The Five Faces of Genius

Five Faces Overview

Here are the five thinking styles based on creative genius in the arts and sciences. These faces can help you understand the way you think and unlock

  • image description
  • image description
  • image description
  • image description
  • image description

The Observer

The Power to notice Detail

The key to the skill of the Observer is curiosity. Observers collect details in a mental "basket" and from the collection of the small things create breakthrough ideas. Observers notice the differences and disconnections. Paying attention to things others might miss leads to the ideas of the Observer.

The Observer Skill in Creative Genius

Robert Frost's first published poem was called "My Butterfly". While walking in the forest one day, he surveyed the ground. Among the dried leaves, he noticed a dead butterfly. He picked it up, was entranced and found the inspiration for a poem. By following his curiosity about a dead butterfly, his imagination was fueled and he created a great contribution to poetry.

The Observer Skill in Business Genius

Anumpa Mittal noticed a small curiosity while at a coffee shop in India. He noticed a pundit, a Hindi preist, with a briefcase stuffed with papers. He recognized the papers as ‘biodata’ – resumes of individuals from families that were looking for a ‘match’ for their son or daughter. Mittal had been interested in the power of the Internet and the web 2.0 pheonomena. This sighting with the pundit's briefcase, gave Mittal the inspiration to create an on-line matchmaking website called Shaddi.com or “marriage” in Hindi. Shaddi.com became the largest matchmaking website in the Asian subcontinent.

The Observer Skill in Everyday Genius

Because Observers are curious and notice details, they excel at pattern-recognition. They see how problems fit together and how they can be broken apart, which is known as recursive thinking. Start becoming more aware of your environment. What do you notice? Stand back and dissolve your bias of what you think you already know. When you are willing to suspend conclusions and look for new details, you can come up with great ideas for your work and life. Have courage to let your curiosity loose, and you’ll be surprised by what you can create.