The iPad kills Creativity?
Peter Bregman shares why he returned his iPad:
The brilliance of the iPad is that it’s the anytime-anywhere computer. On the subway. In the hall waiting for the elevator. In a car on the way to the airport. Any free moment becomes a potential iPad moment.
The iPhone can do roughly the same thing, but not exactly. Who wants to watch a movie in bed on an iPhone?
So why is this a problem? It sounds like I was super-productive. Every extra minute, I was either producing or consuming.
But something — more than just sleep, though that’s critical too — is lost in the busyness. Something too valuable to lose.
Being bored is a precious thing, a state of mind we should pursue. Once boredom sets in, our minds begin to wander, looking for something exciting, something interesting to land on. And that’s where creativity arises.
My best ideas come to me when I am unproductive. When I am running but not listening to my iPod. When I am sitting, doing nothing, waiting for someone. When I am lying in bed as my mind wanders before falling to sleep. These “wasted” moments, moments not filled with anything in particular, are vital.
They are the moments in which we, often unconsciously, organize our minds, make sense of our lives, and connect the dots. They’re the moments in which we talk to ourselves. And listen.
To lose those moments, to replace them with tasks and efficiency, is a mistake. What’s worse is that we don’t just lose them. We actively throw them away.
I don’t totally agree with Peter, but I do get his point. Perhaps it is his use of the word “boredom” that does not sit right with me, as I associate boredom with a negative frame of mind or an idle/lazy mindset. But his point is clear; it is when our minds are going through a downtime that the ideas hit.
This reminds me of another recent post on the New York Times blog, Your Brain on Computers: Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price, that flows along these same lines. The Internet’s easy access of information encourages online addiction and fosters multitasking behavior that leads to lower productivity, and in Peter’s case, creativity.
It seems that the iPad is, or going to become, the ultimate consumption device and we will pay the price for its eventual ubiquity. The reality is that there is a consequence for every choice we make.
So the next time you want to get creative, get off the computer, stop surfing the Internet, quit browsing design magazines, and turn off the iPad. Take a break (or a walk) and do something that does not require information processing of any kind.
Quote via Harvard Business Review.