Breaking News
Blog

Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?

Cees Jan Koomen
11/13/2009 03:00 PM EST

 6 comments   post a comment
NO RATINGS
View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Mr Z
User Rank
Rookie
re: Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?
Mr Z   11/30/2009 4:17:25 AM
NO RATINGS
I have to try to throw a wrench in your thinking. When we consider such inventors as Edison or the Wright brothers, we have to consider that part of inspiration comes from the 'gut feeling' that it can be done, as well as from other places. Edison was rather famed for inventing things so he could be lazy personally. Creativity is borne as they say from necessity. When something is needed, it gets invented. That might seem at odds with life at times unless you consider that the Egyptians used concrete. Arabs has electricity in the dark ages and so forth. Incremental increases in knowledge come in spurts borne of necessity and laziness, driven by the human capacity for believing it can be done. An ant colony will move its nest to higher ground when the old one is flooded, but it doesn't try new materials. Humans will doggedly say to themselves that they want to stay put, the view is wonderful, there must be a way to stop the flooding! When the boss (necessity) says he needs +5vdc at 28amps in a 1/8th brick that meets milspec temp ranges and ripple tolerances, you find a way to do it. This is need. If only we could be 2billion transistors on a single die, and then sandwich that die with another in a single package, run it at 1.3vdc and ....... this is human drive to increase, improve, and get bigger, better, more... Touch screen technology was incremental improvements in technology, just as LED technology has been. So the LED flashlight that needs no batteries is very cool, but not a huge spark of brilliance. The iPhone is really cool but not a huge spark of genius (if marketing campaigns are not considered here). The Baun electric toothbrush is rumored to have been designed by a software program, but any engineer will tell you "hey, it's novel but I could have done that if you asked me to" which only means that it is incremental or obvious extensions of current technology that were used, not huge sparks of genius. Look at modern race cars: marvels of technology, but each was built on the wrecks and deaths of previous drivers... necessity. I'm not saying that all that you can think of has been thought of, just that the kind of thinking that early physicists and astronomers did is nearly common place and every day events somewhere on this planet. The leaps and bounds they made are dwarfed by the sheer immensity of the information age and what it has done to the human knowledge base. Incremental happens by accident while trying to meet necessity requirements: Trying to back-end the db-access/processing for a web page in PERL has its problems, but then you're reading DR Dobbs in the can about something unrelated and see a function that would be really cool if you could do it in PERL. 30 minutes later you have the function after consulting CPAN and all is good, or even better. Now you have 'created' something new and cool, but it's really just incremental extensions of what already exists, even if it does save you a mythical man-month and 130 milliseconds per transaction. In the end, it's most often the human ability to say "it CAN be done" and sticking with it until it is done. Creativity then, is a product of intuition (or stupid dogma) mixed with being able to balance on the shoulders of giants.

SL325
User Rank
Rookie
re: Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?
SL325   11/17/2009 10:06:11 PM
NO RATINGS
My vote is for C14 H19 NO2

embeded
User Rank
Rookie
re: Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?
embeded   11/15/2009 12:57:16 PM
NO RATINGS
In your example, I think we both agree that the human creativity factor is in coming up with the algorithm in the first place. It's not in the actual complexity of either algorithm. After all, your second, more efficient algorithm can be encoded into a computer program just as your first "naive" solution can be. But then I would argue that both algorithms require an act of creativity. The average non-technical human of today would not be able to break the problem down into components and connections, and do the combinatorial math needed to come up with the first algorithm. In fact, for most of humanity's existence, nobody would likely have been able to come up with the first solution, even if you did not require them to understand exactly what a "component" or a "connection" was. So if both algorithms require an act of human creativity, it's not clear to me that you've proved your point with this example. On a much deeper level, both the human brain and electronic component design problems are based on the same logical principles ultimately derived from the laws of physics (after all, they're both entirely contained within the same universe). So if a problem in component design cannot be decided within its own rules, there's the distinct possibility that the human brain cannot decide it either. If not, just what part of the physical universe does the human brain incorporate that component design problems do not? Are you saying humans have access to different logic systems or some other feature of the universe? And consider that whatever logic system humans use, from Godel's results humans may have their own set of undecidable problems. Being able to see the solution in a flash of creativity in a component design problem shouldn't give us too great a sense of pride... ;-)

anon9303122
User Rank
Freelancer
re: Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?
anon9303122   11/14/2009 1:12:27 AM
NO RATINGS
Or is it: C20 H25 N3 O ? :-)

Jonathan.Kang
User Rank
Rookie
re: Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?
Jonathan.Kang   11/13/2009 10:37:59 PM
NO RATINGS
C8 H10 N4 O2

anon9303122
User Rank
Freelancer
re: Opinion: For designers, where does 'creative spark' originate?
anon9303122   11/13/2009 7:46:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Usually the shower, or when working on something totally unrelated, at home, away from the workplace.

Flash Poll
Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Top Comments of the Week