An untied shoe means that the shoe was once tied. An unlocked door is a door that was once locked but now is not. An unaware person was once thoughtful of their surroundings, but now they aren't.
I've often thought that creativity is an undefined word - its once-bigger meaning and purpose has been siloed, packaged with a nice bow, and handed over to "artisans" to steward. Musicians are creative. Artists are creative. Dancers are creative.
It's left the rest of us to think that creativity is something we have no responsibility for. Only creative people do creativity.
A closer look at Webster's dictionary makes no such distinction, however. Creativity is simply the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.
In a recently written article for Fast Company, Tina Seelig, an author and instructor at Stanford University School of Engineering, concludes: most people don't have a clear understanding of what creativity actually is.
"Imagination is envisioning things that don’t exist. Creativity is applying imagination to address a challenge. Innovation is applying creativity to generate unique solutions. And entrepreneurship is applying innovations, scaling the ideas, by inspiring others’ imagination."
What if creativity was simply that - the ability to see what's missing or lacking, and making something new that meets that need?
Sure, maybe that's a lack in beauty, emotion, or transcendence that is being met.
But couldn't that lack also be resources, ideas, processes, systems?
What if the creative act wasn't something that we thought of as a side project or skill, but a mainstay definition of what we do moment by moment in our pursuits, lives, and careers?
That's a gamechanger.
If you find yourself doing the following repeatedly and frequently, you're a creative:
1. You see what doesn't exist but should.
2. You imagine solutions to that need.
3. You act upon that imagination to design solutions
4. You get others to do the same, scaling the ability of one to the power of many
How do we as individuals cultivate our personal creativity, and how do leaders and organizations celebrate and teach their teams and people creativity?
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