Writing a book is a process with ups and downs. Sometimes you even have to skip a part that originally felt as an up. This was for example the case with a prologue that we really liked, but finally did nor make it into the book. But… you can read it down here… And scroll down to check out some more deleted scenes!
It’s Friday, 13th of April 1970, a completely different era. Even we were not born yet. The spaceship Apollo 13 is almost 55 hours and 55 minutes on the way and now about 320,000 kilometers away from planet earth. It’s the fifth moon mission and Apollo 13 is going to perform a third moon landing. And then captain Jim Lovell suddenly hears a pretty loud bang. Kaboeeemm! He looks at Jack Swigert and sees that this is not a joke of his colleague. Alarm systems start to beep, warning lights flicker. Swigert contacts Houston and speaks out a few legendary words:
“Okay Houston, I believe we’ve had a problem here.”
And a problem they had. In the minutes that follow it becomes clear that it’s not a malfunction in the equipment. An explosion has occurred and the spaceship is pretty damaged. As oxygen escapes into space and electrical energy levels drop rapidly, the purpose of this mission changes. That goal was to land on the moon but switches towards trying to return alive on planet earth.
It soon becomes clear that the crew can only survive if they save a lot of power. This can be done by switching to the moon landing module of the spaceship. The course is corrected to allow Apollo 13 to fly around the moon. The gravity of the moon then gives the spaceship a considerable move towards the earth. On board it’s now freezing cold and the astronauts hardly have any water to drink. Dehydration is lurking.
And then there appears to be another problem. Lovell and Swigert are not just with the two of them. There is a third astronaut on board: Fred Haise. The moon landing module is designed to keep two men alive for about two and a half days. And now there are three men who must be able to continue breathing for four days. There is still enough oxygen, but with each breath the carbon dioxide level rises. The composition of air in the module is out of balance. Soon the crew will poison themselves with carbon dioxide, get blackouts and eventually become unconscious and later even die.
From the control center in Houston, the task is to extract additional carbon dioxide filters from the other part of the spacecraft and connect them. However, these appear to have a completely different shape and size. A way will have to be found with minimal means to connect a round and a square connection. And soon too.
The film Apollo 13 from 1995 paints a beautiful picture of how things should have gone in Houston afterwards. We see how a group of technicians lock themselves up in a room and throws copies of all the parts available in the spaceship on the table. A few hours later they put a makeshift solution on the desk of flight director Gene Kranz. A construction of hoses of space suits, cardboard, storage bags and duct tape, that’s what it has to happen with. A few hundred thousand kilometers away, astronauts will have to recreate the rapidly designed prototype step by step. If they ever want to set foot on earth again.
On April 17th, 1970, at 18:07:41 UTC, the landing capsule of Apollo 13 lands after a nearly 143-hour flight in the Pacific. The three men on board are still breathing.
We love the story of Apollo 13. We especially like it because there are so many beautiful lessons to be learned. Great, basic life lessons, such as that making mistakes is a part of every creative process. Or that people are infinitely more creative than they usually think themselves. That courage and determination are important ingredients of the creative process. And that you can create fantastic solutions with minimal resources, or at least create groundbreaking prototypes. But also smaller lessons. That you should never leave home without a role duct tape for example…
We also see a nice metaphor in this story. You as a spaceship are on your way to your retirement. The digital revolution is the explosion that takes place. The disappearance of oxygen is the disappearance of employment by this revolution that makes everything else. You will have to do something to survive and beat the robot.
Because we believe that we are entering a new era at the moment. A pretty exciting time. The Age of being creative or unemployed…
We explain the how and why of this era after the introduction. And in the chapters we give you the tools to succeed in this new era. Then we promise you that a day will come that you say:
“Okay Houston, I believe we have a solution here.”
Deleted scene 2
This piece of text was skipped from the chapter where we discuss brainstorming. To be honest, we don’t remember why exactly. Probably because we thought we had to much personal stories from Joris’s side, not good for the balance in the book. We still love the example, though.
Joris: “I think the production of the Graceland album by Paul Simon is always a good example of a good, very long stretched brainstorming session. That album has permanently changed the music. In the diverging phase, in a week or two, Simon has practically pushed all presuppositions from his music overboard and recorded countless musical ideas in a South African studio. In the converging phase, he spent a small year in American studios fiddling, puzzling and planning. Everyone thinks that the magic of creativity takes place when diverging. That is not true. The magic comes from the blood, the sweat and the tears of convergence. “
Deleted scene 3
This piece of text is another personal story we had to skip. The reason was that our publisher suggested the first part of the book had become a lot less to the point than the next parts. So, we decided to rewrite it. The number of 40,000 referred to the situation in our home country only.
Coen: “In the old days, and by that I mean like 35 years ago, I really wanted to be an accountant. Counting money was the nicest thing I did, besides setting things on fire… So what did I do when I had a birthday? Ask money, as much as possible. I especially liked those green notes of five guilders, they were the bomb. And then, at the end of my birthday I counted those notes, every time again and again. And then? Well, then I went to the bank after the weekend and desposit my money. And that was then noted down on a savings book. And everyone actually did that. That is why the bank hall was so big and often so busy. And that’s why many people worked there.”
But, have you been in a bank lately? Oh no? Who is? And for what? Did you know that 40,000 jobs have disappeared in this sector since 2011?
Deleted scene 4
We initially had a preface in the book. And an intro. And a prologue. The problem was Coen liked them all and Joris just thought it was too much. Over time it became the most discussed part of the book. None of us really won this discussion, as in the end our publisher suggested to rewrite the first 40 or so pages. Friendship saved :).
We don’t like rules and procedures. We like a little bit of rebellion more. But what the heck, let us now just keep to some conventions. After a sweet preface, a reading guide and even a dazzling prologue, we simply continue with an introduction. And then, yes, then we immediately come to the core.
Another book about creativity? But aren’t there a lot already? True! Yes, there are quite a few books about Creativity already. In recent years we have already read a lot together, some just browsed through and some we quickly passes away with a friendly smile because they were though to read. Some of these books also served as inspiration to write this book. It always tickled us a bit. We missed something. What then? Well, we missed this book.
We missed a book that gives you insights and offers real tools to be or become more creative. A book that gives you an insight into why creativity is so crucial right now, a book which can really activate your creativity right away, and even more importantly, a book that you immediately use for any random problem or challenge. Even while reading this book you can get started and really make a difference.
And believe us, you can. In fact, you have to. How so? Well, because we are firmly convinced of the title of this book: Creativity Works!