Prompts, not instructions: Meta Creativity

“Book of Instructions for the Equationer or Universal Calculator” (1892)

From a very young age we’re used to following instructions. Guidance and habits: from our parents, teachers, and bosses.

The collective goal of those is to instill habits that are useful and beneficial. Things like look both ways when crossing the road, or say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’.

Being told what to do is an efficient way of installing a shared value system, and is useful as long as we all have shared goals.

It is agreeable that crossing a busy street can be dangerous and that being polite to your elderly is the right thing to do.

But what happens when goals divert? Or when the future is uncertain?

When we arrive at adulthood there are no instructions to follow. Or if there are, they would only make you average.

So now value comes from exploration rather than standing in line. Suddenly no one is giving us answers.

If we focus on that scene, sitting at my desk, facing a challenge, or trying to drive change (for myself, my colleagues and a company) the world outside my head only gives limited answers.

In times of abundance, the real potential for creativity is in thinking. In thought making, the way logic is constructed.

Remember, that if we know how to make something, someone is doing it (and probably teaching a robot to do it too).

But that moment when ideas are formed, is the ultimate advantage. And is always in plain sight.

Liminal thinking always beats the most efficient maker. Because it is exponential, and not linear. It operates in quantum leaps.

So instead of building another website, or processing another claim by following sets of instructions, can we understand the logical plain those instructions exist on?

With time, and practice we will develop a library of mental models we can deploy in new and exciting way.

Rather than making, we should think. We should be thinking about thinking. Instead of seeking efficiency, we need claim creativity. We should strive for meta–creativity.

Published by Nitzan

I am a designer, writer and strategist with interest in machine learning, liminal thinking and complexity science. In my commercial work I help companies build innovative tools, design better qualitative processes, and lead that human machine collaboration with complexity in mind.

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