How can music be creative if it follows a pattern?

If you take a moment to think about the creation of a song, you’d probably notice that they follow the same template, or pattern. The song starts with 1-2 stanzas, continues with the chorus and then repeats itself. Every song basically follows the same guidelines, yet somehow, all sound different. How can that be?


The same is true with mystery novels. All of them have the same basic storyline – someone is in danger or committed a crime, another character tries to solve the mystery and the book ends with a resolution of the plot. Yet, no matter how many times we pick up a mystery, we someone get pulled in to the story. Each novel follows the same template, yet somehow is still a creative work. But how?


Following a pattern can seem boring and repetitive, but in fact, the opposite is true- there is so much more room for innovation. If I were to tell you to innovate the food you eat, you might not know where to start. Yet if I were to tell you to innovate a 4 course meal, you’d intuitively know exactly what to do – innovate the salad, the soup, the main and the dessert.


When we innovate using the S.I.T. method of creativity, we always apply constraints, or restrictions of time, money and resources. Applying those limitations force us to think differently (or inside the box) and allow us to innovate on demand time and again.


In essence, templates are the DNA that can be used to extract and apply an idea to other products. Once identified, we can use them to reproduce the creative process time and time again. By using patterns, the composer and the author, are able to produce more creative works.


The next time you want to produce something creative, limit yourself by setting up constraints. Lines can only have 7 words, pictures can only use 4 colors and poems can only have 9 lines. Restrictions don’t chain us down, they actually free us up. Don’t be scared by your limitations – embrace them!

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