CreativityThere is a lot of talk about creativity and innovation. Everyone’s got to have these to build these amazing businesses! Be new! Be original! Be…what really? Is this truly necessary?

Valeria Maltoni (@ConversationAge, founder and co-host of #kaizenblog) and I decided to take on the idea of creativity in 21st century business for our #kaizenblog chat. In preparation for the chat, I did a little research and discovered 2 videos that talked about the importance of creativity in the 21st century. There are some who say that the “knowledge workers” are morphing into something else while others focus on how we will use the abilities of the right half of our brains more so than ever before. It’s worth checking out Dan Pink’s take on creativity here. Another person who has a lot to say about creativity is Ken Robinson who says the current education system kills creativity. If you are curious about how the conversation evolved, read this Transcript for #kaizenblog – Creativity.

It seemed to make sense to start at the beginning and ask, how do you describe creativity? More than just thinking up new ideas, it seemed important to find out what we all embed in our definitions of creativity. 

  • Lizzie Pauker (@lizziepauker)- “Creativity to me is all about innovation, new perspectives & thinking ‘outside the box.’ “
  • soumyapr (@soumyapr)- “Creativity is the ability to add disruptive change without losing the core value of an idea”
  • John Reddish (@GetResults)- “Creativity is going beyond or within to find new/innovative ways to expand consciousness /work-and we always need that.”
  • Andrew Fowler (@guhmshoo)- Remarkable content”
  • Joey Strawn (@joey_strawn)- “Creativity is the ability to show old things in a new way and the desire to create something from nothing.”
  • Caroline Di Diego (@CASUDI)- “Creativity is continuous innovating ~ looking for new and better ways 24/7 365.”
  • Laura Crum (@LauraLCrum)- “I think creativity is the ability to not be so focused on the path ahead that you lose the scenery options.”

The descriptions at time seem to contradict each other  and that is what is intriguing about creativity in general. Perhaps it is one of those things we know it if we see it? Another aspect that almost everyone made a comment or retweeted another participant’s comment regarding how action is integral to the creative process. Linda Naiman (@alchemize) seemed to capture this when she tweeted, “If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.”

I suppose we could have continued the discussion that described creativity as there were references to how target markets define the value of the creative idea, if passion plays a role, and if challenge does provide the spark for creativity to occur.

So we came back to the idea that the 21st century will demand we use the skills of the right brain. If you are not familiar with these skills, let us pause for a moment to review them. The left brain is responsible for analyzing, logic, sequencing, objectivity, and looking at parts. The right brain is responsible for noticing patterns, connections, intuition, and subjectivity. If right brain skills are truly more dominant now, how does that shape the use of creativity?

The responses seemed to reflect the tension that can polarize many into being in the right brain camp versus the left brain camp. While there doesn’t have to be an either/or answer, the tension is worth noting.

  • Amber Cleveland (@ambercleveland)- “W/ more right brain dominance, creativity should increase, but you still need left brain skills to support.”
  • Joey Strawn- “I agree! There needs to be marriage of the halves, while ideas need to come, there must be logical uses.”
  • Richard Becker (@richbecker)- “Creativity is seeing from a unique perspective. The right brain stuff is the boundaries we do it in.”

There are boundaries to right brain thinking? It seemed natural to ask how is the application of creativity the same or different in the 21st century? This part of the discussion picked up on the earlier theme of challenge perhaps providing the spark needed for creativity to occur.

  •  Amber Cleveland- “Creativity in 21st cent. is different b/c we have more tools, the same b/c we push our boundaries just like those b4.”
  • Joshua Pearlstein (@jpearlstein)- “It is the same, you have to be creative faster.”
  • “Richard Becker- “Creativity today isn’t all that different from Iron Chef. Limited ingredients often make for more interesting dishes.”
  • Caroline Di Diego- “Failing is def an ingredient for creativity ~ too much fear of failure NO creativity.”
  • Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial)- “In the Whole Mind World – Management=Knowing how to inspire creativity and how the heck to get out of the way.”

It doesn’t seem like we got any particular answers. It is clear from everyone’s responses that creativity is a necessity in  business, maybe even as we go forth as a society. It was also clear that we embed a lot of ideas into the concept of creativity.

What is your description of creativity?

What is the intersection between 21st century thinking and creativity?