Stimulus Collage

by Ben Perreira

I did my undergraduate work at UC Santa Barbara and my first upper division course of my major, sociology, was called “Socialization” and taught by Professor John Baldwin. The course covered the panoply of human behavior in a six week summer session.

Baldwin described a concept for developing creativity called the “stimulus collage.” The idea is simple and incredibly useful: the more stimuli we have in our minds, the greater our chances for creativity.

The more things we see then more new things we are able to create. The iPhone was not created in a vacuum – it took robust mobile connectivity, emerging 3G networks, pervasive Internet usage, touch screen technology, and many more things to exist before someone could connect the dots to create the device. 

As we add more arrows to our quivers, we become better at knowing which one to use in what situation, or when it’s time to make our own arrows.