Creativity: Why It Is So Important
The typical image that most people conjure up when they think about creativity is an eccentric artist, perhaps an inventor that seems really "out there" or maybe it's that lone writer who does nothing but work on their next novel.
Creativity is not an act or function of genius which is why most people believe they're not creative at all. Actually, creativity is a function of each and every human being.
All people have the capacity to create something. Creativity comes out in different ways in different people. Some people like to knit, others may design landscapes and still others may paint, write, compose, sculpt or play a piano. Creativity is the human ability to transform one thing into another, to bring something from nothing.
The process of creativity has made the world a better place for all people. Think about the world just 100 years ago and how different a place it was. How many things that we use today have been created in the past 100 years? Automobiles, aircraft, refrigeration, production of electricity, air conditioning - I'm sure the list would be long.
The point is that all of these things were brought into being through the creative process. I'd say creativity has transformed our world - and that makes it very important.
Pablo Picasso on Creativity
Essentially, Everyone is Creative
The acceptable view that a creative person is a genius or loner is simply not true. Everyone has the seeds of creativity in them right now - it's just a matter of accessing that creative ability and learning how to use it.
Creativity must be developed in adults as a skill, however, creativity has always been there from a very young age.
Look at young children just learning to play. All these kids need is a stick or a box combined with their limitless imagination and they can create a world in which they exist - to them this imaginary world is real.
It is a world of their own creation, a product of their innate creativity. These young kids are not loners or geniuses - they choose to create because the act of creation is in each of them.
Guess what? That desire to create is still in there, even after you become an adult.
Creative Thinking is the Beginning of All Things
Creativity seems to be lacking in most areas of our modern, technological, knowledge-based society. The educational systems in place today largely teach students to focus on developing their ability to gather and retrieve facts and information. Once this information is collected, students are tested on how correctly the information is organized and are penalized for such minor infractions like grammar, misidentification of a concept or misspelled words.
It's as if a student fails to recombine the collected information correctly, they are marked down for it. Modern educational systems focus on correct knowledge and accuracy of fact rather than creativity. The creative thinking mind moves beyond this and transforms what is real and accepted knowledge or fact into something as yet unrealized - into something completely new.
Don't get me wrong - grammar, spelling and the ability to properly identify concepts are vital, however, they should take a backseat to the creative process.
Creative thinking begins with the destruction of recombinant learning. Real creativity must intentionally and systematically destroy what is known to be in order to create and make room for something new.
Creative Thinking: Edward de Bono
The best example I have for explaining this concept is a fine art painting. The process begins with a clean, white canvas or surface.
In order for the artist to create something new, this clean surface must be destroyed. The artist covers it in paint in order to create a whole new image.
The clean, white canvas has been transformed into something completely different and new.
In this sense, the result of the creative process is intentional destruction of the canvas in order to make something new.
Creativity Challenges Normal Understanding
Why do we need creativity? Why should the creative process be encouraged in today's educational institutions?
Think about the process of Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb, Copernicus developing his heliocentric theory of our solar system or Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone.
All of these inventions radically changed the world. All of these inventions created something real from nothing - a blank canvas. All of these people refused to accept the normal, accepted understanding of something and created anyway.
My point is this - the world needs creative thinkers now more than ever. There are major problems on this planet today like the availability of and access to enough clean drinking water, problems of hunger, environmental destruction, etc.
It will be the creative process that people will use to tear down the structure of normal, accepted thinking and create new realities for the betterment of people everywhere.
Shouldn't that be enough impetus to teach the creative process in our educational institutions today?