Creativity Loves Errors

I’m going to postulate something right now. I’m going to make an assertion that is entirely unverifiable and without support but I’m going to make it anyway. Autocorrect errors on mobile phones are potentially the greatest source of creative inspiration in the modern world.

Creativity loves errors. If looked at in the right way, a mistake, an error, an unexpected outcome, is a great opportunity for creativity. In fact, being right about something is boring from a creative standpoint. You can’t do much with an answer that confirms what you expected. But an answer you weren’t expecting? Ooh, baby!

I bring this up now because of an amusing autocorrect error in a message sent to me by a friend and creative luminary who I shall not name because I like being mysterious.

In reply to my email inviting him to The Hypothetical Pub Quiz taking place on the 30th of September he said something to the effect:

Damn! I’m out of the country. If not I would be there like a flask (of the Jumping Jack variety).

It took only a moment to realise that “flask” should have read “flash” so I teased him that he would have to explain to me what a Jumping Jack Flask was.

A moment later I had the image of a spring loaded Jack Daniels branded hip flask that literally jumps out of its holster when you want a swig of sour mash. Bonkers? Sure. But you tell me it wouldn’t make for a great novelty item?

This little creative moment came because I didn’t just correct the error in my head. I played with it and came up with something fun. It also came about because my correspondent was having fun; using complex imagery rather than boring literalism. Do that often enough and you’ll come up with something that’s not just fun. It’s of moments like these that the future is made.

Ask yourself, are you playful enough? Do you use metaphor and plays or words? Do you allow the time needed to find the fun, the joy and the potential creativity in errors, no matter how trivial? Most people don’t and that’s why most people fail to be creative. It’s not a case of what they can and can’t do. It’s a question of what they allow themselves to do.

It is now the weekend. Your homework this weekend? Be 10% more playful than usual.


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