Everyone Is Creative, Including You

from Medium

Surprisingly when I ask that question of students in my introductory creative class only about half the class raises their hands. They’re often taking Fundamentals of Creative Development because it’s required for all advertising majors, not just those interested in becoming a writer, art director, or designer. If I have one goal it’s to convince everyone in the class that he or she is creative. We’re all creative. Everyone is creative.

Sadly, most of our public schools, in their misguided efforts to prepare students for standardized test taking, destroy kids’ natural creativity. Studies have even shown that creativity drops precipitously as early as first grade when you’re told that a house has four sides, a door in the middle and a triangular roof, contradicting that amazing half bird house, half ant hill you’d been drawing. Conformity is not a friend of creativity.

There’s also some confusion about what it means to be creative. So it might help to distinguish between being artistic and being creative. Not everyone is artistic. That requires both imagination and the skill to draw, paint, sculpt, or compose music. Creativity simply asks that we use our imagination to solve problems. You don’t have to draw to do that.

More here.

Posted in Innovation and tagged , .

One Comment

  1. Honestly, I don’t think that I am a creative person. Innovation has not been my strong suit- I much prefer to work with numbers and logic rather than come up with ideas on my own. The process of being creative does not come naturally to me, and I think I’ve become quite comfortable with this knowledge. I was not always this cynical, though; I chalk my personal experience up to the fact that logical thinking and reasoning was pushed onto me from a young age in public school. I can absolutely understand the article’s suggestion that in their efforts to prepare students for standardized testing, public education erases kids’ natural creativity. Test questions typically only have one right answer and do not allow for students to respond in a creative way; this fact only teaches students that they should abandon their innovative thinking in favor of finding the “right” answer. As the article says: Conformity is not the friend of creativity.

    I appreciate that the article defined the difference between creativity and artistic ability. Artistic ability requires an individual to not only have a strong sense of creativity, but also painting, drawing, or sculpting skills. Creativity is an innate feature of the human being– we cannot be rid of this feature, but it can be strengthened through exercise and weakened due to inactivity. An individual must combine their experiences with other ideas, imagery, and facts to fully utilize their creativity. After reading this article, I think it is important to emphasize the significance of continuously “flexing the muscles” of creativity; creativity dwindles without use, but cannot possibly extinguish. This new information gives me the hope that I can rekindle my creative mind through exercise.

    The article presents a framework for “flexing the muscles” of creativity using an acronym, CREATE. The first step, collect, presents the idea that it takes more than a surface level search to obtain necessary information– if it were that easy, everyone would be able to take the available information and synthesize it. The next step, remix, emphasizes that the “collision” of ideas within the mind spurs creativity and that the greater the number of ideas, the more chance for collision; not every idea will be great, however, there is the possibility that one of the collisions will be better. Next is Escape, which takes the previous step and flips it on its head. One must allow the mind to settle before sorting through all the ideas that they just generated. Mind fatigue can be a real demotivator– taking a break is necessary to make the most of the ideas in front of you. The next step is aha, which suggests that the brain will work through the ideas generated in remix on a subconscious level and will come in a “eureka!” moment. After that is Tend, where the idea must be cultivated and reworked to improve upon the original concept. I would argue that this step is the most crucial– but potentially most intimidating– aspect of the creative process, since ideas become refined and actionable. The final step, evaluate, focuses on getting raw feedback from colleagues, contributors, and peers to identify the flaws in the product and ultimately make improvements based on this constructive criticism. The process of creativity lays out a framework to ensure ideas come to fruition in an organic, yet organized fashion.

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