190513 Mohammad
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed attends the lecture at his majlis on Monday. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Creative people are making small steps to the next most likely possible, a globally renowned neuro-scientist said on Monday.

Dr Beau Lotto, founder and CEO of the Lab of Misfits Studio, the world’s first neuro-design studio, speaking at the majlis of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said that experience occurs in the brain — and that the brain is deluded.

“The key to creativity is to change what’s possible and change your perceptions and assumptions of what’s possible,” Dr Lotto said.

He added the brain never makes a big jump. “You can’t get from one side of the room to the other without crossing the space in between. Change your assumptions and you change your perceptions — and start to see differently,” said Dr Lotto, currently a professor at University London Goldsmiths College and a visiting scholar at the NYU.

He said we think of creativity as putting two things that are far apart together. “[However] the creative person is making the next logical step of assumption. Creativity is only creative from the outside not the inside. What makes creativity hard is the updating and changing of biases and assumptions.”

Dr Lotto asked when one takes a step — what’s the reference to that step? “It has to be your previous step. Creativity is a search algorithm of searching your space of possibility by taking the next possible step,” he said.

Dr Lotto is neuroscientist, author and the founder of the Lab of Misfits. His studies in the science of human perception have led him to work in several fields including education, the arts, business, and more. He has given multiple TED talks, has spoken to companies such as Google, and his work has been featured on the BBC, PBS, Natural Geographic, Big Think, and much more!

He affirmed the key is to expand your space of possibility. “Nothing interesting begins with knowing — it begins with not knowing, it begins with doubt, it begins with a question. The first step from going from A to B is going from A to not A — to step into uncertainty. The problem is that we hate uncertainty. The key is to expand your space of possibility,” Dr Lotto said.

He said the brain does not create meaning by passively receiving content. It makes meaning by physically engaging with the world. “The brain evolved in our body and the body evolved in our world. We’re constantly updating and redefining reality,” Dr Lotto said.

In his lecture, entitled ‘The Science of Innovation: Becoming Naturally Adaptable’, Dr Lotto discussed the surprising science of creativity. “We begin with a fascinating look into how your brain create reality around you and assigns meaning to things that often have no meaning at all, then we examine the unlikely relationship between doubt, ambiguity, and creativity. We ask how you can chip away at your assumptions so that you can open spaces of possibility to be more creative, we explore the foundations of asking truly good questions, and examine the way that doubt can be a powerful force for unleashing creative insights.

“The brain relies on history — on context — to interpret all the information it collects — the history of your life, your culture, your evolution, your family, and much more,” he said.

“Most of your life happened without you even being there — you inherited most of the context and history for how you interpret the world,” he said.

He added the brain has effectively encoded biases and assumptions that filter and shape your perception of reality. “You can never step outside your biases and assumptions. There is a real world — made of energy (and chemicals) that it out there — you’re detecting parts of that. Even visible light — what you see only a tiny fraction of the energy and electro-magnetic waves out in the world, he said.

The Ramadan series of lectures is part of Shaikh Mohammad’s efforts to spread the spirit of knowledge and learning in the UAE, by inviting renowned scholars, experts, officials and entrepreneurs to speak at his majlis at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi. The lectures are attended by Shaikhs, senior government officials, diplomats, business leaders and others.