Friday, 2 October 2009

Creativity and the masses

When I left British Airways, many many moons ago (in 1995 to be precise), I set up a company providing training in business creativity. Creativity is a subject that has always interested me, and while at BA I'd taken various courses with the likes of Edward de Bono, and now wanted to explore the area further.

I ought to clarify that by 'business creativity' I don't mean getting business people to paint pictures and write music. I'm looking at a very specific area of creativity - problem solving and idea generation. These are essential for business, and involve creativity. If everything stayed the same and there were never any new challenges, you could get away without being creative. But in practice, 'in this ever changing world in which we live in' as Sir Paul McCartney put it so poorly, being creative is a survival essential for businesses.

One of the premises of running these courses is that everyone is creative - and everyone can enhance their natural level of creativity by using some straightforward techniques. This is something I've had lengthy arguments on with another writer on creativity over the years. He believes that only a few really are creative, and the majority never will be.

What I do accept is that we have different natural levels of creativity. Some people naturally spark ideas left, right and centre - others don't. However, the best ideas often come from unexpected sources, and the point of taking a systematic approach to creativity is that it can be enhanced, making ideas come more on demand, and of better quality.

The reason for bringing this up now is I was listening to someone ranting on about genius and how the common herd never really get what it's all about. That may be the case - but everyday creativity, in some ways more important than genius, is something we can all benefit from. You can find out more about business creativity at the Creativity Unleashed website.

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