Innovate like Leonardo
Innovation Weekly 19 Oct 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Art & Science ??? Let’s talk about delivering break-through innovation by re-applying ideas from unexpected places, and how ‘innovation magic’ occurs at these interfaces. Today I want to focus on a personal passion, innovating at the interface between Art & Science. Many people today believe that Art & Science, like oil & water, do not mix. However, many of the worlds’ greatest innovators were not constrained by this bias. Leonardo da Vinci (not Di’Caprio) was pretty innovative, and his creativity spanned fine art, military engineering, anatomy & bio-mimicry (problem-solving using nature’s models. He was not alone. Fred Hoyle was a celebrated astrophysicist, author, & musician, + Einstein claimed to get more pleasure from playing the violin than from Physics. It was Einstein who said, “The greatest scientists are always artists as well”.
Art & Science for All: This overlap is not just for giants of innovation either. During the Renaissance, artists belonged to the guild of physicians, and in creating their own paints, had more in common with today’s chemists than their contemporary alchemists.
1) Photo Art/Science.The tradition of creativity exploding at the interface of bio-mimicry art continues today, with still & motion photography having evolved into digital (ie, Photoshop, YouTube).
2) Recorded Music is similar, with the Artists applying technology to art, while any musician who has picked up an electric guitar or even acoustic violin, owes a debt to the scientists or engineers who had a role in creating the instrument.
Examples of Art-Science Innovation: There is also a long history of art informing science, and vice versa. Examples: 1) I’ve described before how early computer programming was adapted from punch-cards used in Tapestry Looms. 2) Alexis Carrel won a Nobel Prize for developing the suturing techniques used in heart surgery by reapplying techniques from lace making. 3) The pace maker is derived from a musical metronome. 4) Military systems have evolved from computer games. How can we encourage this interface?
1. Partner with your Opposite. If you are an Innovator with a bias towards science or engineering, find a designer or other creative artist type. These may feel like slightly odd pairings at first, but a collaborative relationship where you mentor one another, and are comfortable challenging & teaching each other can create a ‘left/right’ brained hybrid that mirrors the breadth of a daVinci. These kinds of partnerships can be very productive. The relationship between the Beetles & producer George Martin is a great example. Martin started off owning the ‘science’ of recording, the Beetles artistic song writing input. This also illustrates another advantage of this approach, as it exemplified how boundaries blur as these relationships evolve, and in this case, the Beetles began experimenting in the studio, while Martin helped out scoring orchestrated parts for their songs. The result was, of course, magical & they were on top of their profession.
[ 2. Become an Expert Generalist, 3. The benefits of a Art/Science Interface & Conclusion, in Premium Content ]