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

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The Sage

The Power to Simplify

Sages navigate their imagination using the skill of simplification. When they encounter ideas, they ask themselves "What is the heart of the issue?" By coalescing the complex, or reducing things to their essential nature, Sages find breakthrough ideas. The Sage is also able to translate that insight into a story that can instruct and inspire.

The Sage Skill in Creative Genius

Ernest Hemingway wrote some of the greatest novels of all time including A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. He created a new form of writing called the journalistic style. He used short, terse sentences with little embellishments. His style utilized a bare-bones English that communicated a world with few words on the page. His genius was the ability to tell the story simply and yet profoundly.

The Sage Skill in Business Genius

GE Healthcare charged an engineer to take a 15 lb electrocardiograph machine and squeeze the technology into a totally portable device. The engineering team replaced the multiple buttons with just four. The bulky printer was replaced with a small ticket receipt. It was developed to run on batteries and fit in a backpack at 3 lbs. By simplifying the machine, it became possible to do an ECG for $1.00 per person.

The Sage Skill in Everyday Genius

Sages have a penchant for the complex. They know that when complexity exists there is an opportunity for invention. Rather than shy away, Sages will rush where complexity exists and strive for simplicity and elegance. In the process, they focus on what that insight is and how to best share it. Just like a great storyteller, a Sage will take the best part of their idea and find a way to inspire with a story. Because of their love of the narrative, Sages are often history aficionados and pull their best ideas from the past.