Paolo is a designer with over 14 years experience working across mixed disciplines including graphic, retail and interior design. View www.four-design.co.uk for project examples.
Also exploring creativity through workshops for educational and corporate environments as www.creative-discovery.co.uk
Recently I have been working on various ideas for workshop sessions for Creative Discovery, looking at different ways to incorporate creativity into different environments. Whilst doing this I have had many discussions with colleagues from both creative and non-creative sectors about what creativity actually is. Here are some thoughts:
The myth of creativity
There is a common perception that some people are creative and some aren’t. This is simply not true. Creativity can include many things:
- an ability to think in new ways,
- technical skills developed using computer programs.
Being creative does not just lend itself to the traditional creative industries. We are all capable of being creative so long as we are passionate and motivated to achieve a final solution for a given project.
There is plenty of research that explores how emotions spur creativity. It is often said that writers and artists whom have produced works of genius came to their ‘masterpieces’ through dark periods of depression and sadness. Yet the flip side to this is that many people are happiest when they think of a creative idea, this is certainly true for myself and many people I have spoken to for this article. I would say we are the most happiest when we are excited about the creative work we are doing.
Creativity at work
The last few years has seen more and more organisations focusing on how creativity and innovation can improve productivity. I believe that within conditioned work environments creativity is often stifled, individuals have less opportunities to express their creativity the larger the company. This may also be due to time pressure. Whilst some people consider they work better under a deadline pressure, others feel it can reduce creativity as they are unable to fully connect with a project. Yet perhaps it’s a lack of focus that people struggle with rather than a lack of time?
Can creativity be taught? In terms of an educational setting, many design courses have modules that focus solely on idea generation techniques, enabling students to understand how design studios work. These modules are often taught in a formal step-by-step way. Getting students to learn in a non-formal way is the key to creativity. It is essential that students look elsewhere for inspiration and how they can develop their own ‘creative style’. In any business setting, creativity can be used to develop innovative solutions so long as employees are given the time and opportunity to express themselves.
As Louis R. Mobley said, “we don’t learn to be creative. We must become creative people”.
I also posted the questions via Twitter and received some interesting responses from individuals across various occupations. The questions were, What is creativity? and What does creativity mean to you? I continue to receive responses, here are some of the comments:
@AnjleeB Creativity is the ability to make something from nothing, to make connections that no one else has made before, to conceive of that which is only obvious in hindsight.
@yenyenteh Inspiration and awareness fuel creativity – you can’t create in a bubble, you need to look and experience.
@WilliamAstbury Creativity is expressions of ones inspirations.
@ClareAmpersand Creativity is alchemy. The generation of something from nothing.
@brandguardian Creativity is tapping into the truest part of the self, and having the courage to ride with the results no matter what the reactions from others. Fear tends to prohibit by adding attachment to the creative output. Think about it, all the greatest creatives were often vilified for their work and their messages only revered sometimes decades after their death. In summary, courage and truth are really essential ingredients when cooking up any kind of creative recipe.
@OnecircleComms Creativity is the freedom to not do things in the same way day in day out, it’s the search for something new – life would be dull without it.
@SpyOnDesign Creativity is simply firing through new paths,exercising the imagination, and doing brain gym.
@naomitimperley Creativity is having a passion no matter what it is and running with it – you can be creative in many forms.
@AllieJohns Creativity for me comes from deep within and is driven by a passion to find ever more ways to connect, engage and understand.
@PopArtRockGirl Creativity is an emotion like fear, happiness, pain etc. I also believe that all people can experience it, have the potential to harness it and achieve meaningful things.
@designconscious Creativity is like the spice of life – I can’t imagine how bland our lives would be without it!
@paulcoxfings Creativity is a fine line that can be a thing of beauty or a thing of hatred. Creative simplicity rules every time.
@rebelgonebad Creativity means being able to bend with the flow, accept it on the chin, yet still get your way!?
@Transmission_GM Long hours and a sore back! Beyond that creativity is a basic human need through which to express your ideas and passions
@iwkya1 Creativity to me is drawing inspiration from something, and expressing it your own unique way.
@muoophotography Doing what you enjoy and having the confidence to explore new ideas.
@Dreamwalls Creativity is about expression being free to let your imagination go wild *being creative *
@sequinnedsheep Creativity means joy, happiness and satisfaction to me.
@iembolisim Creativity; turning original thought into action.
@LongFellaPoet It’s what separates the human race from the rest of the earth’s species. Now we’ll need it more than ever!
@lucylepchani Creativity is developing valid skills in a specific medium, immersion in that, taking risks, audience/witness, feedback, repeat cycle…
@wordgeeksarah The ability to process reality, to extrude the comedy from tragedy.
@Antony_Daniels Creativity is the ability to develop novel and often blue sky solutions across all disciplines.
@grafco Creativity is a constant, a gift of nature to everyone. To me it’s quite a method to see things, solving problems, living.
@BadiniCreateam Creativity is a human muscle creativity means commitment, fever, curiosity, sharing.
@PAGDCol Creativity produces solutions, during an observational period which helps communication.
@PaulaTrovalusci To me creativity is the freedom of the mind, the food that feeds my soul. It’s an output of energy that materialize into something unique.
@_SamFlynn Creativity means something original that has not been seen before!
@_InMovement Creativity is having the space, time and the right playmates to follow my inner drive.
@Niall_cspace Creativity is a freedom of thought and innovation is making that thought into something valuable.
@Dave_Kirkwood Creativity is the noise we make to mask the continuous dark whisper of our own mortality.
@J_Longmore Creativity is about having an agile mind; thinking beyond the expected and the ‘everyday’. For me I would see it as a general way to approach life, rather than a tool to apply to a certain situation.
@wseabrook Creativity = life = everything!
@PRAgencyOne Creativity is original thought. Simple as that.
@petemorley It’s a way of approaching a problem and sticking a price on it.
If you would like to contribute by answering the questions, please email: