It all started with The Shallows.
Me and my brother love a good shark movie and this one was epic. Afterwards, we were talking about that brutal, no-nonsense ninety-minute run-time being a significant strength; a constraint that fuels creativity rather than dissipates it.
The 99-Minute Movie Club was born. It's an aesthetic principle that makes a lot of sense. Take this experiment, conducted with American school children for a creativity competition called ‘Odyssey of the Mind’. One activity gives students the plain image of a clock face with a red second hand. The instruction is: Replace the second hand with something unique. The aim is to make the clock more interesting and unusual.
Here’s the interesting part. Not all responses were generated under the same conditions.
Twig, toothpick, spoon, oar, needle
Witch’s finger, dinosaur’s tail
Stick insect, giraffe, Angelina Jolie’s right leg
As you can see, the responses generated with constraints are - I think - significantly better those generated in complete freedom.
Constraint fuels creativity. For further proof, see Shallows, The.