When you think about being creative, what first comes to mind? Painting a masterpiece, or composing a winning melody? And can everyone be creative, or is 'genius' restricted to a chosen few? In this post, we explore what it means to be creative in everyday situations, and how we can all ignite our own creativity spark.
Creativity is a core part of Lucidity's approach, but we don't spend much of our time making new things. True, we help businesses with their communications - which can include marketing materials - and we love this kind of work. And we seek to be creative in everything we do. But what do we mean when we say that? We thought we'd interrogate the idea in some more detail.
The definition of creativity incorporates two stages. First, there's the act of developing new ideas. Rather than wait for genius to strike, new ideas come when you take the time to look at the world in different ways, approaching challenges from a range of perspectives. This approach helps you to find new patterns and make new connections. Next, you have to put those ideas into practice. Creativity is about identifying new solutions and then finding ways to make them work.
Sounds easy, right? It would be, were it not for our need to be accepted by our peers. Introducing new ideas puts that acceptance at risk, and as we leave the freedom of our childhoods behind, our fear of being excluded grows. This is illustrated brilliantly in an experiment carried out by Bob Mckim of Stanford Design School and retold by Tim Brown in his TED talk, Tales of creativity and play. Tim describes how Bob would ask his students to draw the person sitting next to them, giving them just 30 seconds to complete their masterpiece. The point? To demonstrate the fear of non-acceptance. When the 30 seconds was up, almost all the students apologised to their neighbour about their efforts and were embarrassed at what they'd produced. It's this fear that causes us to be cautious in our thinking. And caution stifles creativity.
Luckily for us, we don't pay too much attention to caution or fear at Lucidity, leaving us free to be creative in different ways. Here are some examples.
1. Working in partnership to deliver great service
We've been working on a number of projects with The Partnership Lab over the past six months and can really see the benefit this brings, to Lucidity and to our clients. Working in partnership with another micro-business means we work with more clients across more varied projects. It means we can offer a more complete service, combining our different areas of expertise. And it means we can be more creative in our solutions, drawing on even broader perspectives and challenging the value of new ideas as they emerge. Partnership working really is the new black!
2. Finding new solutions to long-standing challenges
A good deal of our projects call for help with situations that have persisted for some time. The challenge is to find a way to see through the issues to a solution - or range of solutions - that will make a real change. These can come in a number of guises. Sometimes, it's a matter of airing the different perspectives to reach a common understanding of the challenge and its impact on all stakeholders. Other projects call for a systematic review of opportunities, so that services can be realigned. And at other times, it takes a more fundamental look at how an operation is organised to improve that performance. In all cases, we're able to take that crucial step back from the issues at hand, draw on our experience of different projects, and offer fresh ideas that can be put into practice.
3. Creating experiences to remember
A growing number of our projects are about delivering experiences, whether that's webinars or workshop for a professional development qualification, developing an offer for corporate away days, or organising a professional conference. This type of projects calls for creativity in spades! Not only are we thinking about what might work for those involved, we're working on solutions that will really enhance the experience, so that delegates and participants will remember the workshop, team building session or conference above others. And what's great is that this more traditional type of creativity is driving us to broaden our perspectives for all other projects. Truly a win-win!
Being able to be creative everyday is a privilege. But it's one that we should all be able to share. Creativity frees up your thinking, making work and play all the more exciting. So leave that fear behind you, and ignite your creativity spark.
If you need help encouraging your team to think differently, then get in touch. We'd be delighted to help.