Internet-inspired creativity

I recently bopped around the Internet researching something or another.  During my search, I came across an article a couple of years old that cautioned businesses about how the Internet undermines business productivity because employees waste time on social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online during work hours.

It got me thinking.

Maybe some employees do dither online.  The funny thing is, though, I see the Internet in the opposite light.  I realized I've become more creative because of the Internet.  And the gains the Internet brings far away its cost.

Let me give you a personal example.

Some people are natural-born idea generators.  My partner Cynthina Heinsohn with Intellicore Design is one of those people, just like many entrepreneurs and creative types.

Me?  I'm a high focus person so my idea flow is more limited.  What I excel at, though, is being an information explorationist who sucks in a wide array of information, finds new connections among sometimes disparate info, and then sends out new combinations.

I guess you could say that I'm not so much an idea generator as I am an idea recombiner.

That's why I love the Internet.  Going online gives me access to a plethora of thoughts and creative ideas from a wide array of people from professional experts to folks that are just seeking to have fun.  Seeing these thoughts and ideas from others stimulate me and increase my creativity.

It's more than that, though.  It's also about learning.  Combine learning with creativity and bam, you have a powerful generator at hand.

Here's an example.  When I worked at Kewill Solutions, my boss asked me to create a multi-tiered software maintenance program.  First stop.  Internet research.  I went online to find out what other companies were doing in their programs.  From there, I poached what I believed to be the best ideas, made my own customizations and improvements, and then designed our program.

Another example that comes to mind is learning how to do low-level coding in HTML.  I've gone from knowing nothing when I started to gaining a beginner to low-level intermediate knowledge of coding.  It gives me a boost that allows me to do some customizing of my hosted blog sites and it's helped me interact with professional designers like Cynthina. 

I've learned what I know through a combination of learning through live interactions with designers, and through a a combination of user forums, Internet research, and book reading, combined with a willingness to experiment.

Is it wrong for employees to waste time socializing on the Internet?  Sure -- but it's also wrong to waste time socializing 'round the water cooler too.

So here's how I view the Internet.

It's all about collaboration.  Combining live interaction with online interaction makes for a powerful stimulus to creativity and learning. 

And if you ask me, that combination in the right hands is where the seeds of genius can emerge.