The Intersection of Data and Creativity

Guest Correspondence

There are plenty of misconceptions and myths about creativity. For example: “It’s magic.” “It’s random.” “It just comes to you.” Or the common remark, “Some people have it; some don’t.”

One of the most dangerous misconceptions is that thinking creatively does not demand research, data or analysis. On the contrary, creative problem solving is at its best when it springs from knowledge and preparation.

Ringling College of Art and Design, and all other members of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design in our country, educate emerging artists and designers in this school of thought: creativity is a skill that is based on having a solid foundation of knowledge and discipline.

Earlier this week, Jared Cohen, president of the Google-owned company Jigsaw, addressed an audience of over 1,600 people at the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Cohen, former staffer for both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, laid out the ideas he’s gleaned from his experience about the future of technology and the omnipresence and ever-important role of data in our society.

In essence, he forwarded the ideas that technology, data and the digital world are rapidly becoming one with our physical world—and that we should embrace the evolution. More succinctly, he claimed, “Data is the new oil.” This comes as no surprise, since it was the founder of the think tank Google Ideas who said it.

Such a statement may ring familiar. When I speak about creativity and its importance to our future economy, I often use the phrase, “Creativity is the new oil.” After all, it fuels and bolsters every successful industry and company on our planet. Creative thinking will always be in demand—today more than ever. And the key to creative thinking? Steeping ideas in data and information. The more we know about our audiences, our products, our services, our goals and our results, the more refined and targeted our creative ideas can be. Without a doubt, “data” and “creativity” work hand in hand to fuel our economy.

This ideology is reflected in every facet of our programs, facilities, and curriculum at Ringling College. Our students, who are among the most successful creatives, will enjoy and accept the ever-changing data climate we live in. They will stay at the forefront of their industries by utilizing every piece of information they can get their hands on. While somewhat perplexing, the beauty lies in the intersection of data and creativity, and the fact that their delicate balance will drive our future.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art and Design.

« View The Saturday Feb 25, 2017 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

What Will Single Member Districts Really Mean?

Among the litany of issues Sarasota County voters consider this year will be whether to switch to single-member districts when electing county commissioners. It’s fairly easy to see why this inspires sharp partisan divide. Democrats lament no one from the blue team has won a seat on the com

Jacob Ogles | Oct 13, 2018

District 72 Remains Region's Hottest House Race

An unexpected contest and surprising upset this year turned state House District 72 into the center of the political world in February. This November, voters weigh in again, and while the race this time will be one of many in the region, it remains one of the marquis battles in the region.

Jacob Ogles | Sep 22, 2018

Letting Go at Ringling

We have had the great pleasure at Ringling College of Art and Design this past week of welcoming the largest incoming freshman class in the history of our institution. That’s right, over 500 new young people, representing 42 different states and 30 diverse countries, arrived in Sara

Dr. Larry Thompson | Aug 25, 2018

Good and Graham Swinging for Glass Ceiling

As the woman who could become Florida’s first female governor stumped in Sarasota this week, she turned to the region’s biggest Democratic star for a boost. State Rep. Margaret, D-Sarasota, took the stage at the Francis Thursday to throw her personal support behind gubernatorial candi

Jacob Ogles | Jul 28, 2018