Why you should kill your routine, with Jeremy Abbett

Unleashing one’s inner creative is never an easy task, but for Jeremy Tai Abbett it’s simply a way of life. Jeremy is an American designer, speaker, maker, mentor, and consultant. Born in Vietnam and raised in Minnesota, USA, he now lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. Jeremy has held a number of fascinating job titles over the years, including Creative Evangelist for Google, but in short Jeremy’s job is to help companies and clients develop the creativity they need to thrive in a world of constant change. We sat down with Jeremy to find out what he does to stay inspired.

Creativity = Constant Change

“Creativity is really about trying different things and then connecting those different things,” says Jeremy. “It’s connecting the dots. It’s about taking the context and the whole and bringing it all together.” Whether one is taking a step back to observe the bigger picture or coming up with a new process-driven action plan, creativity is key to innovation. But what can one do to stay creatively “fit”?

“It’s really easy to become comfortable and just do what you’ve always done,” explains Jeremy. “As humans we are very routine-oriented. We like our habits and our rituals. [But] creativity is understanding that routine is the death of creativity. You always have to do different things. I keep myself fresh by changing my routine every day.”

The Creative Paradox

Jeremy’s methods reveal a creative paradox: as human beings we crave stability and predictability, yet in order for the creative process to flourish there must be instability and unpredictability. This conundrum has been observed time and time again. In Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (1), Ed Catmull (co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation) examines the challenges that creative businesses face in relation to this very topic.

“Here’s what we all know, deep down, even though we might wish it weren’t true,” Catmull writes. “Change is going to happen, whether we like it or not. Some people see random, unforeseen events as something to fear… Fear makes people reach for certainty and stability, neither of which guarantee the safety they imply. I take a different approach. Rather than fear randomness, I believe we can make choices to see it for what it is and to let it work for us. The unpredictable is the ground on which creativity occurs.”

Different Input, Different Output

Jeremy spoke with us previously about nurturing creative bravery and by and large, his thoughts align with Ed Catmull’s: Creativity requires bravely challenging the status quo and being open to constant change. In other words: if you want to be more creative, it’s time to kill your routine. “To me, creativity is constantly being a little bit scared, it’s seeing a different way of doing things or doing something totally different. To do that, you have to bring yourself out of your comfort zone… And when have different input, you’re going to have different things coming in to spark that creativity.”

Jeremy also believes next generation experiences will be fueled by the merger of creativity and technology and we couldn’t agree more. MCH Global works hard to embody this forward-thinking approach in everything we do. Check out our latest case study to see one example of how we apply this way of thinking to our work, and stay tuned for future episodes of The Blue Sofa Series.

References

1. “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull

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