Real Creativity


Creativity means a lot of things. If it is real creativity it is the “mother of invention”. It doesn’t come from having no sense of where you would like to go or what problems you face. No real creativity can exist without a problem to be solved, and that problem needs to be clearly seen. This also requires views and challenges from many perspectives. No creativity can exist without motivation either. Necessity isn’t just the mother of invention it is the mother of the creativity that leads to that invention.

Practices that open us to real creativity aren’t just random or chaotic. They must exist within a framework. That framework must have a problem a goal fueled by need or strong desire. Valuable practices can include things like brainstorming where all possible ideas are expressed. This alone, however, doesn’t lead to real creativity. Such unbounded chaos will not invent. The purpose of creativity: to invent successfully.

Real creativity depends upon having a cut off where you stop inventing and start testing. This demands objectivity and fact checking. Music is a good example of creativity devoted to making our lives more pleasant and enjoyable as its object. Music plays with mood and feeling, rhythm, and surprise. Music is created with constant alterations of pleasing or motivating expressions around a theme. Poetry is similar to music in all these aspects. There is science behind music and science that guides its expression. Objectivity points clearly to an understanding and a sense of relationship between things, and a beginning and end to things. Creativity creates in pauses and rhythms, and by its nature isn’t perfect, but at the right time it is ready to fly. Waiting for perfection ignores the demands of a changing universe, there must be a time to stop the process and present the product: a time for a leader say “good enough”.

Leadership is necessary to creativity. We do indeed need someone to say “Enough this is good enough, we can begin testing or implementing our best idea or approach now.” Leadership is necessary to creativity. It is the overview of the limitations of time and resources that demand a decision. Those who are creative need to know when enough is enough, and in a group you will need a leader, a head writer etc. to frame the creativity and give it direction and an end point.

As one example, regarding the creation and distribution of messaging, there are two processes. One is the creation of a message and the other is the presentation of the message so created. Two committees might be beneficial. Because in the creation of a message we come to know what message should be presented, but the implementation of that message will take many forms in another creative process bounded by time and resources. Finally, someone must be authorized to say “enough” and give the “go ahead”. This leader decides on when to implement, and the timing and style of the final message.

Creativity as a process may have a slightly different set of definitions if you take each element of the process and call each one “creative”. I would have to say that such definitions cause one to wonder what is created. If some element leads to any creation, we might well ask: “Is the creation a useful invention?”

Truly, creativity can be all about helping us to feel better and appreciate life, but that is a goal, the desire or necessity fulfilled, that allowed us to know that real creativity was involved.

“Group think” is the bane of creativity. Therefor there must be a degree of separation between creation, implementation, and the decision to proceed. This separation can be in terms of time or separation of those working on the problem or problems confronted. I would suggest that when teams are used they must be separated and seen as equal contributors. One of these cannot be a “sub committee”. One person must give the final approval. The one able to approve the message is able to look at the entire process from outside of it. They should not be a member of one or more of the two teams.

Group thinking will always be a tendency no matter how you construct the process. It can be limited but not entirely eliminated. Real separation must allow a degree of conflict. However, the conflict, like the heat in a furnace for an engine, cannot be overheated, or it will self destruct. Eliminating conflict can be done in part by having those engaged in debate attempt to argue from the other side as well as their own. Compromises can then be made more efficiently and with greater positive impact.

I wish all well who would be creative, for with creativity we can create artful ways that can allow us to better appreciate life, cope with life, and bless the future.

David “Mitch” Sotelo

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