September 30, 2007
In Your Dreams

Well, there it is again.

I've discovered an amazing, arts-centered television channel, Ovation TV. They screen an impressive array of high quality programming on music, film, dance, painting, etc., the artists and their processes (quite a lot of it being BBC productions from the late 90's, interestingly enough).

It was specifically a trio of programs on music hosted by the legendary producer of the Beatles, George Martin, that gave me the jolt to write this. Together they're titled, "The Rhythm of Life," one lengthy show each on Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony. For those who love music, these programs are an unparalleled feast, with Martin listening to friends from Stevie Wonder to Michael Tilson Thomas playing and talking about the marvels and mystery of music.george_martin,OvationTV.jpg

In the one on melody, he talks with Paul McCartney about "Yesterday," Paul's greatest hit and what I remember reading is the most recorded song of all time. (That sounds more impressive than it really is, though, since the ability to record sounds and music is only around 100 years old. It's not even close to nominating the greatest books, or ships, or bridges, for instance.)

Martin asked his old partner McCartney how he came up with that famous melody; and Paul simply said, "I dreamed it." He explained that he woke up from a dream, with that melody playing itself in his imagination.

One of the projects I've been working on here this year, and among the most inspiring and energizing, has been editing the updated version of the workbook for one of Idea Champions' most fundamental courses, the Creative Thinking Training, "Banking on Innovation" (in the process of rebirth as "Freeing The Genie").

One segment (adapted into this article, "AHA! Great Moments in Creativity,") dealt all of the breakthroughs in art, science and technology that came as unexpected gifts to the practitioner, who would later be credited with their discovery. It turns out that the ideas for many great inventions came to the "inventors" in their dreams.

My favorite, easily the most amazing of all, was how Rene Descartes came up with The Scientific Method: that's right, he dreamt of it. And, fundamentally via that moment of insight, he would become known as "the father of modern science." (Ah, sweet paradox.)

We have a level of awareness that we walk around in all day, thinking about and trying to juggle all the conflicting thoughts and needs that living presents us with. But we all possess an entirely other level of awareness, far deeper and more connected.

All the techniques of creative thinking, on an individual level, are about learning different ways to trick yourself out of that everyday, crazybusy mode of thought... so that you can connect with your own inner resources.

The summary: if you're looking for a better way to accomplish what you need to do -- a plain language translation of "innovation" -- leave a line open so you can hear from your own subconscious mind, when it has something it would like to share with you.


Of course, we are not suggesting that you immediately get busy dreaming your day away! As the article takes great pains to point out, "Great creative breakthroughs usually happen only after intense periods of struggle. It is sustained and focused effort towards a specific goal - not luck, not wishing, not caffeine - that ultimately prepares the ground for great creative insights." Once you get the big idea, now it's up to you to put it into action.

These paired principles are an essential part of "the heart of innovation."

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This in turn directly relates to our current poll (open through October): How and where do you get your best ideas?

Posted by at September 30, 2007 02:43 PM

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