Connectivity fuels creativity. So what are we connecting? What are the “things” Jobs is referring to?

Knowledge and experience.

Imagine you have two Legos, one blue and one yellow. The blue one represents one thing you know. The yellow one represents one thing you’ve done, or one experience you’ve had.

Now, build something creative out of those Legos. We’ll call the result your “idea.” Odds are your idea will look similar to this:


Or this:

Or maybe this:

You can only do so much with your Legos. You only have two things to connect. Creativity is limited. Now, imagine you have 50 Legos – 25 blues and 25 yellows, each representing 50 different things you know and have done.

When asked to build something creative now, the possibilities are endless. You have dozens more Legos to connect—more knowledge and more experiences—allowing for new, unique and interesting ideas. Creativity is limitless.

Like Legos, knowledge and experience are the building blocks for ideas. And the more you know and the more you do, the more connections you’re able to make to create new ideas. That’s why we have brainstorms. Dumping out all of our knowledge and experiences gives us the opportunity to analyze them and make connections between them.

Take the “That’s Chemistry” campaign VI did for Bank SNB. In the beginning, we had a smorgaswhiteboard of information that we knew about the client and the task at hand. We knew the client’s values. We had personal experiences that allowed us to relate to those values. We had an array of knowledge on the banking industry. We had our own experiences at banks. We knew words associated with banking. And so on. We had hundreds of blue and yellow Legos. And in the end, we were able to connect some of them to form a smart, creative idea.

The entire concept and campaign was the result of connecting things we knew:

  • Bank SNB prides itself on relationships.
  • They have a strong bond with their customers.
  • Having a good relationship is called having chemistry.
  • Words related to chemistry include bond, formula and element.
  • Hexagons represent atoms in chemical bond structures.

While the above list was just a few of many connections made, these upfront realizations allowed us to dive deeper into the concept and search for even more connections. Now, what if we didn’t know about the client’s values? What if we had no idea what chemical bonds and hexagonal structures were? Then this idea may not have been thought of. Without our vast web of knowledge and experience, we wouldn’t have been able to make these connections.

The more connections we’re able to make, the better chance we have at creating something spectacular. Chance favors the connected mind.

So learn more and do more. Get a tub, and fill it with Legos.

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