What is creativity and what makes it a vital part of the change-making process?

Depending on who is talking, the definition of creativity can change. Some say creativity is independence, the ability to do things you’d like to do. Others believe that creativity is a unique state of mind, the ability to see things differently than others.

Creativity can also be viewed as an individual with a chameleon-like ability to change in a changing environment. Another perspective is that creativity can be likened to the secret of a cockroach’s staying power over millions of years; being adaptive and being able to endure over time.

There are some people who believe that nothing is new, creativity is therefore the ability to rearrange existing variables into new combinations. Others believe the complete opposite, that creativity is in fact creating or making something that has never existed before. It can also be seen as something that is inexplicable, like a bolt of lightning that seemingly comes out of nowhere.

Yet others believe that creativity is merely a result of painstakingly hard work, like the trial and error endured by the Wright Brothers in creating the first airplane. As Thomas Edison once said, “Creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”

However you choose to define creativity, the good news is that all of us are creative.

Defining creativity

Creativity is an inborn human characteristic that can be nourished, cultivated, and raised to extraordinary outcomes in almost anything that is attempted. Though it cannot be seen, creativity is as much a part of anyone as any other part of the body. What matters the most, is not how it is defined but rather how it is used.

Young boy concentrating hard and using legos to build.

As children, creativity is encouraged and thus it flourishes, allowing imaginations to continually create new ideas, objects, and even worlds. It’s contagious, and parents often find themselves being swept into their universe of make-believe. This youthful surge of creativity seems endless and leaves adults in awe of what a young mind is able to create.

For whatever reason, adults lose that sense of freedom for the imagination and can fall into the trap of suppressing a child’s creativity out of concern that it will go too far, or that the child will be out of touch with reality. Adults value practicality, we exercise logic and judgment at the expense of the imagination.

What’s the problem with that?

Anything that we do is based on established customs, precedents, and historical or current events. In the absence of these precedents, new challenges leave us perplexed and uncertain of what to do. While scientific research on creativity is wide-ranging, diverse, and difficult to quantify, we can draw a few broad conclusions:

Creativity is not a gift for a chosen few. Everyone is born with creativity; not all in the same amounts or types. We use it extensively during childhood and as we become adults, we use less than a fraction of our creative potential on a daily basis.
Creativity has little connection to IQ, gender, race, or any other demographic factor. Most people can tap into their natural creativity by learning a few basic processes and skills.

Suppressing natural creativity

Our greatest learning and creativity growth occurs between birth and age five. In these primitive years, we question, experiment, explore, welcome new experiences, and express what we feel and think. As we age, most of us undergo a conditioning process as we mature that subconsciously suppresses our creativity.

Creativity and your business

The amazing thing about human creativity is that it never actually goes away, it can be triggered to flourish with the right mindset and tools.

Creativity is an asset to organizations. It is the pathway to innovation that propels businesses to thrive and stay ahead of the competition. Over the years, Basadur has coached creativity and the innovation process by allowing individuals to unearth an inner tool that unequivocally adds value and fuels an organizational culture of creative thought and change.

To learn more about innovation and how to capitalize on the possibilities that change has to offer, visit www.basadur.com.