Nothing can be made of nothing; those who have laid up no material can produce no combination.
– Sir Joshua Reynolds ,18th century English painter
I’ve shared this quote from Sir Reynolds before. For the creative professional or anyone who wishes to create something new, look toward combinations as your answer.
This concept is important to understand on your path to become more creative and stand out from the crowd. Steve Jobs commented that inventors often feel guilty for their invention because they just combine other people’s ideas. Everything new is a combination of other things which already exist.
If you wish to create something new, you must combine your thoughts, creativity, technology or processes with the stuff which already exist in some form.
Not every combination works. It’s important to test your ideas on a small-scale first. Sometimes one combination leads to another and it takes a few generations of experimentation until you find the best solution.
If you are stuck in the search for new ideas. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have, how young or old — you can take your creativity, career and work to a new level. Test new combinations. Don’t be afraid to use the accomplishments of others. Don’t steal. Always give credit to your influencers and mentors. Your job is to do it different — or better.