Common Sense Creativity

by Idris Mootee

Common Sense Creativity3 Paths Towards A Creative Life. It’s Not The “Aha” Moments Or Being Perfect.

You want to be more creative? Sometimes it is not about trying harder to act creative. I see a lot of people trying too hard. Sometimes it’s not just about giving one the space to be creative.  Sometimes it is just being strategic. And sometimes it means apply a healthy dosage of common sense.

Strategic creativity is more valuable than creativity.  Not everyone needs to be “creative” the same way as other think you should be “creative”. It is not about ideas. It is an attitude. Everyone can live a creative life and be creative how he/she sees live. It seems that when creative people (artist) with certain craft try to solve a problem or achieve a certain end result, particularly when the goal is related to their craft or specialized skills, they have an advantage. But when the problem is too big for them, it takes strategic creativity on a more sophisticated level.

Common Sense Creativity

Creativity is in such demand today and it is not the years of schooling or what art schools you attend. The word “Creatives” is used in advertising world to describe those who work on creating advertising campaign or providing craft for production. People in these roles like to believe that they are more creative than others. It is not the case at all.

Creativity is not a job title, crafts, capability or skills. Creativity is state of mind, which you can use in everything you see and do. People should live a creative life rather being creative. By living a creative life and having that state of mind, one naturally becomes creative. Creative is independent of discipline, culture and tools.

So how do you live a creative life? Here are three specific ways that can help you to live a creative life.

  1. Be Bipolar. A little madness yield great artists, designers, inventors and scientists. The evidence is growing for a significant link between bipolar disorder and creative temperament and achievements. Seeing the extremes of both sides of anything help you to understand the spectrum of choices and options.  Go to places you don’t normally go and use that space. It is not available for everyone.
  2. Be Foolish. Be lazy. Everywhere people are telling you rules and the right ways to do things.  Be acting silly and even lazy can sometimes help you to see easy paths to complex problems. Agatha Christie wrote, “I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention . . . arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.”
  3. Be Strategic. Most people see this as the opposite of creative. This is total rubbish. Being strategic can also be creative. And being strategic you need to be very creative. The best strategists are often most creative people who can apply creativity in the context of a specific problem. They don’t’ dress in a funny way or even trying to act like artists. They may wear suits and even a tie, but they could also be the super creative types.

Creativity is not just about “aha” moments or interesting ways to look at things. Creativity is about putting empathy to work. Creativity is not about perfection. Weisberg and Csikszentmihalyi both talked the importance of motivation in creative performance. A notion of Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of creative flow is that reaching peak performance is “autotelic”, meaning it is enjoyable for its own sake. So the ‘creative person’ is simply someone who enjoys creativity and therefore does it all the time, even with no reasons and gains nothing from it. Someone just want to be creative all the time. That’s different from people who are strategic in applying creativity. Nothing good of bad. Just two very different creative types.

Creativity is not about opening new doors. Someone said that creative people have no doors and doors are for those without imagination.

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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, many published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.

6 comments

  1. Wow. Do you really think people “are trying hard to act creative”? Creativity is our natural expressive nature. No one has to pretend to be creative, they just need to shift awareness to recognize all the ways they are creative. As far as “Strategic creativity is more valuable than creativity.” Are you serious? Where is your evidence of any one form of creativity being more valuable than another? Creativity is a process. The results come exploring multiple pathways. And my last comment is about your highly insensitive “be bipolar” tag line. There are lots of ways to make your point without mocking a serious condition. Creativity is about shaking things up – but the way you toss around stereotypes makes this piece ‘rubbish’.

    • Many people are trying very hard to be creative and they attend useless seminars and buying DIY books to try to find a way to learn creativity or to apply. There is a big difference between those who think they are creative; and those who are creative but not knowing how to use them; and those who use them to solve strategic or wicked problems. What research is need to tell you that they are different? Creativity is not just exploring different pathways, that’s like saying to be successful try everything. You gotta better than that. Creativity is not just expressing. That’s very narrow view of the subject. Read more books.

  2. Idris, I love your focus on firming up the sometimes fluffy notion of creativity with strategy. Creativity is useless unless applied to something meaningful. I’m also down with your bi-polar suggestion. I get it, some of my best creative energy comes as I am recovering from a painful loss. Thanks for the great message!

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