Marvin Johnson is an acclaimed Scientist and a prolific inventor for Philips Petroleum with 327 patents issued to him over a career spanning half a century. In an interview with Fast Company, he shares his secrets for research creativity. Briefly,
1) Enjoy problem solving: As an engineer, he never met a problem he did not want to solve.
2) Focus on solving smaller research problems: His research revolved around solving smaller and more focused problems relying on his strengths of inquisitiveness, pragmatism and relentless perseverance.
“When I approach a problem, it’s not enough to discover the nature of the solution. I want to apply it. I know if I keep at it until I can describe everything with numbers and equations, then I will really understand it.”
3) Perspiration more than Inspiration: The research process entails primarily a diligent and patient approach to problem solving with eventual success, rather than expecting flash of genius to come up with brilliant solutions.
The entire interview can be accessed here