The myth about creativity
The common misconception about creativity is that only some people are (or can be) creative. This is a myth and simply not true; everybody can be creative. Look at children! They have endless creativity and fun, why don’t we as adults? So, the question is, how do we get it back? As Ursula Le Guin has put it: “The creative adult is the child who survived.” How do we unlearn the things we have learned on our way to adulthood? It is all about allowing your mind to be free and look at the world with wonder, without judgment, just like when we were children.
How to be more creative?
Design thinking is one approach that can be used to unleash creativity, helping those who are not designers to think more like designers. Design thinking is an approach to collective problem solving, giving the best results in teams with a diverse set of participants from multiple disciplines. It is a mind-set for inquiry and problem solving as well as a culture that fosters exploration. Creativity is all about openness and willingness to learn and improve. Watch this video to learn more.
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook
Judgment and evaluation are an important part of creative progress, but one must first get started by creating ideas and having something to evaluate. The best ideas come from trial and error, as well as thinking of things in ways no one else has thought of before.
Tools for creativity
In order to reach to the core of creative self, one can try different types of tools, exercises and facilitators to help. To unleash creativity, having too much room does not make it easy to explore the best options efficiently; it is good to have a frame of user-centricity by studying a situation and people in it. One needs to free themselves from judgment to create a variety of ideas, by research, inspiration and wonder. The best ideas are selected and in a fast manner explored by visuals, drawings and prototypes, failures learned from and multiple ideas evaluated. The reached solution suggestions are then improved on and optimized for maximum impact. More information about tools for unleashing your creativity from Mindshake and Interaction design websites.
Tom & David Kelley have introduced a concept of Creative Confidence; the notion that you have big ideas and the ability to act on them. It is about believing in yourself and being brave enough to think, try and innovate. It is important that the environment supports creative efforts by providing time, tools, space and other resources. Everyone can create with others, if they are willing and open to believe in themselves.
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure.” – Brené Brown
Tom & David Kelley emphasize choosing creativity and believing that we can create and engage relaxed attention. It is an important part of the process to ask – like we did as children – “why”? and “Why not”? Read more about creative confidence from Design kit by IDEO.
Supporting creativity in organizations
Management has a very specific role in nurturing creativity within their teams. Allowing for failure and encouraging to try things out are fundamental to finding the best solutions for problems and possibilities. Creative culture is about living with uncertainty and ambiguity, leveraging new opportunities from it. It is about curiosity; it is a way of thinking and working, occasional workshops won’t cut it.
“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” – Edward De Bono
Teach employees to be creativity ambassadors to others, facilitators and encourage them to unleash their creativity. As an educator, teach students to not give up but push forward when failing. As people, be brave, look at the world with wonder and excitement and don’t be afraid to fail and learn. Many unforeseen elements can be used creatively, as long as you keep your mind open and look at the world with wonder, through the eyes of your inner child.
Written by Service Innovation and Design MBA students Niina Luostarinen and ES.
Barnhart, B. (2021). 22 Insightful creativity quotes. Vectornator. https://www.vectornator.io/blog/creativity-quotes/.
Brown, T. (2008). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95. http://www.ideo.com/images/uploads/thoughts/IDEO_HBR_Design_Thinking.pdf.
Buchanan, R. (1996). Wicked problems in Design Thinking. In Margolin, V. & Buchanan, R. The Idea of Design. A Design Issues Reader. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. (2013). Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business.
Kolko, J. (2015). Design thinking comes of age. The approach, once used primarily in product design, is now infusing corporate culture. Harvard Business Review September 2015, 66-71.
Mootee, I. (2013). Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School. Wiley.