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Try Poetry

It's one way to think creatively.

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In 1911, an interview with The Century magazine askedThomas Edison, "Do you think that our ideas have to be closelyconnected to our work to be useful?" Edison responded,"All kinds of ideas help to set the mind going. If a man hasenough ideas to be an inventor, he can turn the same force inanother direction, if he wishes to, and be a businessman, anarchitect or anything." Maybe even a poet?

An increased rate of change has caused our world to become evermore fragmented and disconnected. Existing connections are eitherforgotten or shattered when new, disruptive technologies emerge. Assuch, the greater the rate of opportunity for making connections,the more tools you need on your creative tool belt. One ofEdison's most surprising tools for creativity was poetry.

Edison made connections between his inventions all the time. Thephonograph was really just an offshoot--that is, a metaphor--of theduplicating telegraph. The motion picture was connected to thephonograph. Regarding the motion picture, Edison said, "I wantto do for the eye what the phonograph did for the ears."Robert Frost, one of America's best-known poets, wrote,"There are many such things I have found myself saying aboutpoetry, but the chiefest of these is that it is a metaphor, sayingone thing in terms of another." In other words, doing for theeye what the phonograph did for the ear.

Excerpted from At Work With Thomas Edison: 10 Business LessonsFrom America's Greatest Innovator

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