Don't Think You Are Creative? Think Again! A Different Look At The Meaning Of Creativity

Updated: Jan 4



When you see the word creativity, what do you think of? An art museum? Van Gogh? Mozart? Maybe you think it's a waste of time or that you’re not creative? While these statements are common, they aren’t correct.


Yes, creativity is often associated with art but that doesn't mean that creativity is all about being artistic. Nor does it mean that you’re not creative if you don’t draw, paint or design clothing. Everyone is inherently creative, we’ve possessed this power since we were born.


Engaging in the creative process has immense benefits. *Creativity:

  • boosts mental health

  • increases the ability to problem solve

  • improves comfortability with change and failure

  • embraces our curiosity

*for more details on the benefits of creativity - see our previous blog



Why is creativity important?

It may be easy to discount the importance of creativity. Why do we need creativity when we can search the internet for answers to our problems? But there is only so much we can look up online, and afterward, we still have to decide what to do with that information.


Adobe did a recent study on the state of creativity and reported that “research 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.”



Because of the personal, professional, and economic benefits Curiosity 2 Create takes creativity seriously and we believe it is absolutely essential that creativity be explored and practiced within our life no matter the age.


What exactly is creativity?

So with all that in mind, here is the standard definition of creativity, which has been acknowledged for over 25 years and goes back to 1953.


At first glance, this definition might not seem like it's talking about creativity at all. But one of the wonderful things about this definition is that it makes room for all kinds of creative expression in all sorts of disciplines.


It covers the creativity of individuals both young and old, at work and at home, novice, and expert, in fields that are traditionally associated with creativity as well as those that are not.



Let’s break down the definition:

  1. The production of - this may seem obvious, but being creative means you produced something that wasn't there before, or made things that were there even better. Maybe it’s a treehouse for your kids that they love to play in. Or a system you made up that helps you organize your pantry. Or maybe you found yourself in a predicament at work when you accidentally erased your project file before a deadline, and you responded by quickly and miraculously recrafting a new document that frankly was even better. These outcomes were all the result of some level of creativity.

  2. Something - points out that some sort of process takes place that results in some sort of outcome or product. If this wording seems vague, that is the point! The processes of an artist, an engineer, a marketing analyst, or a policymaker will all lead to a different kind of “something”. That something might be a physical product (a piece of art) or something more abstract (like a scientific theory). Whatever it is, to call the “something” creative there should be an aspect of it that is new in some way, meaning it didn’t exist before.

  3. Value - we aren’t talking about monetary value here - although that is always nice. Something creative can be valuable to society, to an organization, to your community, to your family, or perhaps just you. If you come across a piece of art that someone is throwing away, and you just fall in love with it, then that art has value to you personally. And that’s really all that matters, right? Also, if you spend six hours on a Saturday working on a poem that you never show anyone, you still might value how you were able to spend your time. Sometimes, the value is the process or experience. What’s important is that whatever you produce gives you satisfaction or pleasure, saves your job and reputation, or otherwise improves your situation in one way or another.


For many of us, our natural default is “I’m not creative.” Yet, when you contemplate this definition, you can see that this idea is completely false. All of us have produced something new and valuable.


Still, stuck?



Consider these examples:

  • As a graphic designer, you need to communicate for your client who they are and what they do, in an attractive and stylish way. The end result is a new website and that meets the needs of the client.

  • As a senior manager at a manufacturing plant, you are frustrated that costly mistakes often happen because of poor communication between teams. You analyze the process the teams are using and develop a new, more efficient protocol for communication that has high value: now everyone is informed when changes are made to complex processes, saving the company time and resources

  • As a high school student, you are involved in several activities and work part-time. You are feeling overwhelmed by your schedule and your “to-do list.” You decide it is time to figure out an organizational system that works for you. Knowing that you are a visual person you create a color-coded organization system for your classes, activities, and job. Now, it is easy to find what you need - when you need it. Plus, you can quickly see what needs to be done by when.

  • As a homeowner, you want to redecorate or renovate part of your house but have a limited budget. You do some research then decide to learn a new skill or two so you can do some of the work yourself instead of hiring someone. You dig a little more and realize there is a way to reuse things you already have, saving even more money. When your project is done, you have achieved a solution that is new (the whole point of redecorating, right?) and valuable to you, your family, and possibly your pet.

  • As a parent, you notice that your child is struggling to go to bed saying that he/she is afraid of the monsters under the bed. In order to help, you decide to create an anti-monster spray. You fill a spray bottle full of water, create a label, and tell your child that this solution will keep the monsters away. Before bed, you use the spray all around the room and reassure your child that the monsters will now stay away.


Creativity can be defined in a way that includes everyone. If you reflect on your day or week, we bet that you will notice ways that you were creative even if you didn’t realize it at the time. Celebrate that! Embrace that!


In future blogs, we will get into some of the ways you can develop your creativity because the other good news is that creativity is a trainable skill!


At Curiosity 2 Create, one of our primary goals is to help people recognize, celebrate, and enhance their creativity. Given the benefits of creativity (link to the previous blog), everyone has something to gain by building their creative thinking skills. In all our workshops and training sessions, we are dedicated to using proven, evidence-based methods so you can become your most creative self! Follow us on social media and discover ways you can be more curious and creative.



References

“Creativity And Culture.” Stein, 1953. Journal Of Psychology, 36, 311-322. https://www.scirp.org/(S(351jmbntvnsjt1aadkposzje))/reference/ReferencesPapers.aspx?ReferenceID=1661284. Accessed 9 Aug 2021.


"Study Reveals Global Creativity Gap". News.Adobe.Com, 2021, https://news.adobe.com/news/news-details/2012/Study-Reveals-Global-Creativity-Gap/default.aspx. Accessed 9 Aug 2021.


"The Standard Definition Of Creativity". Runco & Jaeger, 2012. Creativity Research Journal, 24(1), 92-96.


https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400419.2012.650092?forwardService=showFullText&tokenAccess=d2qvAqb3TR4xiMj2dauz&tokenDomain=eprints&doi=10.1080%2F10400419.2012.650092&doi=10.1080%2F10400419.2012.650092&journalCode=hcrj20. Accessed 9 Aug 2021.


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