Tim Harford: How frustration can make us more creative
Tim Harford - Economist, journalist and broadcaster
Tim Harford's writings reveal the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. Full bio
called Vera Brandes
of the Cologne Opera House.
of the emergency exit sign.
exciting day of Vera's life.
concert promoter in Germany,
the Cologne Opera House
to the piano in question,
a little warily,
came over to Vera and said ...
Keith can't play."
the wrong instrument.
tinny upper register,
such as the Cologne Opera House.
to try to find a replacement piano.
rain-drenched German teenager,
onto the stage of the opera house,
that something magical was happening.
those upper registers,
tones of the keyboard,
a soothing, ambient quality.
repetitive riffs in the bass.
pounding down on the keys,
to reach the people in the back row.
solo jazz album in history.
about Jarrett's initial instinct.
in any remotely similar situation,
we'd have the same instinct.
to do good work with bad tools.
a bit more appreciation
of having to cope with a little mess.
to some of their classes.
in something straightforward,
handouts that were formatted
like Comic Sans italicized.
to read the more difficult fonts,
about what they were reading,
has been testing Harvard undergraduates
of their attentional filters.
imagine you're in a restaurant,
going on in the restaurant,
on what's important to you.
good, strong attentional filters.
subjects struggled with that.
they had porous filters --
constantly being interrupted
of the world around them.
while they were doing their essays,
that that was a disadvantage ...
these students had achieved,
creative milestone in their lives,
grists to their creative mill.
because their box was full of holes.
of complicated problems --
a really complicated problem?
of different variables,
of problem all in one go,
is try to solve it step-by-step.
you test it, you improve it.
will eventually get you a good jet engine.
implemented in the world.
in high performance cycling,
to optimize their web pages,
for these step-by-step gains.
to solve a complicated problem.
make it a better way?
the problem-solving work better.
gradually down a dead end.
that becomes less likely,
becomes more robust.
with some colleagues,
problems to some students,
were collected in groups of four
with information about a crime --
witness statements and three suspects.
were asked to figure out who did it,
in this experiment.
solved the problem more effectively,
quite a lot more effectively.
of getting the answer right.
50-50's not good.
didn't have any extra information,
to accommodate that awkwardness,
of finding the right answer.
and the stranger did a better job,
interviewed the groups of four friends,
friends and the stranger,
it's rather awkward ...
even though they had.
dealing with here.
getting in the way ...
is really important.
of the world of rock 'n' roll.
he's actually a TED-ster.
rock 'n' roll albums of the last 40 years.
and "The Joshua Tree,"
he's worked with everybody.
these great rock bands better?
the unplayable piano.
in which he creates this disruption
deck of cards --
thank you, Brian.
follow the instructions on the card.
Drummer on the piano --
embarrassing details. Amplify them."
unpredictable action. Incorporate."
in album after album.
on an early Brian Eno album.
throwing beer cans across the studio.
on David Bowie's "Lodger" album,
he turns to Brian and says,
it was a pretty good album,
now uses The Oblique Strategies.
to use The Oblique Strategies
doesn't mean it isn't helping you.
weren't a deck of cards originally,
you might try if you got stuck.
was the least disruptive,
the stupid experiments,
with the awkward strangers,
if we're going to accept this.
from a German teenager,
the unplayable piano.
About the speaker:Tim Harford - Economist, journalist and broadcaster
Tim Harford's writings reveal the economic ideas behind everyday experiences.
Why you should listen
In the Undercover Economist column he writes for the Financial Times, Tim Harford looks at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways and explains the fundamental principles of the modern economy. He illuminates them with clear writing and a variety of examples borrowed from daily life.
His book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure, argues that the world has become far too unpredictable and complex for today's challenges to be tackled with ready-made solutions and expert opinions. Instead, Harford suggests, we need to learn to embrace failure and to constantly adapt, to improvise rather than plan, to work from the bottom up rather than the top down. His next book, Messy: Thriving in a Tidy-Minded World will be published in September 2016.
Harford also presents the BBC radio series More or Less, a rare broadcast program devoted, as he says, to "the powerful, sometimes beautiful, often abused but ever ubiquitous world of numbers."
He says: "I’d like to see many more complex problems approached with a willingness to experiment."
Tim Harford | Speaker | TED.com