Art is created through an internal dialogue we have with ourselves and results in a form that expresses who we are or want to be. It results in intrinsic values – the value of the thing itself without concern for the value or usefulness the external world places on it.
Innovation is fueled by a compulsion to change the world – for profit or to achieve a social impact. It is the dialogue the maker/creator/inventor has with the external world. Innovators need an audience and start working with an audience in mind. Artists are happy to find an audience but that’s not the primary reason they create.
This is part four of seven of the Corzo Center's Black Book. Read more at corzocenter.uarts.edu/blog.
How To Find Opportunities
Think of yourself as a problem solver, someone with lots of tools at hand – visual, verbal, performance-based, digital etc. You’ll use these tools after you’ve figured out the problem. Once you start to solve the problem, you’ll find there’s time enough to be “creative.”
Observe. Observation is the beginning of innovation. One thing that all innovative thinkers have in common is a priceless ability to pay attention to the world around them. They see what others see daily but may not pay attention too. Most of us are too easily distracted while also being constantly engaged. Our heads are down in our iPhones. We walk the same old streets out of habit and see nothing.
The ability to look up, look around and look more deeply and inquisitively at the world around us, separates everyday people from innovative people. Your ability to pay attention to the mundane (i.e., walking to class) to the specific (things you learn in class) to the creative (your art) can make the difference between creating a general idea and an innovative one.
Look at a problem from multiple points of view. As you observe, remember that your point of view is different from someone else’s. And that’s a good thing: Learning how to observe and switch point of view is a first step towards innovation since it provides you new perspectives and allows you to see situations and problems in surprising ways.
Know your audience. Different audiences see situations differently and the solutions we design for them must also be different, even if ultimately there is an overlap. In any case, the problem – and the opportunity – will depend upon the audience.
Don’t be misled by the notion that what you’re making will work for “everyone.” You should be able to describe your audience with specificity: a) Who they are – age, education, gender, and occupation and b) what they need and why. What they are attracted to and anxious about. In short, what’s their emotional profile?
Takeaways on Finding Opportunities
Identifying a problem requires that we look and listen – pay attention – to the world about us.
Every situation should be considered from at least two (or better, more) points of view. The more point of views you use, the more opportunities you will discover.
The meaning of a problem is determined by the audience with the problem.
Part five will continue with how to build solutions.