Creativity is a phenomenon in which someone creates something new and valuable. The created thing can be tangible - like an idea, scientific theory or musical composition - or a physical object - as an invention, literary work or a painting.
My intention with this article is to learn How to be creative And innovative, the most important concepts to start a life of innovation and creation.
Even if you have considered yourself unimaginative or too rational, do not worry; Creativity can be improved.
Although this article is the most complete I have written on this subject, I also recommend this about Exercises to develop creativity .
"Only a few people have a natural aptitude for creativity, but all can develop a certain skill if they deliberately propose it"-Edward de Bono.
1- What is creativity?
First of all, it must be made clear that it is creativity. Different definitions can be given although they all refer to the same concept:
-The ability to generate original and novel solutions.
- Creative thinking (fluency, flexibility, originality) + affective elements (interest, motivation, values) + character (discipline, tenacity, audacity).
-Ability to think differently than what has already been thought.
-Ability to use the imagination to produce original ideas and produce value.
2- Fundamental elements to be creative
Being creative, the first thing you will find is with the Negativity Of the people around you and, probably, of yours. To be creative is essential to have confidence and respect for yourself and not to be afraid of what others think when expressing our ideas.
If you have an attitude without imagination, receptivity and dependent on others, you will destroy possibilities for creativity. Everything that has been invented, from the airplanes to the phone or the footwear, was once an idea of someone.
Eliminating Prejudice: The Myths of Creativity
- Myth 1 : Creativity only exists in geniuses. Reality: we all have a potential and genetic creativity at birth and we can develop it through the social and cultural environment.
- Myth 2 : Creativity develops on its own in a stimulating environment. Reality: creativity needs to be cultivated and formed for it.
- Myth 3 : Creativity can not be taught. Fact: anyone can learn the creative process and implement the ideas derived from it.
- Myth 4 : It depends on the job. Reality: in all areas of life we can innovate. From the kitchen (new recipes), cleaning (invention of the mop) or new technologies (ipad).
- Myth 5 : It depends on the personality. Reality: depends on training, environment and attitude.
- Myth 6 : It is a risk. Reality: risk is in the eyes of the beholder.
How are creative people?
There are certain Personality traits Which define creative people. Knowing them will be used to model them and adopt those that you think can adapt to your personality.
- Very curious, inhibited, radical.
- They generate many ideas.
- They have many questions and concerns.
- They take many risks.
- Very broad fields of interest.
- Collectors of unusual things.
- Lateral thinking .
- Determination to succeed, tenacity.
- Sometimes messy.
- Perseverance, commitment to the task.
- Attracted by novelty and complexity.
- Great sense of humor (often unexpected, quirky, irreverent, inappropriate).
- Very self-conscious and open to the irrational with himself.
- Intuitive / a lot of emotional sensitivity.
For me, the four fundamental and Best describe the creative person
- Unconformist, tolerates ambiguity, accepts chaos, is not interested in details.
- Described as an"individualist"he does not worry about being classified as"different,"worried internally, restless, he needs time to think.
- Think differently and admire through observation the world.
- He does not want to accept what authority says without evaluating with much criticism.
Avoid critical judgment
Only by a Open attitude Creativity can be encouraged. In addition to your thoughts (for example, the typical"silly idea or thousands of people"), the people around us crush creative impulses. If it is hard to fight our negativity, if a person who criticizes destructively our ideas, creativity dies instantly.
I leave you here Some imminent critical judgments So that you are aware that critics are not always right:
"Flying machines heavier than air are impossible."Lorrd Kevin, 1895.
- After the first six months, this device will not be kept in any market that manages to capture. People will soon get tired of looking at a wooden box every night-Daryl F. Zanuck, director of the 20th Century film studio, talking about television in 1946.
"Who the hell wants to hear the actors speak?"-Harry M. Warner, president of Warner in 1927.
-"The horse has come to stay, but the car is just a novelty, a fad"- The president of Michigan Savings Bank.
The intuition It is not superstition. These are decisions that we make based on Organized information And of which we are not aware.
For example: a firefighter who knows when a floor will collapse in a fire and intuits that event seconds before it passes, allowing him to save himself. What has happened is that, from his experience, he has gathered information from the environment such as the heat of the room, the state of the ground, noise and other relevant information that has reminded him of other situations in which the ground collapsed.
Intuition is not seen, it feels And is what is added to all the information gathered. You can not make confident decisions based on intuition because you can never gather 100% of the information. Still, there is no one right answer for everyone and to succeed with a creative idea you have to take risks and lose your fear of failure.
"An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid of failure"-Edwin Land.
-If you always think the same way, you will have the same results.
-Question always the status quo, enjoy the uncertainty, leave the comfort zone.
-Extráate yourself for the daily and be inspired by it.
You can have creative ideas in all areas of life, even in creations from objects of daily life.
(Enric Bernat-Inventor del chupa chups).
Helen Keller, famous American author, deaf-mute wrote:
"I wonder how it is possible to walk for an hour through the forest and see nothing remarkable. I can not see, I find hundreds of things: the delicate symmetry of a leaf, the smooth skin of a silver birch, the rough bark of a pine. I, who am blind, can give advice to those who see: use your eyes as if they were going to be blind tomorrow. Make the most of each direction. Enjoy the glory of all the facets and pleasures and beauty that the world reveals to you."
Creativity expert Edward de Bono said:
"A very important aspect of motivation is the willpower to stand and look at things that no one else cares about. The simple process of focusing on things that are usually taken for granted is a very powerful resource for creativity."
Bandura Calls for self-efficacy belief That we can get results from our actions and that we can get what we want.
Many people often think that they are rational or that they are creative and are pigeonholed in these adjectives, however Creativity can be learned And there is an effective process for this. People are naturally creative .
With the Renaissance Put the individual in the center of the universe, began to think that creativity came from within the individual himself and that people are geniuses. However making someone believe that it is a resource of creativity creates too high expectations and builds an inevitable ego.
In the Ancient Greece and Rome People did not believe that creativity came from within the human being, but that creativity came, for unknown reasons, from external spirits. The Greeks called these spirits of creativity"demons." For example, Socrates believed that he had a demon who spoke to him. The Romans had the same idea but they called it"genius", a kind of entity that lived on the walls, went out and came to the artists.
What was this about? For example, they protected narcissism (Not believing that the credit of each job was his) and the pressure of having to always have good ideas. Creativity is something that is built, which also depends on your behavior, your environment, the people you surround and the culture in which you are immersed.
"Creativity is simply connecting things. When you ask someone how they did something, they feel somewhat guilty because they really do not know how they did it, they just saw something. After a while it seemed obvious. That's because they were able to connect experiences they had and synthesize new things."-Steve Jobs.
3- Creativity process: 6 steps
It is based on preparing for the process of creativity, working and being aware of the points commented on, getting used to different ways of thinking solutions and flee from the routine to see different ways of solving problems.
It is very important to be aware of the inner voice of self-censorship and to avoid it.
It is a time when you are immersed in a problem, you open to any option, even some that, in principle, are not related to it. In this phase it is very important to observe, listen and be open and receptive.
It is crucial at this stage
- Avoid thinking about common ways of solving a problem.
For example, the wheeled suitcase was not invented until 1970 by Bernard D. Sadow. Until then, there had been no other way of solving the problem of having to carry heavy luggage.
- Avoid the voice of self-censorship. "This can not work,""Too difficult,""I just do not have the money to do it."
-Traying with frustration: Frustration periods are actually part of the creative process. It is inevitable to encounter moments in which you feel that you are not advancing and that you do not come across ideas. "There is always darkness before dawn."
2-Start with a question on how to solve a problem, situation or improve something
At work, at school, at university. When you ask yourself a question, you begin the process of finding a creative solution. In my opinion is the most important step.
Questions are guides to follow a creative life and The most useful are the open ones , Since they allow a new response.
Adults are afraid to ask questions because we think we're going to make a fool of ourselves or we'll pretend we know little. But then how would we learn without asking?
You may have never heard the following questions though The names are sure to ring you
-Why can not there be a reliable fast mail service? -Fred Smith (founder of Federal Express).
-What happens if I put rubber on my waffle maker? -Billey Bowerman (inventor of nike shoes).
"What would a wave of light look like to someone traveling beside you?""Albert Einstein.
- Why do not we remove the recording function and the microphone and put headphones to the recorder? -Masaru Ibuka (president of Sony).
In their time these ideas were meaningless for others, however today we know that They marked an era . The next time you hear a question like this or do it yourself will you think the same way?
"To ask new questions and possibilities, to see old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and is what Which identifies the true advance in science"-Albert Einstein.
3 -Search / Research
Research is something natural in the human being, like a child asking everything or the baby that takes everything to the mouth. Be curious, try to do new things, experiment in the world and gather information relating to the question to be solved.
It is a question of reflecting on all the relevant pieces and To avoid the rational mind , Letting the thought flow relative to the question to be solved. Think differently, look from another perspective, think metaphorically and visualize a solution to the problem.
You may also be interested in These exercises to develop creativity .
4-Termination of research and innovation
There comes a time when enough information has been gathered to solve the problem.
Is about Digest all the information And thoughts you have had. It is a passive phase in which your unconscious works more.
Throughout the day the mind is busy at school, at the park, at work, talking with friends, reading or watching TV. Any time in That you can relax Is useful for the creative process (a shower, a long drive, a walk in silence, your favorite activity). It is simply to allow the mind to dream awake.
The eureka moment comes after a hard work in the previous phases. Usually arrive at times when we feel calm and"daydreaming", so it is important not to skip the previous phase.
"Genius is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration"-Thomas Edison.
It is about bringing the idea to reality and it is the most difficult step because you have to overcome the fear of failure and know how to turn it into something useful for you and for others.
It is often long and arduous. An important part is the diffusion and socialization of creation to know what people think of your idea.
Actually the process is very fluid . One person can take more time in the implementation phase and another in the search information.
The phases are not fixed; Can be in different order but it is convenient that you be aware of the phase in which you are because it will allow you to enter the process more frequently and take the relevant actions.
7-Ask for feedback
As a complement to the idea's implementation, you can ask for feedback from people you know or unknown. This will help you to be aware of what can be improved or what you are missing out on.
Here is a video summary of the article:
And what other ways do you know to be more creative?