What is creativity and how to stimulate the creative potential in your company – WAU
There is an essence that inhabits all of us, and is responsible for the most varied transformations, from the little secret in the dinner recipe to the emergence of great inspiring companies. Creativity is not genetic, it is not a gift, luck, much less magic. To be creative is to be authentic and innovative.
Creativity is a competence of universal value and applicability, described as the an individual’s ability to imagine, create, produce or invent new concepts and things. It can also be understood as the bridge between abstract thinking and its tangible counterpart.
However, what is really inspiring about creativity is not just about ideas. As Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, the electronics company responsible for popularizing video games, once said:
“Everyone who has taken a shower had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries up and does something about it that makes a difference. ”
In this article, we investigate in depth creativity, its definitions, types, influence on business and marketing, as well as how to stimulate it in people and raise the creative potential of your company. Do you need more ideas? So, this content was made for you!
Where does creativity come from?
Creativity was not always treated as something intrinsic to the human being. In ancient times, some philosophers believed that it was restricted to a few individuals capable of receiving messages from divine entities.
Throughout history, however, the concept has gradually lost its mystical appeal and, in recent years, gained explanations based on sophisticated theories of psychology and neuroscience.
Modern academic definitions suggest that “creativity refers to skills such as fluency, flexibility, originality and divergent thinking, applied to a process of invention about something different and never tried (Craft, 2005)”, but we agree that all this technicality is not necessary to understand what it is about.
Creativity is part of everyone’s daily life, even though many deny it. In childhood, we experienced its unfolding, a moment in which we squander an indistinguishable capacity to absorb, model and create new things.
However, as we grow up, the influence of people, the imposed rules and limits, as well as the fear of mistakes and failures, end up weakening our original creative potential, making our thoughts less and less abstract.
In addition, our brain is biologically programmed to save energy, and creativity, unlike common sense, can take a lot of effort from the individual.
To stay creative, you need to think outside the box, create a habit of leaving your comfort zone, exposing yourself to new stimuli and exploring new realities constantly. However, this natural inclination to save resources makes most people adapt to the patterns of their routine.
What is the role of creativity in society?
Among all human capacities, creativity is probably the one that most differentiates us from other animals. It was humanity’s creative potential that was primarily responsible for providing the entire structure that created and sustains our society.
To realize the dimension and importance of this, just take a moment to observe the environment in which we find ourselves.
Everything that exists around you: your smartphone, your clothes, the place where you are and, going even deeper, your work, your obligations, your routine, in short, all this was just an idea in someone’s mind.
Great ideas of entrepreneurship and inventions, like your laptop or the internet you used to get here, call us more attention, but the creations essential to our society go far beyond that.
Creativity is necessary in complex tasks, such as developing management and digital marketing strategies – from campaigns on Google Ads to the creation of posts on social networks and shots of email marketing that attract and convert – but also in more basic activities, such as preparing meals and transporting goods.
The most inspiring thing, however, is that these creative geniuses are not special individuals. They are ordinary people who devoted a lot of time and effort to certain solutions. Steve Jobs could not have been more emphatic in saying that:
“Everything you call life was created by people who are not smarter than you!”
Criativity and innovation
Creativity is the main ingredient of innovation. Although this word has gained popularity with modern devices and solutions, it is essential to describe the entire economic development of society, from the beginning of agriculture to the current scenario of digital transformation.
Creativity and technology
In all its definitions, technology is also a reflection of creativity. From the development of primitive techniques and tools to its current form, linked to the development of electronic devices, digital platforms and the optimization of complex industrial processes.
Creativity and design
Design is the visual manifestation that gives emotion, aspect and form for practically all the elements that make up the urban scenarios, from large roads and buildings to clothes, accessories and other products.
It is the brand stamped on all spaces and materials transformed by human imagination.
What types of creativity?
Creativity can be worked on individually or collectively, but in both cases, it contributes to the generation of ideas and problem solving.
To understand in more detail how this potential manifests, we can classify the creative process into certain types.
Deliberate and cognitive creativity
Deliberate creativity is one that arises from a process and, therefore, requires a certain dedication from the individual to manifest it. Each person can create their own procedures, but in this case, the key point is the study.
The cognitive creative process consists of gather as much information as possible to then develop new concepts from the initial data. It is, therefore, a combinatorial process that depends on a previous contextualization.
Deliberate and emotional creativity
Despite also manifesting itself deliberately, this type of creativity depends on less analysis and rationalization. It is a more subjective process awakened by facts, memories or reflections.
The work environment is a beautiful example of when this creative process can be observed. The influence of the characteristics of a place can facilitate the creation of ideas, but any other stimulus can work.
Fresh air, music, a positive memory or a cup of coffee can help you think better.
Spontaneous and cognitive creativity
Spontaneous cognitive creativity is that commonly portrayed in scientific discoveries and success stories. It is the famous big idea that comes up without notice, an event popularly known as “insight”.
In reality, however, these supposed “revelations” do not come out of nowhere and, often occur in the intervals between intense periods of work and study, or during the so-called creative leisure. This process is very common in the history of science.
Charles Darwin, for example, spent several hours a day cataloging specimens of plants and animals that he received by correspondence, but it was on the long walks on his property that he developed the main ideas that supported his theory about the evolution of species.
Spontaneous and emotional creativity
Spontaneous and emotional creativity differs from cognitive in that it actually generates ideas, apparently, from “nothing” – which is also not exactly true.
Although we are not dedicated to the development of a project, we receive and assimilate stimuli continuously from our experiences.
That kind of creativity it doesn’t usually happen when we work under deadlines or under pressure, precisely because of its profoundly spontaneous character. It is usually attributed to composers, musicians and artists in general.
In essence, creativity is an internal phenomenon that manifests itself in very particular ways.
When we work alone, we are less distracted and have the opportunity to delve deeper into our imagination, but, in return, we limit ourselves to our personal influences, prejudices and the boundaries of our own intellect.
Within the business context, we are used to dynamics that encourage the development of ideas together.
Brainstorming, for example, is one of the most famous dynamics used worldwide and consists of gathering ideas, opinions and guesses from a group to finally analyze the information, filter it and London it.
This principle of shared creation is defended by many experts, including the American science writer Steven Johnson, who describes in his studies of creativity that the best ideas usually come from junction of smaller guesses, most of the time, coming from different people, situations and historical moments.
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Why is creativity essential to business?
Creativity is a skill that interests entrepreneurs, managers and employees, as it represents advantages for everyone. In this topic, we list some benefits that it can offer businesses.
Creativity is essential for the development of innovative solutions, but it also represents a key factor for the maintenance of existing projects.
Creative professionals within companies, especially in times of crisis, can offer the necessary breathing space for a company to continue to exist, in addition to promoting well-being at work.
Making the management and development of solutions more horizontal is a way of valuing its employees, inserting them in the company’s strategic management and instigating them to work together in promoting improvements that benefit all sectors.
Its employees have an immense creative potential that can be awakened by stimulating this competence within the company or through improvements in the work environment. Involvement and appreciation can make your team much more productive and committed.
Fewer failures and complaints
Through open communication between managers and employees, eventual failures in the production process or complaints related to the service are detected more quickly.
This allows problems to be resolved quickly and internal improvements to be made before rumors and complaints compromise the relationship between different departments.
Trend towards the future
Understanding the activities in which intellectual capital acts as a raw material in the creation, production and distribution of goods and services, in addition to influencing business and management models, the so-called Creative Economy must be increasingly inserted in society.
This should occur as industrial operations are automated and new digital solutions are offered. We are moving towards a future in which human skills will be increasingly required at the expense of strictly operational practices.
How to develop creative potential?
Advertising professionals, artists, designers, architects and writers are known for using a lot of creativity in their work, but it is not necessary to have a specific profession to stimulate yours, let alone give up these activities because you consider yourself to be not very creative.
Creativity is welcome in any area and is available to anyone willing to develop this ability in their daily lives.
Below, you can find some behaviors that can help bring more valuable ideas into your life.
Study your creative behavior
Recall the moments when your creativity came to the fore and try to define the elements, times, places and situations where you try new ideas the most, and try to explore them more often.
Another tip is to try to make your work environment more stimulating, introducing these characteristics to favor your creative process. Explore colors, sounds, smells, temperature and whatever else you need to awaken the genius in you.
Be an observer
Simple observation of the environment can be crucial to ensure quality delivery. We live in times when our attention is almost always fixed on the screens and, with that, we fail to notice all the wealth of information that exists around us.
Take a break from work and resist the temptation to check your cell phone. Make it a habit to stop and simply observe the place, people and events, even for just a few minutes of the day.
Analyze different scenarios
Before delivering a job, try to see what could have been done differently.
A review not only helps to detect errors and inconsistencies in a project, it can also bring greater clarity to all the content worked on.
But does not stop there! Creative people are recognized for being often bothered by common sense and, therefore, they are always imagining alternative scenarios for the most varied situations, including, for their own inventions and considerations.
There is a lot of inspiration behind creativity, so it is essential to nourish your mind with things that can inspire you.
Read inspirational books, enjoy good music, movies, photos, paintings or anything else that awakens something inside you. Use the creativity of others as a fuel for yours!
Exercise your best skills
It doesn’t have to be your main job, it can be a hobby or sport that you love, and when you practice it, you give yourself completely. Any type of learning contributes to the enrichment of your future ideas.
Reserve moments of leisure
Don’t think that playing the workaholic will make you a super-productive professional. Your body does not work like a computer and trying to work as one will damage your health.
Do not underestimate vacations, breaks and your leisure time – they are just as important to your results as the periods in which you are effectively working. It is necessary to let the mind rest and reorganize the ideas.
The time when studies and skills have remained solid for decades is long gone. Today, everything changes with surprising fluidity and, therefore, it is essential that a professional keeps up to date.
But this requirement can go further. Being attentive helps you to tune your creativity with the latest available, in addition to favoring the creation of useful solutions and forecasting trends.
Indeed, abandoning the warmth and security of the circle of activities and behaviors with which we have become accustomed is not easy. Everything is against you, including your own physiology, which insists on keeping you for years on end, repeating the same, often problematic patterns.
One way to exercise your creativity in this direction is to expose yourself to small daily challenges, how to start a conversation with someone outside your circle of friends, go out for a walk or train even if you don’t feel like it, try to prepare a dinner, in short, make it a habit to challenge yourself until you start having fun with it.
Look for different inputs
If creativity can be developed in a combinative way, the more varied your inputs are, the richer your ideas will be. The problem is that we get used to experiencing and consuming almost the same things.
Meantime, it is the experiences that run away from our usual that most transform our way of thinking. This exercise consists of listening to different opinions without judging, reading books and watching films that you never imagined enjoying, eating something totally different from what you are used to, that is, opening your head to new content and sensations.
Why is reading essential?
Reading is one of the most powerful tools to enrich your repertoire of ideas. Renowned London neuroscientists Ivan Izquierdo and Suzana Herculano-Houzel argue that reading is the most complete exercise that exists for the brain and certainly one of the practices that most contributes to the development of creativity.
Successful professionals may have walked the path and adopted different strategies to get where they got to, but there is something that virtually all of these personalities share: they are always reading something. And it won’t hurt to do the same.
Thinking about it, we separated 6 incredible works on creativity for you to stimulate yours even more.
1. Criatividade S.A – Ed Catmull
You may not know Ed Catmull, but you certainly know many of the animations that have marked your career. Catmull was president of Walt Disney Studios and Pixar, the company he founded alongside Steve Jobs, and is one of the computer graphics scientists behind films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
In this book, inspired by his own experiences, he presents several lessons for building a culture of creativity in companies and defends the importance of developing ideas and solving problems together.
2. Where Good Ideas Come From – Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson is one of the greatest innovation scholars today and became known for his books and the American TV series “How We Got to Now”, in which he told story behind great inventions.
“Where the Good Ideas Come From” is an extremely didactic book that not only investigates the causes and processes that determine creativity, but also presents its formula for creating good ideas.
3. This is not a book – Keri Smith
Keri Smith is a Canadian freelance writer and illustrator who has become well known for her works that encourage people to expand their creative spheres.
In “Destroy This Diary”, for example, Smith suggests that the reader tear pages, scribble, paint outside the lines and even take the book to the bath.
In “This is not a book” the author presents different situations that will make you question what, in fact, is a book.
The work also has unusual invitations for interaction and fulfills its role of instigate creativity with curiosity, riddles and, of course, a lot of mess.
4. The Iconoclast – Gregory Berns
Iconoclast, within Gregory Berns’ approach, is the individual who attacks established beliefs and institutions to propose something entirely new.
The neuroscientist benefits from reports of successful innovators to illustrate his concepts.
It is a book with a more scientific approach for those who want to go deeper into the biological roots of the creative process.
5. The Great Magic – Elizabeth Gilberth
Elizabeth Gilbert is an American writer who became known worldwide for her international bestseller “Eat, Pray and Love”, which won a film of the same name in 2010.
In “The Great Magic”, Gilbert explores his own creative process and shares his particular view on the topic.
The author also encourages us to embrace creativity and abandon unnecessary suffering, in addition to presenting attitudes and habits that encourage the creation of ideas.
6. About Writing – Stephen King
Stephen King is a worldwide phenomenon. With nearly 400 million copies sold in more than 40 countries, he is the 9th most translated author in the world and famous for the diverse cinematographic adaptations of his books such as “A Dream of Freedom”, “Waiting for a Miracle” and “It – The thing”.
In “About writing”, King gives up fiction for expose its entire history and the elements that made it develop its striking style.
Although it is a work more geared towards lovers of letters, the book brings several lessons and insights about the author’s creative experiences and is a delight to readers of all tastes.
Our post on creativity ends here, but, whether on a personal or professional level, be sure to seek inspiration and ways to explore this valuable attribute to obtain the best results in your actions and projects.
A good way to do this is to learn from those who are always up to date with the latest trends and best practices. See here the 8 biggest trends for Digital Marketing in 2019!