industry thoughts from Clarteza

15 July
Mag Retelewski

Why Creativity Matters More Now Than Ever

Our reality has changed in March of 2020. We live in a new world. As a result, we will need a new way of thinking to navigate our lives, create new solutions, reframe our work or redefine entire business models. We will also likely need to redesign our lives. The trick is, we don’t know whether this is for a “while” or forever.

In a series of articles and posts, I will be sharing with you my passion for creativity and learning. For those of you who know me well, my life has been an interconnected web of influences, experiences, countries, categories and fields of education. I could create a resume of an executive, an entrepreneur or an artist. For most people, it would seem as each path represents a different person, not for me.

What connects and intersects my life, is the importance of creativity and its role as a fuel in my professional and personal life. I think of creativity as an essential skill in problem solving and innovation. For me personally, is also an important outlet of artistic expression.

Let’s begin. Creativity is a function of knowledge, curiosity, inspiration and imagination.

Creativity is generally thought of as the ability to imagine (conceptualize) new and unique ideas and then bringing them to live. It is an ability to recognize new connections between seemingly unrelated things.

The greater your knowledge base (ideally of different subjects) and your level of curiosity, the more ideas and combinations you might achieve, which then correlates to creating new and innovative solutions both at home or at work.

But merely having the knowledge does not guarantee the formation of new patterns. The pieces need to be shaken up, evaluated and iterated in new ways into usable ideas.

In other words, creativity is a process. It’s an essential element that fuels innovation.

Forbes recently listed essential skills for success at work. Creativity is in the top 10. Interestingly learnability is #1, which I feel, is closely related to creativity. It is more important to adapt your skills by growing and expanding your knowledge base, so you can use new information and skills to respond creatively to whatever is happening.

Why is creativity so important?

  1. You become a better problem solver. Creative people are often better and faster at solving problems, as they are more used to thinking outside of the box and are able to connect different fields.
  2. You can express yourself: Creativity is an outlet that can take any form you want it to. It gives you the opportunity to convey your feelings in unique ways and contributes to your level of happiness. As BrenĂ© Brown says: “The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity”.

You may ask yourself, what can I do to become more creative? Incidentally, one of the methods is to Restrict Yourself. I wanted to start with this one, to help you look at this new reality with a different lens.

Limited resources such as time, money, people, knowledge and other limitations, allow you to push your boundaries and be out of your comfort zone so you can come up with different, and often better solutions. In client simulations, we often had to come up with “hypothetical scenarios”. Not today.

I think we have plenty of imposed and self-imposed restrictions in place, so let’s look for our new Raison d’ĂȘtre, assuming we will be home, let’s say for “a while”.

I encourage you to sit down, take a deep breath (try to relax), and write down what you can accomplish by being “contained” at home. Think of this process as constrained creativity. Reframe your thinking from what you cannot do right now, to what you can accomplish. Look for what’s possible. Write as many options as you can. The first 20 thoughts will be relatively easy to think of, others completely silly. The breakthrough ideas may come after you list at least a 100.

An artist Phil Hansen, in an incredible TED talk once said: “We need to first be limited in order to become limitless”.

Who knows, maybe this exercise could give you some hope for the possibilities, you have not thought of before that could change your life for the better.