Tuesday, 9 August 2011

'LA LIA FLIA': Your Flight to Creativity

Ever wondered how to become 'Creative'? or you belong to that category of men & women who think that all this 'creativity' stuff is concerned with arts people
and thus sounds useless to you? If you happen to belong to either of the above two categories (
which I am presuming everybody to be :-) ) then this article is for you Madamoiselle (Madam) and Monsieur (Sir). No, No I am not starting any french session but I am going to tell you about something that holds the key to your progress.

I know each of our first 58 Young India Fellows have outshone in their work and success is out there waiting for them. But I have a gut feeling that reading this would someway or the other would help you all in your future endeavors. No matter what your life dreams are, this is something for you. Yes, I am talking to you and you only at the moment. The article is a distillation of the strategies which many of the big names in the world (like Steve Job, Mohammad Ali, Darwin, Leonardo Da Vinci etc. etc. ) used to bring about a revolution across the globe. Its an article about the interdisciplinary skills for which we all have come to YIF. Its high time for each one of us to start thinking across their disciplines to understand the intricacies of life and how it can only be tackled through the adoption of inter-disciplinary approaches.

In order to help you in this journey, I would like to share something that I came across few years back while 'Googling' ( my favorite hobby :-) ) and since then has formed the basis of my inspiration. It's a concept called 'LA LIA FLIA'. We all know that everyone in this life needs inspiration to grow and survive in this ever competitive world and this might be the inspiration source for you in the years to come.

Do you know why most of the products, strategies, concepts in this world fail while only a few survive the test of time? As per the experts, the basic flaw lies in the adoption of DID (Design Inspired Design) pattern to find solutions to most of our encountered problems. Our thinking is often barred by thinking evolutionary while the
demand is revolutionary in nature.
Image Source: Laliaflia Blogspot

What I meant is that today most of the designs are just an up-gradation of the previous version or synthesis of two earlier existing designs. This design is not necessarily an art object. It is the source from where you draw your inspiration from. You could be an entrepreneur to think of a venture design, environmentalist to search for a sustainable design, or a technologist to make a tangible product design using this method. No matter which field you belong to, people often tend to get inspired from another design and this is what hampers their creativity. The need of the present moment is to move out of the shackles of taking inspiration from another existing design and think of 'LIFE as an inspiration' for you. It would sound philosophical but that is the secret of creativity in every domain. I'm writing about this as part of my first article for the Arts Clubs @YIF because I feel all of us (fellows) need to think about the life as a whole and to draw inspiration from it.

Remember what Mr. Arjun Malhotra, Co-Founder HCL Technologies said in his YIF talk that 'Don't become a slave of what you create'. I guess what he meant was that don't be bounded by the DID concept of narrowing down your creativity from earlier created products. Do you know why did Mr. Anoop Prakash, CEO- India, Harley Davidson say "Better know your surrounding where you work." in his YIF Talk? Was he trying to communicate something more than the communication skills business? To me certainly yes, he was. Getting to know your surroundings helps you to find your innovation. Examples are numerous (even if we take our roughly 2 months @ YIF) but they all try to make us visible a link that connects it all. Whether it is Venkatesh Sir teaching us Polya concept of getting to the basics or Sir Robert Swan talking about sustainibility, they all are tied to a common thread of thinking about something called 'LIFE'. You would wonder where does 'LA LIA FLIA' concept fit into this but this is what the concept is all about.

LA LIA FLIA asks you to get down to the basics and draw your inspiration from your life rather than copy pasting others ideas. This method talks about Life Inspired Design (LID). The method does not asks you to borrow ideas from your life but follow the principles of abstraction (Visit Laliaflia site for further details).

You would have heard various poets like William Wordsworth drawing their inspiration from the Mother Nature. This Design (their poetry) Inspiration process comes under the category of Nature Inspired Design (NID) which all of you would have surely heard of but LID is a much bigger concept and thus NID just forms a small subset of the same.

Do you know from where did Steve Jobs took his inspiration from? Watch the video below and you will know that his computer inspiration came from bicycles.

Source: Youtube

In a nutshell, any design be it from social, environmental, economic, political, cultural etc derives inspiration from any of the three methods:
DID (Design Inspires Design) - What probably 99% of the people follow - an evolutionary concept
NID (Nature Inspires Design) - A super-set of DID from where some of the early revolutionaries drew their inspiration from.
LID (Life Inspires Design) - Need of the hour. The revolutionary concept. A superset of NID.

LA LIA FLIA method as per their creators is based on LID. So whenever you don't find any inspiration just look around yourself and your inspiration would be out there in your own life.

As the figure on the left shows 'LaLiaFlia' design method is based on three concepts where each one evolves from the other in ascending order i.e Living Artefacts (every species, process and concepts) inspires Life (LIA) and Life Inspired Artefacts further motivates us to think about Future (FLIA). Its a flow to appreciate the fact that all creatures are equal be it Humans, Plants or Animals. Having this basic understanding helps us to easily seek our inspiration.

Watch the video below to know about 'LALIAFLIA' design method.

Source: Youtube

Let us consider another contemporary example of TED. We all know about TED talks and are inspired after listening from these talks. But have you ever thought from where did TED Talks take its inspiration from? Mr. Jay Walker, curator of the Library of Human Imagination says," TED is all about patterns in the cloud." (See the video below where he tells about the same at the end). Did you find any link?... No! Think again... Cloud... Nature.. Life.. Design.. Inspiration... TED.... do you see a chain forming? So it is time for all of us to question the inspiration of those who inspire you. For you earth would be an inspiration but what had inspired earth? Its time to dwell under your inspirations (if any) rather than blindy following them.
Source: TED talks

Look at the picture drawn below. It shows how Charles Darwin took inspiration for his Evolutionary theory from the TREE, Leonardo Da Vinci from BIRD, Muhammad Ali from BEE and BUTTERFLY (his fighting strategies) etc. These all are just food for thought for you to start thinking. Till the next time we meet just keep thinking What is your 'LA LIA FLIA'?

Credit: The ideas expressed in the article are from the 'LA LIA FLIA' website and its blog. For further information you can visit www.laliaflia.com.

P.S. : This is my first blog entry ever written when I thought to write about something close to my heart :-) ... So, guys and gals all your comments are most welcome... I know I am no good writer and thus my sincere apologies for my ineffectiveness in writing. As long as I have got across my point clearly, I would be more than happy. Welcome to the ARTBUG club of YIF. Enjoy :-)

-Rolly Seth, YIF'12


  1. Hi Rolly,

    The post was indeed thought provoking,i had been thinking on the ideas of NID and LID. A lot of apple applications and innovations are inspired by LID... In-fact steve-jobs often visited the hare-Rama hare-Krishna temple for inspiration, his passion for calligraphy can be seen in the font database of Apple OS. Any ways... keep writing

  2. Sooper Cool Rolly! Hmm Cloudie is something LID :P Man cool I didnt know abt the LALIAFIA... the code and decode. The Assasins Creed - Brotherhood the entire game was projected implementing the creations and inventions of DaVinci, they got inspired by the art pieces (DID), and created the feel of you experiencing the inventions, say Davinci's flight, Guns etc.

    Cool Stuff.. I might have to think of something sooper creative from scratch... much big.. BiiiiG...