‘Creativity is intelligence having fun.’ —Albert Einstein
It’s been a week for revisiting my creative side. I got the paintbrushes, pens, pencils etc out of mothballs and decided to take an idea, that latched onto my brain from talking to some friends on-line, and be creative with it. Maybe if I ever finish it I’ll share...
Here are some old examples of me being creative with my art...
In Web to Success there is a section on creativity...
‘I truly believe that everyone is creative. Even if you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, you do. There are no excuses; it’s part of being human. We all just use it in different ways. It’s personal to us, and there’s no right or wrong way and no mistakes to be made. To some, those with a logical mind, the concept of creativity can be a mystery, but it’s one worth solving.’
‘Creativity helps us to understand ourselves on the journey to being self-aware. It can also act as a motivator and stress reducer.’
‘We should nurture the results of our creativity, whatever they turn out to be and remember there’s no right or wrong here! Just be creative.’
What is Creativity?
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. If you have ideas but don't act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.
“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.” – Rollo May,
What is Innovation? Innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product, service or process that creates value for business, government or society. Some people say creativity has nothing to do with innovation— that innovation is a discipline, implying that creativity is not. Well, I disagree. Creativity is also a discipline, and a crucial part of the innovation equation. There is no innovation without creativity. The key metric in both creativity and innovation is value creation.
Creativity and Economic Development: Creativity is the Most Crucial Factor for Future Success.
The Creativity Gap. A 2012 Adobe study on creativity shows 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society, yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.
Can creativity be learned? The short answer is yes. A study by George Land reveals that we are naturally creative and as we grow up we learn to be uncreative. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed. Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking. You can learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesing information. Learning to be creative is akin to learning a sport. It requires practice to develop the right muscles, and a supportive environment in which to flourish.
Studies by Clayton M. Christensen and his researchers uncovered The Innovators DNA: Your ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but also a function of five key behaviours that optimize your brain for discovery:
Associating: drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields
Questioning: posing queries that challenge common wisdom
Observing: scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors to identify new ways of doing things
Networking: meeting people with different ideas and perspectives
Experimenting: constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge.
Sir Richard Branson has a mantra that runs through the DNA of Virgin companies. The mantra is A-B-C-D. (Always Be Connecting the Dots). Creativity is a practice, and if you practice using these five discovery skills every day, you will develop your skills in creativity and innovation.
Overcoming myths about creativity. Beliefs that only special, talented people are creative (and you have to be born that way) diminish our confidence in our creative abilities. The notion that geniuses such as Shakespeare, Picasso and Mozart were `gifted’ is a myth, according to a study at Exeter University. Researchers examined outstanding performances in the arts, mathematics and sports, to find out if “the widespread belief that to reach high levels of ability a person must possess an innate potential called talent.”
Fostering Creativity at Work: Rules of the Garage. Follow these simple rules and you will foster a culture of creativity and innovation: These were defined by HP, which in fact started in a garage.
Believe you can change the world. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever. Know when to work alone and when to work together. Share – tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues. No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage.) The customer defines a job well done. Radical ideas are not bad ideas. Invent different ways of working. Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage. Believe that together we can do anything. Invent.
Seven Habits of Highly Creative People
If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative. Make a habit of these seven practices, and you will be highly creative in your field:
1. Prepare the ground. Creativity requires an absorbed mind, a relaxed state of focus and attention. Give yourself the time and space you need to get completely absorbed in the zone of creativity and inspiration. Let the desire to create come from the pure pleasure of creative expression. If you worry about being perfect, you may never begin.
2. Plant seeds for creativity. We amplify what we think about most. Put your attention on what you want to create, not on complaints. Set an intention to produce the results you desire.
3. Live in the question. It’s been said that at the age of 5, children ask 120 questions a day, at age 6 they ask only 60 questions a day, and at the age of 40, adults ask 4 questions a day. We adults need to embrace “beginner’s mind,” and ask questions, instead of trying to find immediate answers. Pay attention to questions other people ask, especially those from artists, scientists, and thought leaders. Collect questions you find compelling.
4. Feed your brain. Be curious and follow your nose. Get interested in something and it will later provide you with a goldmine of ideas if you learn to make connections between people, places and things that would not ordinarily be connected. Combining ideas, and making connections are key practices of creativity employed by artists, designers, and scientists.
5. Experiment & explore. Edison was a both a prolific inventor and innovator, producing over 1,093 patents. He was also a master at learning from failed experiments. When he died in 1931 he left behind 3,500 notebooks containing details of his ideas and thoughts. If you follow your curiosity, experiment with ideas, and learn from your mistakes, the quality of your creativity will vastly improve.
6. Replenish your creative stock. Joni Mitchell describes her replenishing process as field rotation. When she needs a break, she switches form singing and songwriting to painting.
7. The secret to liberating your creativity. While there is no magic bullet that will liberate your creativity, it can be helpful to remember how you played as a child. What absorbed you to the extent that you lost track of time? Your child’s play provides the clue to your creativity, your talents and your passion. What connections can you make from lessons you have learned at play, that you can apply to your work?
Creativity takes on many forms in business, art, design, education and science. When we express our creativity in these domains, we have the ability to make life and work a work of art.
George Land’s Creativity Test – Excerpt from article.
In 1968, George Land conducted a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old who were enrolled in a Head Start program. This was the same creativity test he devised for NASA to help select innovative engineers and scientists. The assessment worked so well he decided to try it on children. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age. The results were astounding.
Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98% Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30% Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12% Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%
“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”
Why aren’t adults as creative as children? For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.
Can Creativity be Taught? Yes, creativity skills can be learned. Not from sitting in a lecture, but by learning and applying creative thinking processes.
Creativity: Why Bother? 10 Benefits of Expressing Your Creativity
As a child, you may have yearned to play the piano professionally, to act on Broadway, to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Perhaps you mentioned your aspirations to someone and were met with laughter or the assurance that there was no money in it. You swallowed your creative dreams and satisfied yourself with listening to music on the radio, to reading books or watching movies. How often have our creative selves been swept to the sidelines, to being the observer? We internalize the belief that we don’t have what it takes to make it big, and of course we don’t because we have hardly tried.
Its time to go for it. There is no proof that you will get rich, famous, or even produce anything worthwhile. What you do know is that ignoring this urge to create isn’t making it go away. More and more people are heeding the call from within themselves to act upon their creative urges. We have tons of ideas for stories, for songs, for decorating or creating in our homes, gardens, workplaces. We sense that there is something behind this creative urge, that expressing ourselves creatively may be the missing piece to a fulfilled life.
Creative expression, whether through mundane means or through art, is worth the effort. I coach writers and creative types, and have seen the difference in my clients’ lives when they are expressing themselves. I have compiled a list of benefits of expressing creativity that myself and others have experienced. Added up, they amount to a lot of benefits that might not make you a lot of money, but instead can give you a richer life.
1. Expanded sense of time. Countless artists have discussed the experience of timelessness that one encounters in the creative zone. Time is limitless when you are in the creative ‘zone.’ Strangely enough, when you give time to creative pursuits, you gain time. Who couldn’t use the feeling of more time?
2. Freedom. Creativity invites messiness and exploration. Here’s an opportunity to return to that feeling of being a child, to not know, to not be ‘good’, smart, the expert.
3. Enhanced relationships. Many people fear that if they begin living their creativity, then their relationships and other priorities will suffer. They won’t want to drag themselves away from the creative zone. However, when we are actively creating, we feel better about our relationships. We tend to be more generous to others. We have more to give because we have answered our urge to create.
4. Living integrity. When we are actively working on our projects, we honor our innate creativity. We live the belief that creativity does matter. This feels better than wishing we were writing, or talking about writing, but not doing it.
5. Save money. Expressing yourself can control the urge to impulse buy. Do you ever find yourself shopping just for something to do? Expressing yourself creatively can often fill the need to shop for the heck of it. Save money and do something creative instead of buying something you don’t really need or want.
6. Energetic, lighter quality to life. Call it a good mood. Call it a natural high. When we’ve done our creative work, we gain energy for our other responsibilities.
7. Connection with other creative people. When we are creating, we are connected to all of those who have gone before us and those who work now in the challenging but rewarding field of artistic creativity. What a gift in a world where we feel more and more isolated from each other.
8. Faith and confidence in our impulses. When we create, we recognize that our work does matter even if it is not published, displayed or presented to the public. We trust our instincts and gain confidence from expressing them. This confidence carries over into decisions we make in other areas of life.
9. Honoring the source of creative ideas. Where does creative inspiration come from? Some think it is God, or other divine source. We honor the gift of creative inspiration when we listen and act on our ideas, and by doing so, we are connecting to a deeper wisdom than our own.
10. Self-knowledge and discovery. Creativity is the route to authenticity. As we create, we plumb the depths of our being, accessing what we think and believe. You may be surprised at the resources, thoughts and impulses that you discover there.
These ten benefits do add up to more fulfillment and balance in life. I invite you to create a plan to match your creative vision. Give yourself the time and space to be a beginner. Write to me and let me know what benefits you have experienced. Have fun!
“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” — Edward de Bono
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” — Theodore Levitt
“When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” – Linda Naiman
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher
“The key question isn’t “What fosters creativity?” But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.” — Abraham Maslow
“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau
“Creativity is… seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.” — Michele Shea
“As competition intensifies, the need for creative thinking increases. It is no longer enough to do the same thing better . . . no longer enough to be efficient and solve problems” — Edward de Bono
“You write your first draft with your heart and you re-write with your head. The first key to writing is to write, not to think.” — Sean Connery
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent van Gogh
“Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they (creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless. The creative person is flexible; he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are.” — Frank Goble
“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein
“The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers.” — Jean Piaget
“The creative person is willing to live with ambiguity. He doesn’t need problems solved immediately and can afford to wait for the right ideas.” — Abe Tannenbaum
” Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things . . . Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” – Osho
“Every day is an opportunity to be creative – the canvas is your mind, the brushes and colours are your thoughts and feelings, the panorama is your story, the complete picture is a work of art called, ‘my life’. Be careful what you put on the canvas of your mind today – it matters.” — Innerspace
“It seems to be one of the paradoxes of creativity that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.” — George Kneller
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” –Osho
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pierce
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” Nikos Kazantzakis
“Life is trying things to see if they work.” – Ray Bradbury
“Truly creative people care a little about what they have done, and a lot about what they are doing. Their driving focus is the life force that surges in them now.” — Alan Cohen
“An artist paints, dances, draws, writes, designs, or acts at the expanding edge of consciousness. We press into the unknown rather than the known. This makes life lovely and lively.” — Julia Cameron
“A truly creative person rids him or herself of all self-imposed limitations.” — Gerald G. Jampolsky
“Creative power, is that receptive attitude of expectancy which makes a mold into which the plastic and as yet undifferentiated substance can flow and take the desired form.” — Thomas Troward
“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.” — George Lois