03/10/2017 06:30 BST | Updated 03/10/2017 06:30 BST

The iPhone Is Your Enemy

In a recent discussion with the website UNLIMITED, I recalled when I picked up the iPhone for the first time. It was clear to me that this shiny, attractive device had a huge future.

I was instantly struck by the thought this was going to be the most addictive device on the planet - more than friendship, more than love, more than anything else you could care to name.

Despite my fascination, I took a fateful decision that day - I would refuse to become addicted.



Today, a decade later, I have long since been proved right.

This month's unveiling of the iPhone X, and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will push the smartphone's popularity even further with worldwide sales of the smartphone reaching nearly 1.2 billion with no signs of demand slowing.

Its startling popularity, has also meant the iPhone has had a major consequence on our free time.

Figures out today show more than half of 16-75 year-olds in the UK use their smartphones while walking, rising to 75% for 16-24 year olds.

It means we are no longer present. We have lost our ability to observe.

Across the world, innovation is growing, yet our levels of creativity are going down.

The reasons are simple: the greater the distance we have from the crowd, and from social media, the clearer our thinking.

Creativity happens, when you have silence in your life - and boredom is the foundation of that creativity.

Today, as soon as we wait in a bar for someone, the first thing we do is get out our iPhone and do something with it - anything.

It is no longer acceptable to look outwardly anymore. So, when do we create, have creative thoughts and carve out a space for our thinking?

Often, I find time to think when I swim, it stimulates my writing and creates what I like to call - the water moment - the moment you are disconnected and have no strings attached.

Some people do the same while running, and others may have it in the shower - but a lot of people are simply not aware they are missing it.

It is also a quality increasingly missing from both our family lives and, particularly, the corporate world.

We are rarely present these days and that lack of presentness means we don't see things around us.

As a branding expert, I have worked with leading firms, including Lego, Pepsi and Nescafé, often spending up to 300 nights a year in stranger's homes to observe how they live as I work to discover the importance of every day actions in our lies.

Often, I find myself wondering how consistently buried, we have all become in our devices, a fact I noted in my New York Times best-seller Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends.

It's a decision that has long since vindicated my decision, taken long ago to purchase and persevere with, what is by today's standard's, a very dumb phone.

A very out-of-date Nokia 206.


Credit: Author's Own

As difficult as it is to break with any truly powerful addiction, if you value your creativity, I suggest you consider doing the same.

The full interview with Martin Lindstrom appears at