The Master – Modern Implications

leonardoThe Master – Part 1
When I created this blog I wanted to create a graphical logo that reflected my passions and paid homage to a personal hero of mine. If you look at the top right of my blog you will see a graphic composed from various drawings, paintings and notebooks from Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo lived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, he was widely known as ‘Master’ by both his assistants, apprentices, and employers. Leonardo’s career was primarily as a weapons master for various Nobles and Royalty. He designed some of deadliest and most creative weapons of his day. He designed canals to ship weapons and move troops, he designed missiles, multi-barrelled machines guns, grenades, mortars, tanks, and helicopters. Not all of his designs could be built with materials available in his age – but he still designed them with with intricate detail.

So how did Leonardo become the master of his trade? He studied the objects and materials around him – to guide and give hints to his final goals. Want to build a better Catapult? Study the human arm – and you end up with a trebuchet. Want to cause the most damage to the human body as quickly as possible? Study the anatomy, learn how the body functions and what its weakness are. Want to have soldiers launch missiles and weapons from the air? Study birds and flight.

In short Leonardo became the master by learning a very particular process for creativity.

1) Envision a problem – Eg. I Want to Fly
2) Identify other objects, materials or animals with an impact on your problem. Eg. Study Birds, light sturdy materials (balsa wood, aluminum, etc).
3) Experiment and play with the objects, and their properties. Eg. Build a model glider
4) Ramp up and build a prototype.

This process is a simple one, and one many of the brightest most successful people I know seem to adopt instinctively.

This is just the first installment on my treatise on creativity and the creative process. In my next installment I’ll apply the lessons of the ‘Master’ to a technology project – and show how these techniques can help IT Professionals become ‘masters’ in their own right.