Nothing can be made of nothing; those who have laid up no material can produce no combination.
– Sir Joshua Reynolds ,18th century English painter
Sir Reynolds also reportedly said: “Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory.”
Many great inventors subscribed to this idea, including Steve Jobs and Henry Ford.
This is important to understand in your quest to become more creative. 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 that already exist.
If you wish to create something new, you must combine your thoughts, creativity, technology or processes with things that already exist in some form.
Not every combination works. If you are stuck on the path, search for new ideas. Take your work to the next 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.