The business world seems determined to improve its creativity. If you don’t believe it, visit Inc.com to search creativity. There you’ll find five pages of somewhat humorous Inc. stories, including:
- 4 Strategies to Inspire Creativity
- 10 Office Design Tips That Inspire Creativity
- 6 Tips for Unleashing Employee Creativity
- Do You Secretly Fear Creativity?
- A Crash Course on Creativity
- The Crock Pot Approach to Creativity
- 5 Ways to Win With Creativity
- 2 Things That Kill Creativity
- The Secret to Creativity: Saying “No”
Why is everyone worried about being creative?
Creatives have a hard time understanding what the big deal about creativity is. Because that’s one of the few worries creatives don’t have. We’re drowning in ideas. For most writers, artists, designers, photographers, it’s a struggle to say no to our zillions of ideas in order to focus on just a few. Luckily, we sense that in the very act of pursuing our creativity, we find our focus. We toss hundreds of balls into the air, and every now and then, a few of them collide, merge, and come back down to earth as our Biggest Ideas—the ones that finally rise above the rest to demand our creative attention.
Take the artist’s sketchbook, for example. It’s a place to capture ideas, thoughts, inspirations, and that’s about it. It’s not a to do list, it’s not an action plan, it’s not an agenda. Because it carries none of that business baggage, it’s just a trunk full of cool stuff. We can open it back up later, dig into it to see what’s in there, or just stuff it away in the attic; but all of those ideas are still in that trunk, waiting to emerge one day when the time is right. Or not.
That’s why creatives don’t take this too seriously. Our idea trunks are always full, and there’s always room for one more. But in the business world, finding creativity is big business.
Why is business jumping on the creativity bandwagon?
Ideas come at random. But there are ways to encourage them. So lots of creativity experts want to help you discover your random ideas: buy their books on boosting your creativity, enroll in their webinars on jumpstarting your creativity, attend their workshops on finding your inner creative soul. And businesses are eager to engage employees around innovation.
Innovation is really what the business world is after. Some of the most creative idols of our century, the household names like Steve Jobs, weren’t creative in the traditional sense. They were innovative. That’s what rewards businesses. That’s why creativity is considered a tool to get innovative.
Creative-wannabes can be distracted by the thousands of articles offering them a way into their creativity. But the truth of the matter is, getting past their first reactions of “I’m not creative at all!” to “How can I allow myself to be creative?” is the hurdle that practicing creatives jumped long ago.
What’s the takeaway from business?
There’s a term used often in the business world: Opportunity Cost. Translated into creative terms, it means: Wasting time elsewhere is a creative opportunity lost.
That makes the formula for creativity relatively easy. Make time to let ideas come, and find time for creativity. Everything we choose to do is a conscious move towards or away from the practice of our creativity. It’s a creative opportunity gained, or missed.
“Opportunity cost, in creative terms, means: Wasting time elsewhere is a creative opportunity lost.”
And yes, creativity is a practice. We didn’t learn to play soccer or a guitar without practice. The talent for it was there, perhaps a bit hidden, but with some practice and probably much encouragement, our abilities emerged. Whatever our creative pursuits are, we improve at them with practice.
Encouragement in the creative practice is important. Creatives are more critical of themselves than their harshest critics ever could be. That’s why we need some mentors in our creative practices. It’s wise to have mentors who are more accomplished, but the less-accomplished souls are valuable, too. When teaching and sharing with others, we’re refining our own focus by organizing our ideas.
Make the choice to be creative and you’re already in the club. Then (to borrow some business-speak) enhance your membership experience:
- Find time for your ideas and random thoughts to simmer into creativity
- Practice your creative pursuit to improve, get in a rhythm and find focus
- Find a creativity community that mentors and encourages creative sharing ♣
HOW DO I STAY CREATIVE? Take a look at my fine art prints HERE. Please visit JannAlexander.com to see how I practice creativity in writing, photography, fine art and design.
- Creative People Say No (medium.com)
- Secret to Creativity: Saying No (Inc.com)
- Are You Inspired Yet? (austindetails.me)
- A Strategy to Be Creative? (onherwaytoperfection.com)
Love your blog – please visit mine, “The Creative Epiphany” by Jo Ann Brown-Scott
Thanks and have done! Enjoyed your perfect capture of the creative spirit running wild and free.
One of the freshest articles I have read in a long time. We all get stuck now and then.
Nice to think I’ve helped in the Stuck Dept. Thanks for your high praise!
Great ruminations on creativity and the role it should play in business and life. Enjoyed it immensely!
Thanks Dave. I’d assume a PR guy knows a thing or two about creativity. 😉
I was looking for a “love” button for this one! Absolutely love it. Great job on just putting it in such simple terms. Because it is.
Thanks, Maria, that’s nice praise from someone who’s so in tune with creativity. Sitting here with a million creative ideas I’m trying to just fit into one day, it’s hard to imagine others see it as a struggle.
I guess my creative community right now..is the blogging world. I certainly haven’t taken any art courses in several years (and the courses here in awkward locations or times of the year so far. I also think I’m in a city where there’s very limited choice).
Part of creativity is making yourself open to new experiences and sensations. Or seeing the same thing in a very different way. A eureka moment.
All of that, Jean. Maybe your city needs a creativity course you provide? There surely is material when you’re seeing things from a bike. Nice to hear from you.
It is interesting how the business world sometimes goes into this holy grail search of creativity. If business people could simply let go of their job titles at times and think across disciplines, outside of their subject expertise area.
Aaaah, but being business people, with business blinders on, it’s tricky. Thus the search for the “holy grail of creativity”–good phrase, that–because they’re aware that it worked out well for Steve Jobs.