Creativity comes half a second away from death

I don’t normally stray into the area of patents and inventions, as this is covered so well by my colleague Steve van Dulken on his Patent Search Blog.

However, whilst drifting off to sleep recently, listening to John Ronson on his BBC Radio 4 show, I heard an interview with Yoshiro Nakamatsu, who claims to hold the world record for number of inventions, at over three thousand. He has a target of six thousand before he dies at the age of 144 years old.

His technique for coming up with new ideas awoke me from my slumbers. The closer he is to death, the more creative his mind gets.

“I have a special way of holding my breath and swimming underwater-that’s when I come up with my best ideas.” Interviewed by Chic Thompson for Creativity at Work.

Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu holds more than 3,000 patents, more than double the 1,093 held by Thomas Edison. The next closest competitor holds just 400. For the past seven straight years, Dr. Nakamatsu has won the grand prize at the International Exposition of Inventors in New York City.

Dr. Nakamatsu invented the floppy disk and licensed the technology to IBM. “Does he get a royalty on the millions of disks sold every year?” I wondered; I discovered later that he does.

Among his many inventions are the compact disc, the compact disc player, the digital watch, a unique golf putter, and a water-powered engine.

Apparently, the key to his creativity is the lack of oxygen:

How do you “trigger” an invention?
A lack of oxygen is very important.

A lack? Isn’t that dangerous?
It’s very dangerous. I get that Flash just 0.5 sec before death. I remain under the surface until this trigger comes up and I write it down with a special waterproof plexiglas writing pad I invented.

Do you do that a lot? Putting yourself in that kind of situation to come up with a new invention?
Of course.  This is the Dr. Nakamatsu method.
From an inteview with Brainsturbator.

Somehow, I don’t think I will be reommending this technique to my clients.

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