It often catches me by surprise...'What do you mean by training people in creativity? What is the good of that?' Every time I try hard to explain that creativity is a lot more than most people think. And most of the time that dazzled look mutates into something that starts to resemble understanding. Best case, it even becomes genuine interest and wonder, or they hop on board. But it requires argumentation and a lot of time. Do you have a minute?



Big misconception #1: Creativity is being artistic

It seems that everyone has his own definition of creativity. Most of the time, when people say ‘ John is very creative’, they actually want to say that he has an artistic talent. That’s the reason why a lot of people say no when you ask them if they are creative. That association between creativity and artistic talent is deeply ingrained. And that creates certain limitations in the minds of the less artistic.

The concept of creativity is often mixed up with the result or the expression of that creativity. While most artists actually are creative, art is just one of the many expressions of creativity. Or in other words, you don’t have to write a novel, be the new Picasso or play the lead role in a blockbuster to be creative.

Creativity has a lot of different faces and can be applied almost everywhere: scientifically, academically or in a legal investigation, the improvement of production processes, the development of new products and services, the creation of new didactic methodologies, conflict avoidance, leading an organisation, motivating employees, searching for compromises, raising children etc…. The list is endless and broad. So there is my answer: yes it is useful and there is certainly a market for creativity.


Big misconception #2: Creativity is born out of a spontaneous and unique environment

‘Eureka, I found it!’ Everybody has had that creative sparkle, or not? The birth of a new idea gives an incredible boost. The world will never look the same….. But how rare are these moments? Do we patiently have to wait for that one bolt of lightning and hope we will be struck?  Or can we chase it ourselves?

There is an unfounded mist around creativity. I already want to take one of those away: you are in control of your creative ideas. There are techniques available that can be trained and acquired so they can grow into a natural habit. But do not expect magical formulas because these techniques are only starting points. After the training, it is just a matter of keeping an open mind and push your prejudices aside. Solo or in group, both are possible depending on the situation or your personal preference.

Creativity on demand? Yes, that is possible. And in fact, you should not even be astonished. There are a lot of creative professionals that fight a daily battle against deadlines and have to meet the highest expectations of their customers and audience. For them, it is not possible to wait for that ultimate ‘Eureka-moment’.

You are in control of your creative ideas. There are techniques available that can be trained and acquired so they can grow into a natural habit.

Big misconception #3: You have it or you don’t

We all have heard someone say: “wow, that guy is really creative”. A whizz kid coming up with one brilliant idea after another, always busy with a couple of projects at the same time. Normally we think ‘ Hmm, I can never do that’. But Mother Nature has given talents to all of us. Some have a natural born talent for numbers, others are true sportsmen or have great social skills. And others get creative skills on top. Long lives inequality!

You don’t have to be an Eddy Merckx to hop on a bike and you do not have to be a culinary guru to cook a great dinner. Both examples are not picked accidently because these are exactly the two talents I have trained and enhanced. Why? Because I wanted to. And I will never win the Tour the France or get a Michelin star, or two, NO. And why not? Because it is not my ambition.

It is the same with creativity. Nobody is born totally uncreative. And even if you do not have these exuberant creative talents, you can lift your talents to a higher level. You can improve on what you have. And with every step, your confidence and desire grows. So push your limits. It is possible.

 Walter Vandervelde


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