The magic of association

Much has been written about creativity and creative thinking. From all that I’ve read, it seems that “successful” creativity most often comes from looking outside the area you’re working in. For example, the bestselling toothbrush in the world came from scientists at the Gillette company who decided to look outside for creative associations. They began their discovery by first looking at how different items are cleaned – cars, clothes, hair, arteries, etc. When they began to settle in on how cars are cleaned things got exciting because they began to make connections between what happens in a car wash and what could happen with a tooth brush. In the end they developed the Oral B tooth brush with multiple brushes brushing in different directions, similar to what happens when you take your car through a car wash.

As you sit down to create or solve a problem, try to think of things that are totally unrelated at first. If you want to photograph a landscape, think about an ant and what its landscape might look like. Or what the mountain might see if it were looking back at you taking the picture. Or pretend you’re the color green and what you would photograph if you wanted to highlight that color. There may be a direct correlation between your associations and your creativity.


Every once in awhile the sky offers patterns that just have to be photographed.