The myths of creativity – 3 misconceptions about creativity that hold you back
People often ask me why we started HatRabbits. The answer is quite simple. I often was confronted with misconceptions about creativity. I’ll share the three most common myths with you.
People would tell me that creativity is something with little value to businesses. How it is a nice endeavour for the lone artist who happened to be born with this ‘gift’. And how creativity is a vague and unexplainable waste of time.
Time and again I would patiently explain why none of this is the case. I started to realise that many people have very limiting beliefs about creativity. My brother had exactly the same experience, so we decided to start helping more people to fulfil their creative potential. Not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of all those around them. After all, creativity can undeniably make the world a better place.
Here are three misconceptions about creativity that convinced us of the need for HatRabbits:
3 common misconceptions about creativity
#1 – “Creativity is a gift that few people are born with”
This is one of the most persistent myths about creativity. Quite a lot of people believe that you have to be lucky enough to be born with creative talent. If not, then ‘evidently’ you will never really be creative. Of course, this is nonsense. Just think back to the time you were little. Most people will recall being curious, inventive and open-minded. Unfortunately, education tends to extinguish the creative spark in most people while they grow up, but that’s something for another time. It’s true that all children are incredibly creative and adults tend to lose most of this natural creativity, but with a bit of effort, adults can easily re-gain their creativity. Becoming aware of limiting thought patterns is the first step. Once you understand that creativity is a skill that can be learned, you are in a position to set yourself up for success. Simply learn a few techniques to generate and evaluate ideas, and use your new skills to solve any problem that comes your way.
#2 – “Creativity is not important in my area of expertise”
Mainly lawyers and auditors tend to say this. They believe that their job is simply to follow rules and make sure all the correct procedures are being followed. But ask yourself; would you hire an expensive lawyer if all he or she did was quoting the appropriate laws? Of course not. Any law student or paralegal could do exactly that. A good lawyer finds creative ways to help the client, even when the rules seem to be unfavourable. Actually… ESPECIALLY when the rules seem to be unfavourable.
But what about the auditor? Surely this profession can’t be too flexible with the rules…? Maybe not, but does that mean that creativity has no place in the office? I beg to differ. Creative thinking allows us to find more efficient ways of doing things. Small innovations in the workplace make our work easier or simply make everyday tasks more fun. And what to think of new and improved business models? Here again, the legal system is an excellent example. Organisations are increasingly reluctant to pay a substantial fee for legal work that is not incredibly complicated. Law firms realise they are losing business and new services are starting to appear. There are now websites that cater mainly to a large group of low- to middle-income clients. People who need legal assistance, yet can’t afford an expensive lawyer. The sites offer automated legal documents for common situations; divorce, prenups, wills etc.
#3 – “Creativity is something for artistic people”
While it is true that artistic endeavours require creative thinking, so does entrepreneurship …or any situation where you are in need of an original idea. We like to call the kind of creativity we specialise in ‘business creativity’. Where artistic creativity often can be described as making something original for the sake of being original (and usually with the intention of provoking an emotional response and/or making the viewer think), business creativity is a bit more profound. It is using creative thinking to reach a business goal. In most cases, it involves solving a concrete problem. It can be defined as the act of combining existing things to create something new that has value. Whether the idea saves money, helps you reach more potential customers or simply saves time. It must be better than what was before. Of course, this type of creativity is 100% applicable to non-profit organisations as well.
What are your thoughts on creativity in a business environment? Let me know in the comment box below.
Would you like to improve your team’s creative problemsolving skills?
If you are interested in making your team more creative, you might like our (online) workshops and training courses on creative problemsolving. A fun way to quickly improve your team’s skills in creative problemsolving, concept development, prototyping, nudging, opportunity-seeking or online brainstorming.