What Is Creativity?

Creativity and innovation training

December 22, 2022

Creativity is hard to define, but we know it when we meet it. It generates within us an AHA response. A spark of brilliance, a smile.

It is all pervasive and plays a significant role in all fields of our life. Let’s explore what creativity is and how it makes a difference.

What is Creativity?

Creativity is the ability to come up with original, unusual, and useful ideas and solutions. It is often referred to as ‘out of the box thinking.’

The ‘box’ is the bunch of assumptions prevalent in our thought processes, habitual responses to happenings around us, obvious solutions to problems. The routine thinking methods.

Creativity involves looking at the things with a new point of view. To find out new meanings in things and situations in our surroundings. And to connect seemingly unrelated ideas. 

I am saying seemingly, because all things or ideas are connected. What we actually do is discover or unearth that hidden connection.

It’s like, when everyone around you is travelling on an established road, you choose to take a turn into a green field. Now you come across new trees, new sceneries and water ponds! You haven’t created them; they were there. 

You just discovered them. Creativity is the art of finding hidden meanings, ideas and concepts all around us.  

And we do so by making unconventional choices and actions. When we show the courage and the ability to tread an off the beaten path. And ask new questions.

The adjectives and synonyms often used to describe creativity are: Unconventional, original, unexpected, and novel.

Let’s look at a few examples of creative thinking to understand it better—

A bicycle seat is a routine thing. But when Picasso saw one, he found a bull’s head. He joined the bicycle handle to the seat, like horns. Now we too see the bull, isn’t it?

Picasso bull's head

Picasso Bull's head sculpure

Now, an example from the world of science and engineering--

Swiss engineer George de Mestral was walking through the jungle and saw burdock plant seed hooking on to his clothes, and the dog’s fur. He took the seeds with him. A close study under the microscope showed him the reason: the seed had thorny hooks at the end. These hooks stick to anything with loops. Like, clothes and the fur.

Burdock seeds

Burdock seeds triggered the invention of Velcro

Mestral imitated this pattern with fabric strips. After years of research and development, he got success by creating Velcro. It is an invention used almost everywhere, from shoes and clothing to spaceships.

And it all started with a curious search by a Swiss engineer!

And now, see how creativity can make profits—

The legend goes, Strauss Levi was a travelling business person who went to the San Francisco to sell his wares to gold-diggers during California gold-rush.

There weren’t many takers for his tent cloth, he heard the miners' cribbing, ‘next time come with pant cloth, in these rough terrains pants get torn so often.’

Strauss Levi looked to it from a new point of view, what if the tent-cloth becomes pant-cloth? He offered the thick tent-cloths to miners as a long lasting, strong pant-cloth for the rough environment. It was an instant hit. 

Later, with refinements, our modern jeans came to life.

A little creative thinking turned a miner’s crib into a fashion icon, a successful company.

That’s what creativity does. It makes life more interesting, useful and creates new wealth. 

Let’s be creative. Look at things around us with fresh eyes. And create new solutions. 

About the author 

Puneet Bhatnagar

Puneet Bhatnagar, popularly known as Creative Punito--is a business innovator. An expert on SME business growth. He is a well-known creativity and innovation trainer, author, columnist and storyteller.

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