Creativity, the great unlearned.

Creativity is a real buzzword in blogs theses days, 10 things that you need to know about being creative, 14 things you didn't know about being creative and 33 ways to boost your creativity to name but a few.  What is considered creative? Why as business owners do we need to be creative?  There are some interesting facts, figure and science behind creativity so read on McDuff.

What is Creativity?

'the use of imagination, original ideas to create something'

The key word for me here is 'original'. The shocking news here is that nothing is original. Austin Kleon's book 'Steal Like an Artist' refers to Jonathan Letham who said that 'when people call something original nine times out of ten they just don't know the references or the sources involved'.  What all artist understand is that nothing comes from nowhere, everything that we do creatively is built on what came before.

Some might argue that creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality or the ability to perceive the world in new ways,  to find hidden patterns and to make connections between what first appears to be unconnected ideas and thoughts and create solutions. 

Who is Creative?

In 1968 George Land conducted a study to investigate the creativity of 5 year olds.  The test was originally devised for NASA to test the creativity of engineers in the recruiting process for the space program. 1500 children took part in the study and the results indicated that 98% of the children fell into the genius category. Intrigued by this Land then re assessed the same children at 10 years old and then again at 15.  He repeated the study on 250 000 adults.

5 years   98% passed at genius level

10 years  30% passed at genius level

15 years 12% passed at genius level

250 000 adults 2% passed at genius level

George Land concluded that 'non creative behaviour is learned.'  We are all born with a creative mind but our education system, which was designed in the industrial revolution over 200 years ago, is to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.   We all have the capacity to be creative it is just that we have unlearned how to use it. So in answer to the question about who is creative the resounding answer is that everyone can be creative it just needs unlocking.      

Can Creativity be Retaught? 

Yes but it is not so much retaught as reawakened.  Good ideas come from joining the dots.  We have already discussed 'original' being born out of combining what we already know into something different.  We need to train our brains to think differently.   Thinking differently we need to change our environment and the people that we come into contact with. These people think differently to you and visa versa so different approaches will be taken to solve the same problem. This is creative thinking.  We are not so much learning as undoing your 'learned to be non creative behaviour'.  All of our lives we learn to be good workers, turn up and follow instruction and whilst I am not denying that a certain degree of order is required we also need to step out and think differently re-invent, recombine, rewrite.

'If you free yourself from the burden of trying to be completely original and try to stop making something out of nothing we can embrace influence instead of running away from it'  Austin Kleon - Steal Like An Artist

Why is creative thinking important to your business?   Because it is the soul of your business, how you come up with new products services, solve problems, how you encourage your workforce, how you organise your cashflow, how you negotiate the best deal.

We are all born creative but it is educated out of us but it is easily relearned, give up trying to be completely original embrace influence and join up the dots.  That is being creative.