Tim Harford and the secret to creativity


Tim Harford writes for the Financial Times and is an author of great curiosity about many things. I first came across him as the author of “The Undercover Economist“, one of many, many books I’ve read about and around the topic of Economics.

Today, sharing Tim’s thoughts from his recent TED talk on the secret to creativity, also allied to a “long read” I wrote on the same topic a while ago.

So, what is, according to Tim Harford, the secret to creativity?

Slow motion multitasking

In his TED talk he gives three reasons why this is the key to creativity:

  1. Creativity often comes when you take an idea from its original context and you move it somewhere else.
  2. Learning to do one thing well can often help you do something else
  3. It can help us solve problems when we are stuck

For more on this, watch Tim’s talk below.

Now, my long read on this: “Slow motion multitasking” was inspired by an article on the topic by Tim. I riffed on various thoughts and stories in my post, but the third area, solving problems when we are stuck, is where I focussed.

On the second topic let me add a few thoughts today.

Athletes cross-train. From this they develop muscles, flexibility, movement that truly supports them in a rounded way in their core sport. Some swimmers do yoga, some NFL players study ballet etc

Chip Conley choose to learn a new skill every year that is completely unrelated to anything he does in his work or career. Some time ago he learned to surf in Baja California. Linked to this, the Modern Elder Academy is now located there.

Alan Moore pursues exploring Beauty for the sake of beauty itself. As he says: “Beauty is the ultimate metric”. From this exploration, he and I are now collaborating with an organically expanding “Beautiful Community” around transformative leadership programmes.

Enough from me today, enjoy Tim’s talk!

Also published on Medium.