Creativity – the ability to envisage new ideas or shape new things. That would be the dictionary definition for one of the most used words of all time. Especially since it seems that being creative is a must; either for a job interview, or say when coming up with an original idea for your girlfriend’s birthday… but just how many possibilities does this word really open up?
Well, during the three day-long conference ‘Reasons to be Creative’ in Brighton, (in which two members of the Stylight design team had the privilege of attending) the speakers provided their answers to this question, as well as exploring the different fields in which creativity can be used, which, as you can imagine, are almost endless. Here we disclose 5 of the many reasons to be creative.
Train your brain
The brain is a muscle, which means it can be trained. And creativity is not so much an innate talent, but a skill that can be unlocked. For example, have you ever tried to do a creative warm-up exercise? Here’s one – “In 3 minutes, think about as many usages of a brick as you can”. You may find that you struggle a little to think about something else than building any kind of structure. However, at some point it will probably cross your mind that a brick can in fact be used as a weapon. And this is the moment where the door to creative thinking bursts wide open! Your mind becomes free of its preconceived assumptions. Dominic Wilcox, an expert in “variations of normal”, exercises his mind everyday by looking at ordinary objects with the challenging eye of the innocence, wondering ‘what else it’s possible?’. And that’s how he came to design not only a pair of shoes complete with a GPS tracking device that can navigate the wearer home, but also a machine that measures how soggy cereal needs to get to then satisfy the eater’s personal taste.
How many times have we said we would love to work on something but we drop the idea just because it’s not within our area of expertise? Now just thoroughly consider if that reason is really strong enough. Side-projects are the perfect opportunity to take on new challenges, work on anything you are passionate about and to help us to escape our comfort zone and develop new skills. Apart from that, they are quite fun. Jeff Greenspan is considered to be a true expert of self-driven projects. From painting touristic lanes on NYC pavements to building the most exclusive website in the world. His collection of self-initiated work drove him to lead the creative teams of brands such as Facebook and Buzzfeed. The fact is, that self-driveness and determination are priceless aptitudes for a company, and configure a real possibility to bring your passions into your job.
Learn, learn, learn
Most of the time we live in fear of confronting new perspectives to work out issues, because ultimately that would mean jumping into the unknow. However, if we contemplate the scenario from a purely practical point of view, what is the worst thing that can happen? Just that we learn something. Embracing the fact that even if we fail we’ll have at least gained new insights and learnings, encourages us to take new paths to solve problems or deal with any kind of issue. That is why Jon Hicks, a designer who has been commissioned by Skype, Spotify and Firefox insisted so much of the importance in retreating to a shed as a place to experiment with anything that makes us tick. Somewhere where our knowledge doesn’t matter because, away from pressures, anything can be learnt.
We all know that Batman is a busy guy, forever trying to save mankind from villains and evildoers. But the best of his aptitudes is that no matter how big the challenge, he never gives up. Perseverance and hard-work turn out to be more productive that being born talented. Whenever you decide to start a project, either for work or for personal development, you have to put in 100% and always be attentive to the details. That is where the quality relies. Graphic design in films proves well the importance of details. In one scene from The Grand Budapest Hotel, days of exhaustive research went into creating a newspaper for just a 2 second shot – which may seem a little unrewarding. However, as Annie Atkins, the design director for the film alluded, if all departments working for a movie start to think that their work is not worthy, the quality of the film will drop dramatically. In reality this does not mean that you have to say yes to every single project, but if you do start something, try and do it to the best of your ability.
Get s*** done!
Many crazy ideas that randomly cross our minds end up lost in the ‘drawer of oblivion’ because we never find the right time to do it. Design director Ross Horner, after a one year project, has drawn the conclusion that by sharing our ideas with others, it is more likely that we can then accomplish them. It might be due to the compromise it produces to verbalize an idea just by saying it out loud and letting someone else know about it. In any case, it might be worthy of a try.
Creativity applied to companies
Companies with an innovative approach and an open culture encourage its employees to not take things for granted and challenge any pre-established structures. For us as designers, creativity seems to be part of our daily lives. Nevertheless, at Stylight creativity is intrinsic to the core business and is spread across all departments. From the HR team making use of brainstorming sessions to implement new ways of “Feel Good Management”, to the finance accountant ideating together with the engineers about a new system to keep track of bills during a Ship-it Day. The working environments that integrate creativity into a daily basis are more flexible and adaptative, and employees can grow professionally faster.
And ultimately creativity, in all its ways, is always a retreat for the soul. So why not spice up our lives with a bit of it everyday?