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The Creativity Factor, Part 1

April 6, 2011

Creativity is Boundless by Pixelnase Pic

“I’m not creative.”

I hate to hear that. Everyone is creative. Usually folks who say that claim they aren’t artistically bent or have no musicality, can’t dance, can’t paint or draw, etc. That is such a small frame of reference!

Creativity is a state of mind.

Thinking of a new way to solve a puzzle is being creative. Mothers who make napkin holders out of dried twigs are creative. The engineer in Cary Grant’s “Operation Petticoat” who kept an engine running by using one of the nurses’ girdles to connect key moving parts is creative (as was the team that created the CO2 filter from incongruent parts in Apollo 13’s darkest hours).

Creativity can be a group or individual activity. In fact, we all have the gift of unique creativity.

It’s simply unlikely any two people are going to come up with the exact same idea at the same idea. When you look at major discoveries and inventions across the centuries, most have come about as a result of several scientists or inventors racing the clock to beat one another to The Big One. Galileo, seen today as the discoverer of the sun as center of our planetary system, was dogged by Johannes Kepler’s contrary views. In fact, Kepler was the one insisting that the tides were caused by the moon, a notion dismissed by Galileo. So everyone seemingly came to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ conclusions in their creative endeavors.

In modern times, we had the race for wireless transmission between Marconi and several others at the turn of the 20th century. This type of creativity was fostered from the Industrial Age onwards with a flurry of inventors, from Alexander Graham Bell, to Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse (amongst others), all racing against one another at times to achieve new breakthroughs in electricity and other related disciplines. One’s breakthrough might spur another on to new creative achievements.

Most of us do not achieve the same level of recognition for our creativity as Marconi or Walt Disney or Bill Gates. And while these three gentlemen received numerous accolades for their accomplishments, all had teams of ‘creators’ working for them towards their creative goals. In fact, Disney actually called his Imagineers. Perhaps their greatest creative achievements were actually in their abilities to build their teams, foster the creative environment around them, and mold the teams’ creative results into the final product they desired.

What do you do to foster creativity in your own life?

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