What comes to mind if you think of the word ‘creativity’?
For me, it used to conjure up images of elaborate works of art. Creativity was something reserved for artists, authors or musicians. I did not believe myself to be a creative person.
When I look back I realise that as a child I was very creative. I could spend hours writing stories, making things and drawing pictures. There was nothing I loved more than to sit with paint, crayons, glue or other art materials and creating something just for the sake of it.
Somewhere along the way my artistic side got rejected, first by others and then by myself. However, over time I have learnt to no longer deny that part of me. I now realise that being creative has nothing to do with skill and talent but about my personal self expression and doing it just for the joy of it.
Do you hold yourself back from engaging in creative tasks? If so, what blocks you from doing this?
I believe that as society we have become less connected to our creative selves. Modern society frequently values logic over creativity. This message is often given to us from a young age, with many educational establishments placing more emphasis on subjects of logic, such as science and mathematics. There are less people taking up the arts subjects. John Last (2017), a professor at the Norwich University of the Arts said:
Figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications for BCSE entries in 2016 show a 6 per cent decline in the number of Art and Design pupils compared with 2015..... and there was a further decline in 2017.
Often in our modern society there is a focus on achieving and we are frequently judged on our performance and technical abilities. If we are not a technically a great artist we may become discouraged by the judgement of our peers, teachers and/or our school grades. Many people confess, myself included, to dropping creative arts either as a subject or as a hobby as they felt what they produced was not good enough to be of any value. Yet creating art or music, regardless of ability, can be used as a means of expression, to help us gain new insights, discover new ways of coping or be cathartic. Research often demonstrates that that engaging in creative activities boosts our well-being.
Creativity goes beyond painting a picture or composing a piece of music. It is also about thinking outside of the box, listening to our intuition, coming up with creative solutions to problems and challenges. Yet many organisations insist on their employees following policies and procedures to maximize output and minimise risk. Yet creative thinking can bring about innovation and give a company the leading edge. Creativity also keeps employees passionate and engaged in their work. Geroski (1992) said
Comparing samples of innovative and non-innovative firms, we find very noticeable differences in performance between the two types of firm over the trade cycle. In particular, the profits and growth rates of innovative firms hold up much better in recessions than those non-innovators ......... innovating firms enjoy profits about 7.4% larger than those of non-innovating firms, and their growth rates are, on average, about 5.6% higher
Last, J. (2017) A crisis in the creative arts in the UK? Higher Education Policy Institute. September 2017 HEPI Policy Note 2.
Geroski, P. (1992) Do Innovating Firms Outperform Non-Innovators? Business Strategy Review. Volume 3. Issue 2. Page 79-90