Breaking down the creative process
  • Acquire a deep understanding of a specific system and the rules it functions with.
  • Take a step outside of that system and look for something surprising that destabilizes its rules.
  • Use what you find as the basis for making something new and creative.
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Problem Solving

Jootsing means “jumping out of the system."

Philosopher Daniel C. Dennett describes the process of understanding a system in order to step outside of it as “jootsing,” using a term coined by Douglas Hofstadter.

The concept of jootsing shows us that constraints and restrictions are essential for creativity.

Most of us say we want to be creative—and we want the people we work with and for to be creative. The concept of jootsing reveals why we often end up preventing that from happening. Creativity is impossible without in some way going against rules that exist for a good reason.

Limitations are essential because they give us a starting point and a shape to work against.

  • Understanding a system provides something comprehensible to use as a starting point.
  • It makes it possible to come up with something more interesting or useful. If you try to start a creative effort from nothing, you’ll end up with mere chaos.
  • You need to permit a lot of exploration, including ideas that don’t work out.
  • You also need to permit the making of mistakes if you want to foster creativity, because that often ends up leading to new discoveries.

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