As you step into Paul Smith’s London office you would be forgiven for thinking that a bomb had exploded. Nearly every inch of his creative office space, from the littered floor to the top of the tall ceilings are adorned with multi-coloured objects placed for one specific purpose – boosting creativity.
As an unqualified errand boy Paul Smith’s love of fashion has seen him rise to the heights of the celebrated fashion world with his creativity habit and in the process, build a $500 million empire.
According to cognitive scientist Prof Vincent Walsh of the UCL:
Creativity is developed in the same way as a muscle. The more often the repetition the stronger the muscle develops.
To develop your creative muscle you must pass through the four following stages:
Critical to the creative process the preparation stage should never be overlooked. Paul Smith understands the necessity of this: “I enjoy interesting things, quirky things, beautiful things so I get sent a lot of things too.”
By placing his collections around his office and building he allows his mind to absorb the new and existing objects and an incubation begins. The mind plays at an unconscious and conscious level continuously.
The moment of connection, transcendence and then unparalleled motivation define inspiration and it is also scientifically proven to be replicable. As Paul Smith himself was famously quoted: “You can find inspiration in everything: and if you can’t, look again.”
Achieving this level of inspiration cannot be forced according to psychologist Thomas Thrash but must be elicited. This is not easily achieved but can be activated through someone else acting as a catalyst who is skilled in the science and process. The creative powerhouse of Steve Jobs and Joni Ive is one such example of this process in practice.
Finally, has creativity overwhelmed the function or realistic opportunity presented? Mark Payne, President of Fahrenheit 22 has worked with some of the most successful companies in the world to direct creative and innovative thinking into $3 billion of tangible returns.
Using their “2 sided solution” each creative and innovative idea must answer the question 2 questions of “does this solve the customers problem?” and “does this solve our company’s problem?”.
What many, such as Paul Smith, have been doing naturally for decades science is now catching up and allowing everyone to develop the same creative muscles that has set apart the greats.
Perhaps it is the moment of inspiration that many find so hard to draw out of themselves or others than holds many back from reaching the same heights. Always the humble man, Smith puts it best: “Everyday is a new beginning. The whole point is anyone can get goose bumps and be inspired.”