Creativity is doing things differently or doing different things, ie

"...creativity is simply seeing the world differently from everyone else..."

Carol Steiner as quoted by Harry Onsman, 2004a

To think differently, creativity and diversity of thought are pivotal.  Diversity of thought is more than ethnic/racial/gender diversity; it involves diversity of disciplines, skills, expertise, experiences, backgrounds, ages, etc so that people will see challenges and their solutions in different ways and perspectives. This means that there are many more alternatives and possibilities to chose from, therefore an increased chance of making the best selection.

"...without creativity there is only repetition and routine. Merely being competent is the kiss of death in business. Creative thinking can produce simplicity, which in turn can save business time and money......different ways of communicating, different marketing concepts, different products, these services - all need new thinking.....creativity which produces value..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Lyndall Crisp, 2007

"...what is creativity? It's that thing that helps us leap forward; it is a lateral spark; something you weren't expecting. Something that's fresh; that creates energy; that creates momentum..."

David Droga (Creative Chairman, Drogas) as quoted by Janne Ryan, 2008


"...creativity allows us to move from where we are today to where we would like to be tomorrow. We recognise creativity in our latest technological wonders, in each new item that miraculously appears, and wonder how we ever lived without it. But what should also be recognised is that strategic leaps account for only about 2 percent of our products. Steps changes provide about 18 percent, but 80 percent of our development occurs in continuous, incremental improvement. It is enhancing this 80 percent of activity that is critical in our advancement and where imagination and creativity play such a major role..."

Stephen Giugni, 2006

There are some views which assert that creative people are different from everyone else. Yet all humans with normal capacities are able to produce at least moderately creative work in some domain, some of the time.

What makes people creative?
"...the ability to be fascinated by all subjects and all disciplines. To care about art and music but also technology and science..."
Walter Isaacson as quoted by Shelley Gare, 2017

It also involves
- the ability to blur the line between reality and fantasy
- questioning the traditional ways of doing things
- not just doing what was done before
- interacting with other people who think differently
- remain focused
- learn from mistakes
- resilient and persistent


Creativity involves
"...being curious, relentlessly curious, retaining a childlike sense of wonder, going down rabbit holes, procrastinate, respect facts..."
Shelley Gare, 2017

Creativity is needed to solve people's problems, meet people's needs and to fulfil an opportunity to innovate. A mere 10% "new" can push an organisation to the head of its field.


Begins with you, ie need to look into yourself

To be effective in creativity you need to be perpetually dissatisfied with the status quo and very curious about possibilities.

Needs preparation, eg have an understanding of the field of expertise

Looks to satisfy customer desires, ie to be ahead of competitors

Involves learning from mistakes/failures

We tend to associate creativity with the arts and any expression of highly original thoughts such as Picasso in painting and William Faulkner in fiction. In business, originality is not enough. To be creative, an idea must also be appropriate, useful and actionable. The associations made between creativity and artistic originality often lead to confusion about the appropriate place of creativity in business organisations. For example, creativity is expected in marketing and R&D departments but not for accounting. Yet practices like activity-based accounting are innovative and have had a positive and profound effect on many businesses.

Generally, in any unit that involves systematic processes or legal regulations, or where managers hold a rather narrow view of the creative process, creativity is regarded as not having a place.

But in today's knowledge economy, creativity is more important that ever.

"...creativity was ranked as the number one factor to future business success - above management discipline, integrity, and even vision..."

IBM global CEO study as quoted by Helen Hawkes 2019

It's not about seeing something new, but seeing something familiar in a new way..."

Matthew Syed 2019

"...Do not go where the path might lead, but instead go instead where there is no path and leave a trial..."

Ralph Waldo Emerson as quoted by Cheryl Hall 2019

"...developing the creative brain translates into higher levels of productivity - it can bring a different approach to the work......creativity helps you imagine new solutions..."

Nicole Gorton as quoted by Helen Hawkes 2019

In other words, try something new and different; ideally, something that has never been tried before!!!

It is not saying

"...We don't need insider expertise; quite the reverse. We need both conceptual depth and conceptual distance. We need to be insiders and outsiders......the future will be catalysed by those who can operate......ruralacross categories. People who see walls not as immutable but as, potentially, breakable..."

Matthew Syed 2019

Managers have to create an environment that encourages innovation and creativity. Despite good intentions, creativity gets killed much more often than it gets supported. Usually this killing is done by crushing employees' intrinsic motivation, ie the strong internal desire to do something based on interests and passions. Creativity-killing in some organisations can become widespread and systemic, owing to business practices and imperatives such as the pursuit of productivity, efficiency, co-ordination and control. Ideally, an environment which accommodates both attention to business imperatives and the nurturing of creativity can be established and sustained.

Research from Northwestern University (2015) has shown a connection between creative thinking and sensory distraction, ie leaky attention. The poorer a person's sensory gating, ie the less they are able to filter unnecessary stimulus from their brain, the higher their creativity scores , ie

"...This reduced sensory gating may indicate that a leaky sensory filter is a general neural processing characteristic related to real world creative achievement......that leaky attention may help people integrate ideas that are outside the focus of attention, leading to creative thinking..."

The Washington Post as quoted by AFR 2015

. A specific neural marker of sensory gating (P50) has events-related potential that provides a neuro-physiological response just 50 milliseconds after a stimulus

. Also, blue computer screens improve performance on creative tasks and moderate noise is more conducive to creativity than no noise or high noise environments

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