Creativity (or creativeness) is a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts. From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent thought) are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness. An alternative, more everyday conception of creativity is that it is simply the act of making something new.
This is how Wikipedia, the new benchmark, defines creativity. Wiktionary (the dictionary part) defines it clearer:
creativity (plural creativities)
Clearly this is a start for our journey into creativity, but we must not allow ourselves to be bound by these definitions, accurate as they are. We all know what creativity is, or if we don’t, we have a vague idea of what it is when we see it. I want to explore creativity. How do you get it? Where can you see it in action? Can it be learned? Tied to creativity is innovation, the two are often intertwined but are different. If creativity is the production of new ideas, then innovation is the process of production and implementation of new ideas. Innovation is a process of using creativity to produce something useful. Creativity is part of that process, its the start bit, in my opinion a very important bit.
Creativity has dogged scientists who have wished to measure creativity and categorise its different elements. That’s not a failing of science, just an understanding of the depth and breadth of the problem for anybody wishing to put a measure against it. I dont want to do that here, as I have neither the scientific rigor or training (or time..or interest) to do so. What I want to do is explore and highlight creativity and innovation, and hopefully in doing so we will learn what it is, and how to foster it for our benefit. I am also hoping that this will be a journey for others as well.
As a society we have invested a lot of time and money and effort in technology to manage information. Information was seen as the driving force behind a lot of the innovation over the last twenty years. But we have many problems that now beset us, and information isnt going to help us, no matter how much you have and how fast you can sling it about the world. No, innovative solutions are the only way out, and to do that we are going to need a lot more creativity, from ourselves and the generation following us. We need to teach creativity to our children, in schools, in colleges and Universities. We need to make ourselves more creative. The answer to the problems might lay with you – in fact they do lie with you, and me. We just havent realised it yet.
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