So you think creativity is not for you? Wrong! That’s just one of the myths surrounding the key skill of the future. Let's see why!
Did you know that creativity is considered one of the key skills of the future? Yet, we still find uncertainty and misconceptions surrounding this concept. Many believe that creativity belongs to arts and do not recognize themselves as the “creative types”. However, even though “creative” and “artistic” are often used interchangeably, their meanings are not the same.
With the technological advancement redefining our jobs, understanding how to cultivate original ideas becomes increasingly more important. According to World Economic Forum, there is a rising demand for soft skills, such as creativity, analytical thinking, innovation and active learning. In fact, creativity is said to be related to 9 of the top 10 skills that global executives consider essential for 2020 and on.
Creativity goes far beyond painting a beautiful picture, composing an emotional song or writing a witty poem. In fact, it is our ability to create new ideas, find patterns and connections between ideas and solve problems in any discipline of our lives. Simply put, creativity is about getting the everyday stuff done and solving problems in original ways – whether it’s working on a new groundbreaking theory or simply reorganising your desk. So, yes, artists and designers can be creative, but so can the analytical types among us – the engineers, software developers, lawyers or CEOs.
Let’s go ahead and debunk some of the most common myths about creativity:
Myth #1: You are either born creative or not.
A very common myth is that creative people are some sort of special breed – the artists, creators, innovators. But a specific level of creativity isn’t magically granted to us at birth and it’s not a superpower that remains at a constant capacity throughout our lives.
An encouraging amount of research shows that when it comes to creativity, practice is extremely important and with proper training, anyone can deliver new and creative ideas. So, contrary to popular belief, we should think of creativity as an expandable muscle that can be exercised and developed. Same as you can’t become a world champion athlete without training, building a creative capacity requires focus, time, and practice.
Myth #2: The Muse.
Even though we don’t believe in Muses literally anymore, this myth still remains. When we are faced with a challenge, we often feel in need of a perfect setting to unleash our inner creativity – hours can pass while we sit around, procrastinating and waiting for the stars to align and inspiration to strike. I for once can be found guilty of this excuse from time to time.
When the “AHA- moment” finally hits, it might feel like a sudden flash of insight striking from a blue sky, but that’s not really true. Even though the idea might seem sudden, it’s a result of previously accumulated knowledge and observations. People who develop confidence in their knowledge, by working hard and trying to constantly learn and those who regularly interact and exchange their knowledge with others will most likely produce creative and original ideas.
Myth #3: Constraints kill creativity.
It’s widely believed that truly original ideas come from creative freedom and unlimited resources, however, research suggests that, in fact, creativity loves constraints. Complete creative freedom can overwhelm us, eventually make us lose focus. On the contrary – when we are faced with a certain set of rules, we are forced to be more resourceful and come up with more inventive ideas based on what we have available. Constraints broaden our perception and make us think more critically.
So, don’t be afraid of the obstacles you face, but try to use them at your advantage. The more constraints you overcome, the better you become at connecting seemingly unrelated concepts and ideas.
Myth #4: It’s not my JOB to be creative.
Some still presume that there is no room for creative activities in the traditional work environments. Or that creativity is related to only specific departments in an organisation like advertising, graphic design or marketing.
Fortunately, this mindset is changing. More and more businesses acknowledge the importance of creative thinking and realize that creative problem solving and everyday creativity is essential for successful advancement and keeping up with a rapidly changing business world.
We have to understand that today being creative is everyone’s job and it can’t be viewed as something only the artsy people do. There is not a single discipline at any organisational level that wouldn’t get a positive boost from new ideas and creative problem solving, so we have to embrace creative thinking at every meeting, customer interaction and any business setting.
Myth #5: Creativity = Innovation.
Creativity and innovation are terms that are often used interchangeably. Both processes are complementary and rely on each other. However, they are not the same thing.
Creativity is our cognitive ability to find connections, rules and patterns to create new, original ideas and identify possibilities. Innovation, on the other hand, is about turning these ideas into reality by introducing new, feasible and useful products, processes, services or business models.
Simply put – innovation is the implementation of creative ideas. Both processes can’t do without one another – innovation needs creative people to develop new, groundbreaking ideas, as much as creativity needs an innovative approach to make sure that the new ideas become reality.
5 easy ways to boost creativity
There are tons of different ways you can inspire creativity – from little changes you can implement in your daily life to various kinds of exercises that can help you develop a creative mindset. Here are 5 simple steps to get you started.
1. Try a different workspace. There are many small changes you can implement in your office and daily life, to encourage creativity. Did you know that 60 % of the creative people operate in 2-3 different workspaces? Apparently, occasionally changing your environment allows your mind to see ideas from a different angle and even create new solutions. Try to switch up your office workspace, or, if that’s an option – try working from a local coffee shop, library or even your home office for a day.
2. Details that inspire creativity. A simple way of encouraging inspiration and creativity is filling the office with various visual stimuli, especially if they aren’t related to your industry – interesting furniture, paintings, photographs, different magazines.
3. Wellbeing and creativity. Our health and wellbeing can significantly influence our creativity. The healthier we feel, the more creative we tend to be. Consider standing desks, sleep-in policies, a corporate gym membership, fruit deliveries, add indoor plants or organize walk-meetings. According to a Stanford study, compared to sitting, walking while brainstorming can demonstrate a 60 % increase in the creative output. So, next time you need to come up with new ideas, consider taking a brief walk around the neighborhood.
4. Office that supports creativity. Many hours are spent in our workplace, so naturally, it has a significant impact on our creative thinking. Even the layout of your office can contribute to everyday creativity. If you can arrange the office in a way that constantly makes people run into each other, it will encourage more interactions and conversations. The more people interact with each other, the bigger the chance for new, creative discoveries.
You can also set up different workspaces that support creative thinking: quiet rooms, chill zones, rooms for large teams or one on-one-discussions. Of course, not everyone can afford a major revamp of an office space – you can start with simply moving the fruit bowl or a coffee maker to a new location or rename the meeting rooms to encourage a different type of thinking: fx Brainstorming room, the collaboration room, etc.
5. Let it simmer. Interestingly, researchers discovered that allowing your ideas to “simmer” for a while or go through an “incubation period” is important when it comes to our creative success. Even taking a break and stepping away from your project for just 20 minutes can significantly enhance your performance.
No wonder it is said that the best ideas come to us while in a shower. Turns out that the relaxing setting and absolute isolation of a warm shower makes an excellent incubator for new ideas. In fact, any other activities that make us feel good and relaxed, like exercising, taking a walk, cooking, increase our dopamine flow and fuel our subconscious “idea generation machine”.
It’s not rocket science
We are all creative, no matter how old we are or what our industry and job position is. By accepting the label “not the creative type” we don’t even try to give a chance to our creative potential. Cultivating and nurturing creativity is not at all that complicated, it is, after all, a natural part of being a human – it only takes a bit of time, practice and motivation to train and grow our “creative muscle”.
Do you need a kickstart on implementing creativity in your work and everyday life? Join our briefing on Boosting your Creative Confidence either in Aarhus or in Copenhagen. Here, we will discuss why creativity is the skill of the future and learn inspiration icebreakers, discover easy ways to be more creative every day and how to make our surroundings more inspiring.