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Creative Types: Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh
By Carolyn Gregoire – The creative fuel behind the most powerful duo in the design world today is simple: Boredom.

For Austrian-born Stefan Sagmeister and native New Yorker Jessica Walsh, designers and creative directors of New York-based firm Sagmeister & Walsh, that shared creative restless has led to a collaboration based on the ethos that you can—and indeed, must—be free to follow your interests wherever they lead.

Boredom can be good for creativity—if you do it right. The upside of a restless mind is the fertile ground for creative exploration.

Sagmeister and Walsh embody a personality trait that psychologists have found to be at the very heart of creativity: openness to experience. Psychologists say that openness is the strongest and most consistent personality trait that predicts creative achievement in the arts and sciences.

Openness to experience speaks to our motivation to engage with ideas and emotions: to seek truth and beauty, excitement and novelty. The act of exploring often provides the raw material for true innovation.

People who are high in openness tend to be imaginative, curious, perceptive, artistic, introspective, and intellectual. They’re driven to explore their internal worlds of ideas, emotions, sensations, and fantasies and, outwardly, to constantly seek out and make meaning of new information and experiences.

Research has shown that those who are high in openness to experience actually benefit creatively from the experience of boredom—it leads them to generate more and better ideas—while those who are less open don’t experience the same creative benefits of boredom.

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“I love learning and doing new things,” says Walsh. “That keeps things fresh and constantly evolving.” more>


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