I believe that some of the greatest innovations come from creativity without influence. It's one of those things thats easier said than done. Creativity without influence involves tapping into that right-brain and letting those creative juices flow freely, it involves taking risks, and it involves exploring uncharted territory. All can be difficult things to do, but like most difficult things: the more you do it, the easier it becomes. From Wikipedia: "Influence is a term that refers to the ability to indirectly control or affect the actions of other people or things."
Influence is one of those things that can affect you or your work while you don't even realize it. This post is meant to put more awareness around it, because like G.I. Joe always said, "knowing is half the battle".
Lets take a look at a few things that play a part in influence: Inspiration led by influence Inspiration is very important to creativity...it gives us a purpose, it gives meaning...but in many cases inspiration is led by influence. Inspiration can also be led by a creative vision which I think is a more likely to lead to creativity without influence, and in turn a great innovation.
Credibility powered influence There are many people and companies in the world that we look up to. They have achieved great credibility for their work or actions. It is very compelling to follow these leaders as doing so can result in achieving a similar level success or credibility for yourself. Credibility plays a big part in influence.
Commonality powered influence Commonality is all around us. Its in our music, our fashion, our architecture, our culture, and our information. Commonality tends to influence us to keep things common.
How often have you encountered the comment: "Company X does it this way and is successful, therefore we should do it that way too"? First of all, just because a company is a leader doesn't mean that they're at the top of the chart. Part of thinking outside the box is seeing how much bigger the chart actually is and having the courage to explore with the potential to fail miserably or succeed greatly. After all, the laws of nature tell us that reward is almost always proportionate to the risk that precedes it. Secondly, the way that successful company X does it doesn't mean that they've done it the best way...they've simply done it better than anyone else has to date.
Now don't get me wrong, I think that many great things are led by influence...and creativity may never be completely free of influence. In fact, people have a hard time accepting things that are original...its easier to relate to things that we've seen or heard before. Normally if you see a new fashion statement or hear a new type of music, your first reaction will be a negative one...its not until you look around and see the acceptance of others that you will start to appreciate it (again, influence at work).
Creating things that are truly original is hard...mostly because they are less likely to be accepted at first. They require your influence on others to be accepted. They either crash hard or succeed greatly...with little in between.
If Mozart sat down in front of a piano with the skill of playing but has never heard music before, what would he play?
If we lived in a world where influence did not exist, what would it be like? Would it be a better place or more chaotic?
Can you identify other forms of influence?
How does influence affect you?