Where does creativity come from?

It’s a widely debated philosophical/physiological debate, which largely remains unanswered. Are creative individuals simply wired that way? Is it the prefrontal cortex, right brain, hippocampus, superior temporal gyrus, density of white matter or the current favourite, the default mode network.

Or perhaps creativity can come from anyone, given the right environment, tools or processes.  Here’s some food for thought.

Boredom

Boredom exists in a situation, where an individual feels fulfilled in their current situation, where they have more to give than they are able to. In today’s fast paced world, we plug these gaps with other stimulations. However, if we sit with our boredom and give ourselves the brain space to think, without fearing what comes of those thoughts, it creates a environment for creativity. Boredom is a friend of creativity.

Permission

This plays a huge role in creative thinking. If phrases like ‘It’s not allowed’, ‘We’ve never done it like that’, ‘That won’t fit with our existing processes’ are the enemies of creativity. If we were given permission to think beyond the current status quo, we can start to look beyond the boundaries to better ways of doing things.

Formulas

A creative process commonly used in consultancy and product development, takes something current; a business, a service or product – and works through the following:

Subtraction - what does taking something away look like and how would it work?
Unification - what does adding everything together look like and how would it work?
Multiplying - what does scalability look like and how would it work?
Division - what does dividing look like and how would it work?

Templates

It may sound counter-intuitive to introduce such a rigid concept as templates and patterns to creativity. However, creativity does need direction. It needs a signpost from which to work from. A starting point from which to grow something meaningful. This concept is used in songwriting, which uses the verses/chorus template to develop concepts into fully fledged songs.

Creative thinking has the capability of solving problems, moving things forward and making things better. Take a moment, to think about it – creatively.

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