The Eagle Blog

Creativity

When I was younger I firmly believed that I had not an ounce of creativity in me … I was not artistic in any way and I imagined that it was always others that came up with the good ideas. I certainly don’t feel that way any more !

So … what makes the difference? What makes some people seem creative and others can’t seem to get out of their rut? Is there some magic to thinking creatively? Is it a learned skill or is it in the genes?

The kind of creativity demonstrated by various artists has to be in the genes, in the same way that a professional athlete needs to have a predisposition for their particular skill. However (a) the natural ability is not enough, hard work is also needed and (b) it is also possible to become a very good athlete (artist) through discipline and hard work!

So to all intents and purposes I think creativity is a learned skill and there are a number of ways to increase your creativity in business. Here are some ideas:

1. READ a lot! This should include novels, fiction and fact, biographies, business books, newspapers, magazines, blogs … anywhere that you can stretch your mind.
2. Understand how things are done in other industries, and keep an open mind about how they might apply in your industry.
3. Brainstorm ideas with other people … away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
4. Employ some of the tools available to stimulate the creative side of your brain. A quick Google search uncovers many sites offering innovation tools or networks to help you work through creative ideas.
5. Understand and enjoy the innovation you see in other people’s ideas, such as Larry Keating’s “No Panic Computing” I talked about a couple of days ago. Here is a website of relatively new business ideas that are truly creative.
6. Ask lots of questions and truly listen!

My work is in the staffing industry and we are on the cusp of being incredibly important to the future of Canada’s industrial capability, as we struggle with growing skills shortages and increased global competition. Our focus needs to be on finding creative staffing solutions that ensure Canadian industry is second to none, and that is how we will bring true value to our clients … not by offering the same solution as the next guy for a dollar less! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

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6 thoughts on “Creativity

  1. I’m sorry, but I must disagree with you believing that creativity is a learned skill. Perhaps you can learn not to be change averse and perhaps you can be directed somewhat in the direction of thinking a little differently, but creativity is very much mapped to intelligence and intelligence is not a learned skill. Someone can be smart, without being intelligent — the intelligent are those who can turn things on their head and come up with a completely new way of doing something, not just “improved”. I have managed many people at different levels over the years and have tried to create environments that nurtured creativity, but alas, it was not to be.
    As Albert Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Believing that you can in effect teach someone to be creative results in dipping into insanity as described by Einstein!

  2. I’m sorry, but I must disagree with you believing that creativity is a learned skill. Perhaps you can learn not to be change averse and perhaps you can be directed somewhat in the direction of thinking a little differently, but creativity is very much mapped to intelligence and intelligence is not a learned skill. Someone can be smart, without being intelligent — the intelligent are those who can turn things on their head and come up with a completely new way of doing something, not just “improved”. I have managed many people at different levels over the years and have tried to create environments that nurtured creativity, but alas, it was not to be.
    As Albert Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Believing that you can in effect teach someone to be creative results in dipping into insanity as described by Einstein!

  3. Thanks for an alternate opinion! I certainly don’t claim to be right all the time (I just talk a lot), and you certainly have some valid points.

    Maybe there is a different explanation. Perhaps creativity is inside us and most people just need to learn how to harness it. I do agree that intelligence is a factor but there are also many different types of intelligence. You can find people who are total genius at math, but you wouldn’t let them drive your car. There are also many “street smart” people who did not do so well at school. So, what type of intelligence is at play?

    I think that very much like motivation, creativity has to come from within the person. They need to “get it” before they open their mind to new possibilities. Once they do then they begin to see the world in a different way.

    I do agree that most people will keep their blinkers on for life … but I’m an optimist and I think within all of us is more potential. Creativity is one of those talents many people keep hidden.

  4. Thanks for an alternate opinion! I certainly don’t claim to be right all the time (I just talk a lot), and you certainly have some valid points.

    Maybe there is a different explanation. Perhaps creativity is inside us and most people just need to learn how to harness it. I do agree that intelligence is a factor but there are also many different types of intelligence. You can find people who are total genius at math, but you wouldn’t let them drive your car. There are also many “street smart” people who did not do so well at school. So, what type of intelligence is at play?

    I think that very much like motivation, creativity has to come from within the person. They need to “get it” before they open their mind to new possibilities. Once they do then they begin to see the world in a different way.

    I do agree that most people will keep their blinkers on for life … but I’m an optimist and I think within all of us is more potential. Creativity is one of those talents many people keep hidden.

  5. I think you were on the right track. I actually agree you can learn (and teach) creativity.
    “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron (and millions of fans of the book) seem to agree as well.
    Cheers!
    LJP

  6. I think you were on the right track. I actually agree you can learn (and teach) creativity.
    “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron (and millions of fans of the book) seem to agree as well.
    Cheers!
    LJP

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