What's the big deal about creativity?

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Image by alexdelaforest.com via Flickr

Let’s face it, people use their creativity everyday, even you.  You create mash-ups, make new decisions, use your imagination, combine existing elements into new patterns and relationships and more, and not necessarily because you want to.

As conditions continue to change more rapidly than ever you adapt, we all adapt.  For example with the growth of smart phone usage, businesses are directing efforts to create new ways to keep in touch with their markets.

So what’s the big deal about creativity? Everybody uses it everyday, and has ever since we had brains large enough to process new thinking and generate ideas. It’s nothing new.

What is new in creativity is the focus and underbelly of creative efforts.

Focus: In the recent past, we looked for ideas to streamline, create greater efficiencies, and do what we did, only better.  Now, we are looking for ideas that, in addition to our heritage, move things forward and embrace the technologies that only began to emerge a few years ago, to create new futures.  (See thelightsinthetunnel.com for a scenario for where it all might be going. Also, you might want to take a look at What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly and You are not a Gadget by Jason Lanier for an alternative, push back view.)

Underbelly: It’s a dizzying path, so, another new focus is how people feel.  New research is pointing to the importance of emotion on people being able to generate new ideas and new decisions.

Why creativity is important in business has been cited by the IBM study of CEO’s last summer and in Newsweek’s coverage as well.  There’s no need to convince anyone of the need to promote competence in using skills to develop their natural creative capacity (or inventive capacity as businesses refer to it, preferring to stay away from using the ‘creativity’ word) for innovation to occur.

How to move forward with your creativity

  • Believe everyone can generate new ideas and make new decisions
  • Acknowledge that different people use different approaches for both
  • Support an environment that appreciates and leverages the different strengths people bring to the table
  • Learn structures and systems that positively channel create freedom

Shameless self-promotion

The work I’m doing with clients these days supports those four points above.  When I enter a room, a lecture hall, or an auditorium I already know everyone present is creative, whether they acknowledge it or not.  When I tweet or update my Facebook status the same holds. It’s amazing, rewarding and inspiring to experience the resulting lifted spirits and people’s concrete new actions and directions.  Cracking open new thinking to create new futures; turbo-charging the power of creative imagination to make a difference.

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