I like to think of myself as creative. But it occurs to me that we are often tempted to limit our understanding of creativity to those wonderful artists that transport us from this world into a magical place of wonder through their writing, acting, directing, dancing, painting… And while that is most certainly a very real expression of what creativity is, it is not all it is.
In our marketing world, we often refer to “creatives”. Those designers and art directors, for instance, who are able to tell stories with our brands and bring them to life in exciting ways. "Creatives" are often people whose dress sense or style of communication might be a little less conformist. “He’s a creative type,” we say, to explain why someone doesn’t quite fit into our conventional organisational structure.
The thing is, creativity is primarily a way of thinking. It is the art of seeing things differently. As such, it is a central part of problem solving and idea generation. And since ideas, quite possibly, are the most valuable competitive edge you have, creativity must surely be a central part of brand management? An essential tool in strategy development. If so, shouldn’t we all be a little “creative”?
The joy about this sort of creativity is that it is not limited to inherent talents or personality or preferential ways of thinking. And it certainly has nothing to do with being more left- or right-brained. (In fact, the idea of people processing things based on “left” or “right” brain preferences has recently been shown to be nothing more than a myth).
While some people are naturally more capable in this area, creative thinking is a skill which can be taught and fostered in the right environment. The type of creativity that is responsible for ideas and solutions can be accessed through a variety of tools and techniques. And they are available to everyone, regardless of how “uncreative” you may think you are. All you need is a willingness to go there and a little time.
While many companies and jobs are not necessarily structured to harness the innate creativity that drives productivity and innovation, just choosing to “think differently” about a problem or opportunity may be enough to spark some ideas into life. And taking some structured time out to look at the problem creatively, will open a world of new possibilities to you.
- Sharlene Zeederberg