Monday, September 11, 2017

Creativity - There are No New Ideas

I see on Ravelry threads that there is a great deal of anger surrounding the topic of protecting intellectual property. I'm not referring to the outright theft of patterns but to the copying of ideas.

I suspect that the sources of these comments do not realize how easily designers can generate ideas. I've been involved in creative pursuits since childhood so I can come up with many ideas very quickly. My real limitation is being in being able to produce them all and my designer friends tell me that they have the same handicap.

While you can use an idea as a jumping off point a designer still needs to put in the development time to make it work and none of this happens quickly in knitting. Patterns take time to write, the knitting has to be done. Afterward there is tech editing, the layout usually needs to be re-worked after the edit is completed and photography must be completed.  Once you put the photos in there may need to be even more changes to the layout.

When I teach my design course I do some creativity exercises. Occasionally students will find themselves stuck so I will work the exercises with them and I notice how those students are amazed by how I use simple strategies to fuel new ideas.

I think that everyone can be creative, yes there is a certain amount of innate talent involved, but ask a few questions and you will discover that the talented people get better with practice as they learn techniques to stimulate ideas. If you study creativity, you quickly realize that it's true that there are very few absolutely new ideas. What is creative is the combination of existing ideas in a new format. It's also not uncommon for us to generate similar ideas. I'm constantly adding things to my notebook which I never move forward on as I see other similar designs popping up in magazines and on knitting websites. So I think it's best not to assume the worst of others when wondering where their ideas came from and the amount of effort that goes into the process. 

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with you; so many ideas, so little time. Not all of them can make it out into the world, and sometimes someone else makes it happen before you can, quite coincidentally.