Creativity Rocks

Creativity is in all of us, we just have to find it and believe in our own potential.

Article by Ben Thompson / originally published on LinkedIn / September 15th 2017

What does it mean to be creative? And can you teach it?

I read several articles this week on this topic while I was preparing for a presentation. I started the work with the basic assumption that “yes, creativity is probably in all of us to some extent”, but some have more inherent abilities than others. On my way to assembling my presentation I stumbled across some great thinking on this that I thought was too good not to write about.

Ok first up, there is a guy called Ken Robinson, who basically says the education system in the US and Europe is screwed, and that it educates kids out of creativity by the time they are 11 or 12 in an effort to make sure they pass their exams and go to college / university. He makes a huge thing about creativity, how it is as important as literacy, and how your kids’ school is almost definitely NOT teaching it. Here’s a link to his work

Secondly I stumbled on a Ted talk by a lady called Angela Duckworth Lee.
Angela gives an excellent 5 minute piece on GRIT – the perseverance under pressure and through failure and disappointment towards long-held goals. The piece doesn’t mention it specifically, but in conversation with a learned friend of mine it occurred to me that creatives have more grit than most, because they deal with rejection every day, yet keep going. Like the cartoonist who has to submit 250 sketches to have one accepted.

Angela also references the brilliant Carol Dweck and her work on growth mindset which will be familiar to many of you, if not check her out here:

Finally I read an article in this month’s Creative Review featuring the brilliant Sir John Hegarty who built one of the best-known agencies in London, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. In it John says “I believe creativity is defined as the expression of self. Because we are all creative. That idea that some people are creative and some people aren’t is nonsense. We are all creative… and if you want to get better at it, you can.”

So if we want to get better at being creative, at expressing ourselves in whatever form that may take, we just need to believe we can get better (because we can), and keep going!

Ben Thompson is the founder and CEO of 9 Degrees West

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