Having the courage and determination to focus on one subject or area of expertise gives you the solid foundation that is absolutely necessary if you’re to come up with a truly great idea, one that will be key to your future success.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

Too many creative people think they don’t need to specialize, that they can have lots of ideas in lots of different subjects all of which are going to be great.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

There’s no doubt creativity flourishes in adversity.

And while I’m not suggesting starving yourself is the best spur to great thinking, I do believe one discomfort is worthwhile.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

I like to go to a lot of events and conferences. I read a lot from different essays, bloggers, and books.

And one thing that you expect when you see these people up on stage; when you read these articles from bloggers you expect a little bit of… expertise.

One of the paradoxes of the Internet is that, although it rewards celebrity stories and videos of kittens playing with yarn, it also rewards sites that go narrow and deep.

The reason is technological. While there aren’t as many people interested in the details of N.S.A. surveillance or prison conditions as there are people interested in sports or pop singers, the Internet allows them all to gather in one place.

And, when they do, the readership can be a substantial and influential one.

John Cassidy on the new public-interest journalism: http://nyr.kr/1lw4Wq2 (via newyorker)

Build expertise rapidly. Continuously learning is mandatory.

The generalists life is an easy life because when you’re a generalist designer you’re willing to do all kinds of different work for all kinds of different clients and you’re essentially taking clients based on your own personal interest- your need to solve a problem that you haven’t previously solved.

Designers have broad interests. Your strength is solving the problem that other people haven’t solved. Therefore designers are drawn to new problems.

The idea of solving the same problems over and over again and benefiting from repeated observation and repeated application and building expertise terrifies you.

The major barrier to learning something new isn’t intellectual – you learning a bunch of tips, or tricks, or things. It’s emotional – overcoming the feeling of being scared and feeling stupid.

You can go from knowing nothing about any skill that you can think of with just 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice.

But there’s a way to practice intelligently and efficiently to ensure that you invest those 20 hours in the most effective way that you possibly can.

Build expertise rapidly.

You should be twice as smart today as you were a year or two ago, and I don’t care how long you’ve been in the business. And if you’re not, it’s not because you’re stupid, it’s more likely that you’re just too broadly focused.

If you are not viewed as more expert than your competition, then you will be viewed as one in a sea of many, and you will have little power in your relationships with your clients and prospects.