Creative Design: Copy. Transform. Combine: Innovation as Remixing

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These are the three key steps to creativity, or at least, that’s what Kirby Ferguson’s (Everything is a Remix 2010-2012) has come up with during his career.


As someone working – at some level – on the fashion & footwear trendy industry, you may relate to his vision of “creativity” when it comes to product innovation.

Ferguson’s maxim of the basic elements of creativity — Copy, Transform, and Combine — distills the process that artists, engineers, programmers, musicians, and filmmakers throughout history have repeated in order to learn their craft and eventually produce new products.

Copy: No one starts out original. We cannot create anything new until we have a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding in our line of work. Copying is how we learn.

Transform: Taking an idea and creating variations. Major advances are usually not original ideas, but the breaking point in a long history of progress by many different individuals.

Combine: The most dramatic results happen when various ideas are combined together. By connecting ideas together, creative leaps can be made.

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Dozens of shoe patterns, hundreds of materials, multiple configurable pieces, different shoe lasts and sole units… the potential for creativity is endless.

Alexander Noel