Creative process

The creative process requires more than reason. Most original thinking isn’t even verbal. It requires ‘a grouping inspired by the unconscious.’ The majority of business men are incapable of original thinking because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason. Their imaginations are blocked.

I am almost incapable of logical thought, but I have developed techniques for keeping open the telephone line to my unconscious, in case that disorderly repository has anything to tell me. I hear a great deal of music. I am on friendly terms with John Barleycorn. I take long hot baths. I garden. I go into retreat among the Amish. I watch birds. I go for long walks in the country. And I take frequent vacations, so that my brain can be fallow – no golf, no cocktail parties, no tennis, no bridge, no concentration; only a bicycle.

While thus employed in doing nothing, I receive a constant stream of telegrams from my unconscious, and these become the raw material for my advertisements. But more is required: hard work, an open mind, and ungovernable curiosity.

– David Ogilvy Confessions of an Advertising Man

(Elon Musk is) very visual and can store things that others have deemed to look good away in his brain for recall at any time. This process has helped Musk develop a good eye, which he’s combined with his own sensibilities, while also refining his ability to put what he wants into words. The result is a confident, assertive perspective that does resonate with the tastes of consumers.

Like Steve Jobs before him, Musk is able to think up things that consumers did not even know they wanted — the door handles, the giant touch-screen — and to envision a shared point of view for all of Tesla’s products and services.

-Ashlee Vance Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future


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