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What is creativity?

I'm asking this question to peers actively working in creative industries and will report back with findings. My curiosity is sparked due to my own relationship with the creative process. I find it to be all consuming, not always a joyous celebration and rarely easy, but I'm constantly called to it. Although solving design problems is challenging, bringing the end solution to fruition is exhilarating. In an effort to demystify creativity and the process, let's take an initial look at what some say on the matter.

Creativity is to think more efficiently. – PIERRE REVERDY

I love this because one must exercise creativity to run a successful design business by adapting to engagement with new clients; to communicate effectively on a regular basis; to get things done no matter the snags that occur; to work within budget, timelines and often uninformed expectations. These are all constant problems to solve through creativity that in this case is defined through proficiency and competence.

Creativity or talent, like electricity, is something I don’t understand but something I’m able to harness and use. While electricity remains a mystery, I know I can plug into it and light up a cathedral or a synagogue or an operating room and use it to help save a life. Or I can use it to electrocute someone. Like electricity, creativity makes no judgment. I can use it productively or destructively. The important thing is to use it. You can’t use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have. – MAYA ANGELOU

It's refreshing to know that others who engage in the creative process can't fully define it. The description that it's an infinite snowballing resource is motivating, as it encourages me to tap deep into the well that sometimes seems dry. For me, this takes time and effort, but if I'm persistent, the bountiful flow will happen. Let's address exercising creativity for destruction is another post. I'm going to spend some time thinking about that one and maybe I'll get some quotes from Dr. Evil.

Creativity comes through you but not from you and though it is with you, it belongs not to you. – JASON SILVA (quoting and rewording Khaleel Jibran).

This is a relief! The idea that I don't generate creativity alone takes the pressure off. I do need to put for the energy to engage the muscles that I know call upon the creative flow, but the concepts, puzzles pieces and solutions are all out there, ready to be harnessed and realigned in a fresh way. Silva continues to say Creativity is domesticated madness. This resonates with how I feel when I'm in the creative zone. Ideas are everywhere and some times the most offbeat seemingly non sequitur solution perfectly fits the client's requirements. The creative professional needs the honed intuition to know that the solution is right and the expertise to sometimes shape it to be the perfect unique answer. That process can be laborious, but is almost always a full circle feeling of accomplishment.

Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. – LINDA NAIMAN

This means that, as creatives, one of our tasks to to first be aware of what is around us. We need to be in tune with our own perceptions of the relationships between things and people and also be cognitive of other people's perceptions. Only then can we reach to uncover new ways to find the hidden patterns of which Naiman speaks. But when we do, it's titillating.

I often hear “You get to be creative”. I've found that statement to be interesting. Does it imply that being creative is enjoyable? It can be, sometimes. Or maybe the thinking is that it's engaging and interesting, instead of a contrasting monotonous realm? If that's the case, then yes, I am fortunate to never be bored with my constant creative tasks.

What does creativity mean to you?

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