Saturday, 1 October 2011


“Creativity is just connecting things” Steve Jobs

Eureka meaning "I have found it" is an interjection used to celebrate a discovery, a transliteration of a word attributed to Archimedes

Archimedes "Eureka" moment led to the solution of a problem posed by Hiero of Syracuse. According to Vitruvius, a votive crown for a temple had been made for King Hiero II, who had supplied the pure gold to be used, and Archimedes was asked to determine whether some silver had been substituted by the dishonest goldsmith. Archimedes had to solve the problem without damaging the crown, so he could not melt it down into a regularly shaped body in order to calculate its density. While taking a bath, he noticed that the level of the water in the tub rose as he got in, and realized that this effect could be used to determine the volume of the crown. He is said to have been so eager to share his realisation that he leapt out of his bathtub and ran through the streets of Syracuse naked, crying "Eureka!" (I have found it)

For practical purposes water is incompressible, so the submerged crown would displace an amount of water equal to its own volume. By dividing the mass of the crown by the volume of water displaced, the density of the crown could be obtained. This density would be lower than that of gold if cheaper and less dense metals had been added. The test was conducted successfully, proving that silver had indeed been mixed in.

Archimedes managed to solve the problem in the simple less way because he manages to find the connection between water in bathtub and problem poses to him.

Creative thinking always being associated with innovation, Bette Nesmith Graham invented the first correction fluid in her kitchen. Working as a typist, she used to make many mistakes and always strived for a way to correct them.  To support herself as a single mother, she used her talent to paint holiday windows at the bank for extra money. She realized, as she was painting that with lettering, an artist never corrects by erasing, but always paints over the error. So she decided to apply the same principal to her problem.

Using the basis of tempera paint that she mixed with a common kitchen blender, put in a bottle and took her watercolor brush to the office and used that to correct her mistakes. She called the outcome fluid “Mistake Out” and started to provide her coworkers.

After secretly used her white correction paint for five years and making some improvements with help from her son's chemistry teacher. She eventually began marketing her typewriter correction fluid as "Mistake Out" in 1956. The name was later changed to Liquid Paper when she began her own company.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Steve Jobs make a connection between his calligraphy educations on how he designs his personal computer. Without his calligraphy knowledge, Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them.

Connecting the dots and thinking out of the box require us to step back to see the whole picture and solve it in simplest way. Sometimes the answer is just in front of us. 

I was really amazed on how engineer solve complicated challenge to design things by applying simple daily application in Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections documentary series. Now the series make me wonders how to simplify my working as I am lazy. 

Note:  Necessity is the mother of all invention, but Laziness is the father. -[Benjamin Franklin]

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