parent by design:

day 9: connecting things

"Creativity is just connecting things."

- Steve Jobs

the full quote

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

- Steve Jobs


We live in an age of unprecedented economic structural change.

Technological advancements (robotics, A.I.), changes to the way we work (outsourcing, automation) as well as huge competition from a well-educated and connected global workforce- mean that our kids will require more than just qualifications and an interesting CV in order to stand out.

Creativity is one sure way they can do this.

Creativity by definition, means that there is some ‘value’ added, and whether your child ends up as an employee or working for themselves, if they can ‘add value’ then they will always be economically relevant (i.e. get paid).

how we do it

Ad man and critical thinker, James Webb Young details his 5-step process for creativity in A technique For Producing Ideas:

For us, we use the mornings to embrace steps 1 and 2: gather raw material and digest.

how we do it

There are plenty of ways you can help your child to gather raw material but we want something we can do easily and consistently each day as part of our routine, which is why each morning over breakfast we watch a documentary.

We try and make it intellectually stimulating, but we don't mind watching anything that the kids find interesting.

It's important to mix it up and help your child gather raw material from different sources, so we have watched all sorts, from series about food and Michelin starred chefs, to documentaries about kids solo navigating the world, and pretty much everything in between.

The point about connecting things is that you have no idea what your mind can and will connect. Documentaries are a great way for kids to experience things, to use their imagination, to see life through the eyes of someone else.

The key is how you help your kids to digest this raw material and we cover how we do this tomorrow.

But for today, open up the laptop and enjoy some good quality raw material together.


Here's a fantastic list of the Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World by Films for Action.

We also like to check how age appropriate anything we watch is through Common Sense Media.