Is the internet killing our creativity? One Calgary designer says yes
DIRTT co-founder Geoff Gosling is one of Seven Wonderers sharing their stories at Beakerhead
Geoff Gosling is the co-founder and head of design at Calgary's DIRTT Environmental Solutions, which designs and manufactures prefabricated interior spaces.
"It really just comes from how we always default to look outside ourselves to get validation of anything we're trying to do," he said on The Homestretch Tuesday.
"The problem with that for me is that you can't help but follow," he said. "And if the goal is to innovate or do something meaningful that's a really bad place to start."
He says he sees two major problems with starting with what's already been done.
"When you look at something, it's in our nature, you can't un-ring that bell," he said. "And so when you have that, you inadvertently follow."
"If you're ethical, you'll deliberately not follow an idea if you're trying to be innovative," he said. "And so you don't get to go down dark alleys, you don't get to explore because you cut yourself off at the pass."
'Remain as ignorant as possible'
"When I think about it, I sort of think of ignorance as a precious object," he said.
In embracing his own ignorance, Gosling says he's had "ah-ha" moments and turned an idea into a reality.
Focus on problem-solving
Gosling said in starting DIRTT they were looking for solutions, and they had no idea how to solve the problems they were seeing.
Gosling said they didn't look at other people's work in that process, and the results were great.
Gosling said when they first launched DIRTT they expected cards and letters accusing them of stealing an existing idea to come flooding in, but not a single letter or similar patent was found.
When it comes to the notion of improving something that already exists, Gosling said it certainly has its place.
But Gosling says there are ways to explore your own creativity — for example in making a unique recipe — you don't need an existing starting point.
Gosling said he grew up in Calgary but his family had homesteaded south of the city in the Indus and Langdon area. He said the most innovative people he's ever met were those working the land.
His biggest piece of advice is for people to trust themselves.
"Don't worry about having to get it right. Don't emulate, let yourself try to solve a problem in a unique way. Whether it succeeds or fails is irrelevant."
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With files from The Homestretch
- An earlier version of this story said Geoff Gosling was born in Langdon. In fact, he was born in Calgary but his family had homesteaded in the Indus and Langdon area.Sep 19, 2018 11:43 AM MT