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 Alchemist


Alchemists generate ideas by connecting different areas that interest them. In the connection, a breakthrough idea is born. Always searching to see what they can bring together, Alchemists use similarities – analogies – as the fire of their imagination.

The Alchemist Skill in Creative Genius

The breakthrough architect, Frank Lloyd Wright used the Alchemist skill to create his unique style of Prairie architecture. Others were experimenting to see how high they could build using the techniques of concrete and steel. Wright believed architecture should be intimately connected with the natural environment. His imagination sought to blend the construction site with nature, such that it would have a human scale and celebrate the domain of the natural world. From a waterfall flowing through a house, to building a home around a tree, Wright’s genius was the ability to connect the domain of the built environment with the natural one.

The Alchemist Skill in Business Genius

Apple’s retail outlets are considered one of the best shopping experiences in the world. A pleasing space, dynamic products and amazing customer service exemplify these stores. Many don’t realize, however, that Apple as a computer company connected the domain of stellar retailing by hiring a Target executive to design the environment. The architecture, the display of the products and even the genius bar were created by colliding the computing world with the best in practice of mid-scale retailing.

The Alchemist Skill in Everyday Genius

Alchemists have a ‘radar’ on the top of their head. Constantly scanning the world around them, this is the skill of looking for similarities and concepts to connect. Alchemists are adept at creating ‘categories’ or domains that they can crash together to create a new idea. Alchemists enjoy talking and find great inspiration in human company. Their process of abstract thinking often requires a conversation so that they can get new data. Try making connections with people around you and focusing on building more relationships. Be sure that you are challenging your ability to think about problems from other areas that may not be right in the sweet spot of your interests