Build Petri Dishes For Creativity

A recent pattern of how amazing people think and create revolves around building petri dishes for creativity. What does this esoteric comment mean?

Rereading this digital landmark of writing on Yacht Rock, I discovered a good example of a petri dish for creativity. Back in 2008, before they became Yacht Rock, then band name, Y-O-U, would play every Thursday at 10 High Club in Virginia Highlands. The manager gave the band free reign to try different acts, experiment, and be themselves.

Atlanta Magazine reported it as:

“In 2008, Y-O-U was booked every Thursday at the 10 High club in Virginia-Highland. They’d stage “Rock Fights,” playing dueling sets of covers by artists like Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and INXS, or rejigger Y-O-U songs as soul rave-ups with horns and backing singers, or do a standup comedy night. Yacht Rock Revue was just another of these goofs: Put on silly clothes, and play songs everybody knows but nobody really likes—or claims not to. It was Cobb and guitarist Mark Dannells who came up with the idea. Dannells thought about calling it “A.M. Gold” but Cobb had recently seen a viral web series called Yacht Rock and felt like the term would resonate. Niespodziani went along because his friends needed his vocals. Two band members wore wigs to that first show, and, at one point, Niespodziani stripped off his shirt. People loved it. The club’s booker invited them back the next Thursday. The gig sold out. He asked them to do it every Thursday.”

That Thursday night free-for-all and experimentation lead to a decade, and counting, of seven band mates playing full time around the country. The demand for their work has been so high, they’ve had to hire more team members to scale their act.

Building petri dishes for creativity is part luck, part chemistry, and tons of serendipity. It takes time to gel, experiment, and test ideas without fear of failing. Petri dishes for creativity are more than going to events or networking with people. They normally revolve around art and there is little agenda or angle except for building or creating. It could be the art of conversation or the art of writing or painting or storytelling or making music, whatever it is, building time in to your schedule where you have a petri dish of creativity, particularly with other people is a great way to experience life and see where the puck is going.

Other examples of petri dishes for creativity:

  • Book clubs
  • Writing clubs
  • Painting get togethers
  • Sharing stories, whether in a formal setting or not
  • Poetry readings
  • Structured debates
  • Music writing and jamming sessions (Yacht Rock-esque)
  • Building software

Find a tribe of people in one or two of your most intuitive and creative interests and see where it takes you!


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