Let's Be A Little More Creative About Creativity

by Idris Mootee

Let's Be a Little More Creative About CreativityAnd What Does Collective Creativity Mean?

What is creativity? According to Wikipedia: Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value. What counts as “new” may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. What counts as “valuable” is similarly defined in a variety of ways. BTW the above picture was taken at the annual Sausalito Art Festival just this weekend.

Scholarly interest in creativity ranges widely: Topics to which it is relevant include the relationship between creativity and general intelligence; the mental and neurological processes associated with creative activity; the relationship between personality type and creative ability; the relationship between creativity and mental health; the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology; and the application of an individual’s existing creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning processes and of the teaching processes tailored to them.

Creativity and creative thinking are studied across many disciplines from psychology to cognitive science, art, education, philosophy, technology, theology, sociology, linguistics, business studies, and economics. As a result, there are a multitude of definitions and it all depends how you use it. What’s the motivation for people to be creative? Or people just want to be creative because they are creative? Sometimes this is the case and sometimes people are motivated by problems that need to be solved or jobs that need to get done and conventional approach is not effective.

Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes. Often we are not creative enough about what’s creativity is or who is considered a ‘creative’ person. Sometime people can just pull an idea out from nowhere; and sometimes people scan for alternatives and quickly come to what they believe the best idea. It is sometimes a quality game and sometimes a quantity game – good idea versus lots of ideas. When creativity requires analysis and other more qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, is that still consider creativity? Or it should be called ‘Design Thinking?’ Does creativity be just novel or it is not enough for it to be novel; it must have value, or be appropriate to the cognitive demands of the situation and the context.

The creative domain is basically nested in culture – the symbolic knowledge shred by a particular groups, society or by humanity as a whole (visual arts, performance art, craft-based professions etc.) and then there are gatekeepers (curators and producers). The person who involves in the act of creativity includes musicians, engineers, designers, architects, business strategists etc. But being in one of these professions, does one automatically qualify as a member of the ‘creative class?’ This one I am not sure.

Creative people have a great deal of energy; an urge to look at things differently but they also have a combination of playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. The best creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy on one end, and rooted sense of reality at the other. And what about ‘collective creativity?’ We need to be more creative about what’s creativity? What about creativity and co-creation’, that’s a topic for another post.


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Idris MooteeIdris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.

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  1. Excellent! On fostering creativity, people are capable of improving their creativity, just like an aspiring journalist will go to journalism school to improve reporting and writing skills.

    Not that I think there should be an education program promoting creativity. Rather, an individual can make some minor changes to improve it. For example, instead of just being frustrated by a product or business that isn’t easy to use or efficient, one can take a moment to write down the issue and some general details. Simply observing such a problem can be the first step, where the next step would be writing down any possible actions which could eliminate these problems.

    I’m glad I read this post, because I’ve been thinking about how “artistic” could be applied to different fields. Most people commonly think of musicians, painters, and dancers as artists, but I like to think of any creative person that can bring unique, fresh ideas continuously to his or her given area of interest.

    I actually wrote about brainstorming the other day, and some general ideas to spark creativity.

    Besides that, first time at innovation excellence and I look forward to reading more!

    Daryl F. Bennett
    Pooled Minds

  2. Thank you for this article. I agree about needing to be more creative about creativity. Creativity itself has a box to break out of as it has too often been attributed to certain people rather than all.

    With all the change that needs to be created in the world we have the opportunity to adopt a new level of expectation about our individual and collective creativity. We ALL need to harness our creative abilities now and no one has to be exempt. We all have creative ability AND the ability to develop our creativity. Inherent in any creative act is the unknown. For many the unknown brings along with it a degree of “fear”. Is that what stops us from being “creative”? What if the fear was a good thing? I am not talking about dramatic fear. I am talking about fear that manifests itself with words like, “it will never work anyway,” or “im not qualifies to do that.” What if we learned to go until we feel the fear and then know that the fear is a sign that we are on the right track?

    Creativity is waiting for us to unpack it and share it with everyone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Whitney Ferre’
    Creatively Fit
    So, a new expectation that we each CAN create the change we want to see in our world might increase our creative pool and lead to new

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