I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.

~ Groucho Marx ~

Why Put Creativity in a Box?

December 13th, 2011 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 21 secs

Why can't we apply creativity everywhere?

I take a dim view of people separating creativity from daily life. And when that happens I put my meanest face on and frown as hard as I can. Which makes me look quite ridiculous of course. I’m best leaving that to others who are all too good at doing a disapproving scowl. But controlling creativity is one thing that tends to get my goat (Incidentally, try not to let people get your goat. Better to park the thing round the back for safe-keeping.).

Creativity is a quality that’s hard to quantify and long may it be that way. Capturing, pinning down, and dissecting aren’t always appropriate ways of gaining greater understanding. Sometimes, it’s best to appreciate the serendipity of things and simply celebrate the joy it creates

That’s why creativity should not be cut off, rounded up, and corralled. Creativity is part of life. Yet, take a look at the way creativity is treated.

Businesses seem to see creativity as a potential earner with risky credentials. It’s fine, providing there are very tight parameters. That’s why big companies sometimes have their own skunkworks team, who they basically leave to come up with what they can.  On the whole though, creativity is limited to coming up with a good pitch, negotiation, or a quick fix. Despite the best intentions of outsourced creative firms, there’s a universe of possibilities that rarely gets explored.

Unless there’s a musician or artist in the midst, families generally don’t tend to value creativity much either. Creativity is relegated to evening classes in art, pottery, or dance. Not as a way of working out your day.

Likewise, schools compartmentalize creativity to fit certain fields. Art, music, and drama certainly commend creativity in every way possible. But mathematics and science? True, English allows for creative writing with prescribed rules. But much of the “serious” subjects prevent it. As if creativity and important thought don’t mix.

Being a fan of Edward de Bono’s approaches, I like the way that comparison and lateral thinking can get us working beyond the predictable. His book “Rock Logic Water Logic” opens up fresh ways of using thought that I admire.  And gradually, finally, we are seeing some classrooms make use of his “Six thinking Hats” as a way to separate critical thinking from idea creation and more.

But creativity still gets dropped into a box.

How can you apply creativity to daily life? By asking questions that look for fresh ways to think, whilst you keep on keeping aware. Though kids are Rhode Scholars at observing, we, being such sensible adults, spent far too much time and headspace assuming.

What if, instead of one way we develop three ways to do the usual things we do? How would life look if we started to simplify our tasks but still achieve the same amount? What happens when we compare the ideas of a seemingly unrelated field to the one we’re working in? For that matter, what have people already discovered that we aren’t using? And who can we talk to who could make our lives more fulfilling and effective?

Real life rarely boxes science, language, mathematics, or creativity. These themes weave through experience. By recognizing blends, you begin to see a whole realm of new opportunities; each starting with the incredible power of possibility. That’s what applying everyday creativity is all about.


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