Saturday, April 25, 2009

You can’t be creative and think statistically

New ideas are by definition different from what went before if they weren’t, they’d be old ideas. Statistics are a snapshot of history thus only report on old ideas. The more you concentrate on what happened last week the less you think about what comes next.

Statistics may help you see what did or didn’t work well in the past, but they do not show you what will come next, for that you have to forget statistics and think outside the limits of how you did it when you took that snapshot. Everyone is familiar with the phrase “Think out side the box”, the statistical snapshot of the past is part of the limits of the box.

Albert Einstein said “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. Which is essentially the same as my much more informal statement, and if one of the most creative thinkers in history recognized that the past is a prison to new ideas you should at least consider that you need to stop looking at those spreadsheets and charts of last year and last week.

To prepare for the future, you have to put the past out of your mind, put your feet up on the on the desk, stop answering your phone, and think about what may come next and how to turn it to your advantage.

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