The biggest bragging rights Millenials and Gen-Z run with is that we are so much more creative than the Boomers and Generation X. We have broken the norms of propriety in the workplace and at home, eating political correctness for breakfast and we think in HD technicolour. We are wild!!!
Someone once asked me if creativity is born or made. Aren’t leaders both born and made? It can be both. If you inherit a hammer and use a pencil because everyone else is using a pencil, you can’t really call yourself a carpenter. But if you buy a hammer and learn how to use it to build, break, open and seal, you can call yourself a carpenter. But a creative isn’t just as simple as a carpenter with a hammer. What really is a creative? In marketing agencies, creatives are graphic designers. No, that still doesn’t cover what a creative is because they do way more than graphic design. Way, way more. There is also animation, illustration, video editing, video animation, art direction, video direction and much more. It’s an evolving class of work. Most people who are termed as designers have multiple abilities. I have met a few in my line of work and most of them have a link with a physical artistic ability. They used to draw in school or still do in their free time. Some have a thing about designing clothes or making actual sculptures. Or he dances in his free time and cannot live without music. The best ones have an eye for things that most people do not see.
Performing arts in some societies was added to this much later and even though a version of art was taught in school, it still looked at like the eccentric last born at the table.
People also tend to see creatives as those people involved in the arts- writers, singers, actors and such work that is thought to not be confined to a strict timeline for productivity. What we know as the five noble professions: doctor, lawyer, teacher, architect, nurse, theologians are not considered creative work because they have always been there and almost operated in the same way thanks to extensive structures built over centuries. Performing arts in some societies was added to this much later and even though a version of art was taught in school, it still looked at like the eccentric last born at the table. (Disclaimer though, different societies had different skills that they considered core but that discussion is best done as homework.) There’s a very strong them versus us mentality between the structured professions and the arts and it puzzles me why it is so.
In my first job, we had a goalsetting workshop with the then MD of a telecommunications company. He said something about creativity that inspired me to understand my own creativity. In explaining what a creative is, he said “Everyone looks outside and sees just rain. A creative will see the rainbow in the drops. Most people see mud as an inconvenience, the creative will see the patterns in the treads through the mud.” What I got from that session is that a creative is a person who doesn’t just take things at face value as most do. Creatives see the big picture: how art can evoke feelings, how books can inspire thought, how design can inspire action. It’s how you view the world regardless of your profession.
Most people see mud as an inconvenience, the creative will see the patterns in the treads through the mud.
Perhaps we should stop thinking of a creative as a specific type of person but as a specific type of thinking. You can appreciate another’s creative output without disregarding your own. My creativity in my work is in seeing the bigger picture and in finding ways to make that happen. If my initial vision does not pan out as I thought it would, I take another path. It’s not failure, it’s learning and that is what makes me a creative. Take a leap and think differently from what you have been taught.