• Katie Trowbridge

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.