Defining Creativity

Defining Creativity

01.03.2018 | Jonathan Burroughs

Given that we chose the name Creative Places, we ought to be able to define what being creative means! So in this my first blog of 2018 I take a look at what creativity is, before moving on in subsequent blogs to looking at what it means to us as place makers and property advisors.

Creativity is the use of imagination and original ideas to create something of value – which can take many forms.      

Being creative we might also say …….

“Tapping into your soul and your intuition and allowing them to guide what you make” – Bernadette Jiwa

“Living in possibility and abundance rather than limitation and scarcity” – CJ Lyons

“Taking what’s in front of you and everybody else and making something new of it” – Austin Kleon

We think of creativity delivering something imaginative and different from what has gone before. Creating something that is novel.

The output might be horrible and a waste of time, or it might be startlingly good and amazing. In the art world something good will be something pleasing. In the business world it will be something valuable in monetary terms.

On one end of the spectrum is Artistic Creativity, which is personal and is closely associated to the arts and other intuitive activities. This is generally seen as be aesthetic, beautiful.

On the other end of the spectrum we find Technical Creativity that is closely linked to theories on creative thinking, commercial design and business.

Where people structure new theories, technologies or ideas to create something functional, for a purpose. Between the two can be an important, varying mix of artistic and technical creativity. Simple curiosity probably lies at the heart of the most productive business orientated creativity. Children ask questions of things without necessarily thinking deeply. They want to know more about things as soon as they start to see them, as they start to touch and taste objects they meet for the first time. As they learn to talk they will ask the most obvious and wildest of questions, puzzle over things themselves in their own minds, and trying out ideas. This is all good and there is a lot to be learnt from it, humbling though this may be!

To answer a question at fundamental level, you have to observe something closely, to gather the information you need to satisfy your curiosity and build from there. And to do this, you have to really engage, truly get involved in exploration and lateral thinking. Learning from your experiences and from others. You need to find what something or an issue looks, feels and/or sounds like, extending this experience in tangible ways as best you can. The process often raises questions, of ourselves and others, all of which generates creative thought. And particularly if the process involves working constructively with others – of other sexes, backgrounds and personality types, it can be very good indeed!!

Some further thoughts on creative thinking (just for fun) ……

“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday” – Ray Kroc

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by” – Douglas Adams


And have faith in creativity …

Have faith in that voice beyond reason,

For it is a voice of intuition, passion and truth.

It is a voice not elected through a democratic process,

Or imposed on you by law, procedure or obsession.

It is also a voice that speaks of humility, sympathy and need.

For it is a voice of our creation, and a part of something greater.

Have faith in that voice beyond reason.