1. Creativity is inherent in all of us
Forget titles, job descriptions, and hierarchy. Creativity is not a set of skills, but a mindset that defies routine thinking and encourages exploration. To be human is to be creative. Richard Montañez, a janitor at a California Frito-Lay plant for nearly 20 years, was inspired by a message from the company's president to think like an owner. While enjoying a cup of corn spiced with cheese and chiles, he conceived an idea for a new flavor. He convinced executives to give it a try, and Flamin' Hot Cheetos quickly became Frito-Lay's best-selling snack.
2. Creativity is full of contradictions
The paradoxes of creativity are an integral part of its enigmatic nature. Creativity is intelligent, yet it requires a willingness to question. It is playful, yet disciplined in pursuit of a goal. Passionate yet objective, energetic yet reflective, individual yet collaborative—these are just a few of the paradoxes inherent in creativity. The wayfinding system at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children incorporates playfulness to enhance its functionality. Each building and floor is assigned a distinct color and represents a habitat from the natural world, ranging from the depths of the ocean (lower ground floor) to the heights of the skies (upper floors). Vibrant illustrations serve as an easy guide for families navigating the complex hospital.
3. Creativity is constructive
Creativity is a generative and productive force that welcomes alternative possibilities. Its essence lies in making a meaningful impact. Creativity demands practical application. In response to the alarming number of children under five dying from hygiene-related illnesses, Global Handwashing Day was established to promote handwashing with soap. The program utilizes colorful figurines to communicate this message to children worldwide, transcending language and cultural barriers. Today, over 200 million people in 100 countries celebrate this day and adopt life-saving hygiene practices.
4. Creativity requires courage
Creativity prioritizes imagination over conformity. It necessitates letting go of certainties and thinking expansively. It also demands a strong dose of determination and self-belief. History has shown that new ideas are often met with indifference, ridicule, or even hostility. Courage and creativity go hand in hand. Renowned architect Frank Gehry aims for his buildings to evoke experiences, not just admiration. He deliberately defies architectural conventions, provoking emotional reactions. Often met with resistance, his buildings challenge engineering norms and invite diverse interpretations. Local protests against the construction of his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao ultimately gave way to its recognition as one of the most admired contemporary architectural marvels.
5. Creativity is perceptive
Seeing and perceiving are distinct concepts. Sight is visual and concrete, while perception is subjective and interpretive. Highly creative individuals possess a well-developed ability to perceive things from fresh perspectives, identify patterns, and make connections that others may overlook. Kim Kiroic, a Chinese footwear designer, keenly observes global culture. His shoe designs blend Eastern and Western fashion, ranging from Western-style sneakers with open toes (reflecting Chinese sandal preferences) to conceptual Western Oxford-style shoes adorned with tall, sculptural wooden heels inspired by the Qing Dynasty.
6. Creativity can either be ignited or stifled.
Environments that foster freedom of exploration, exposure to diverse stimuli, and dedicated time for reflection are catalysts for individual and collective creativity. However, imaginative thinking can be hindered by an excess of rules and regulations, narrow-minded thinking, the stigmatization of failure, an excessive focus on efficiency, and a preference for conformity over originality. As an example, when Nike enlisted director Casey Neistat to create their latest commercial, Neistat discarded the preapproved script and embarked on a global journey with his team. He captured their experiences and presented the footage as the ad. Although this direction was not initially endorsed by Nike, the company embraced the concept of "Make It Count." The ad swiftly became a viral sensation, accumulating six million views in just three weeks.
7. Creativity embodies childlike qualities.
Children often possess a natural inclination for creativity, unburdened by self-consciousness. They ask endless questions and engage in lateral thinking. Unfortunately, as adults accumulate experience and expertise, they can inadvertently inhibit new ideas. Embracing a childlike mindset, inspired by possibilities, often fuels creativity. Pablo Picasso once remarked, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." Picasso liberated himself from excessive self-criticism and allowed his imagination to roam freely. In contrast to many adults who become stifled by societal conventions, Picasso discovered the courage to express himself uninhibitedly.
8. Creativity thrives on embracing ambiguity.
Most individuals find ambiguity uncomfortable and tend to shy away from it. However, a distinguishing trait of a creative thinker is their readiness to accept ambiguity, embrace discomfort, and focus on the potential it holds. Instead of seeking refuge in the familiar, the creative mind lingers in the unknown, willingly trading comfort for the possibilities that lie within. Dale Chihuly, a renowned glass artist, challenges the conventional perception of beauty and the traditional definition of art. While glass is traditionally associated with utilitarian purposes, Chihuly's sculptures transcend functionality. His comfort with ambiguity paves the way for asymmetrical designs and an avant-garde approach, inspiring future generations of glass artists.