This is the final instalment of a five part blog series hoping to answer the question, “can creativity be taught?” You might remember in the first blog I emphasized the fact that this series should not be seen as individual blogs but rather as a miniseries which builds on to the previous weeks’ topic, systematically. If you have not read my previous blogs I urge you to do so. The links can be found here:
In this blog we will bring everything we have learned together and answer the question we all have been dying to know the answer to.
But first, what have we learned?
We started by defining creativity as the continuous process of creating original ideas or actions that have and add relevant value. This gives us our definition.
We then went on to stretch the importance of thinking differently, associative thinking and took a look at the Japanese art of chindogu. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to take a look at the work by Dyer and Gregersen on associative thinking. It’s really worth a read!
We took a look at courses which hone your creative skills such as Hyper Island and even put some of the techniques to the test.
We then looked at mentoring and why mimicking is so important, as well as surrounding yourself with those who intimidate an inspire you. We looked at the final test in mentoring; namely surpassing your mentor.
Finally we looked at unlearning and how children think and how this way of thinking can be applied to working professionals in advertising. From this we concluded you can’t be afraid of being wrong, you shouldn’t be afraid to question everything, and that if you do not know the answer to find a solution anyways.
So how do I begin?
Seeing as we defined Creativity as a continuous process, I felt it fitting to create a cyclical model, called The Creative Cycle, which can be followed throughout ones path to creativity.
The Creative Cycle consists of five steps
Step 1: Keep Honing Creative Skills
One thing I accentuated throughout the series is that knowledge is important as a foundation and this still holds true. However, there are numerous specialized creative courses such as The Hyper Island course which lay, in my and many in the advertising worlds’ opinion, a stronger foundation than any academic study could. Sign yourself up for courses such as these as well as creative hackathons in your area.
Step 2: To Think Associatively + Differently
By doing this you will start grasping what associative thinking is, and naturally start looking at things through a different lens. Surround yourself with other creative’s and individuals who intimidate you creatively and really try and pin point their unique outlook on life. Everyone has a different way of thinking associatively, but we can steal with our eyes and ears. If you feel like the dumbest person in the room you know you are doing it right.
Step 3: So You Gain Experience
By surrounding yourself with people who push you, you build your personal associative thinking skills – but this is not enough. To reach a higher level means to not surround yourself by the same people, so use the skills you acquire to find internships, or new career ventures which lead to valuable creative experience you can look back on with pride.
Step 4: And Simplify What You Learn Like a Child
It can be very easy to fall into a rhythm, in any internship or job. There is a certain way of doing things, and before you know it you’re just one of the employees; no matter how creative you see yourself at this point. So remember the three simplifying techniques we learned from the most creative among us, children:
- don’t be afraid of being wrong (even if that big promotion is up for grabs – playing it safe will get you nowhere)
- never stop questioning things. Not only will this get you noticed, as a young working professional, it also places you in a good light to your superiors – you’ll become the one who is never happy with the status quo.
- If you don’t know the answer find a solution anyways. It might not seem like the right solution at the time, but maybe the make shift solution leads to a breakthrough. Take risks, and once again, don’t be afraid of being wrong.
Step 5: And Get Another Mentor, Who Teaches You
Attaining the above steps will have lead to you crossing paths with people who inspire and intimidate you. Make those who you can learn from the most your mentors. Take everything in and look, listen and learn from them. As we have learned there comes a time in every mentorship when you surpass the mentor: When this happens it is time to move on and find another mentor, which takes us back to the first step in The Creative Cycle. You will be going through all the steps again after you have surpassed your first mentor and so the cycle will continue until the end of your prosperous, and hopefully creative career.
I believe that creativity, as a continuous learning process can be learned, by surrounding yourself with those who teach it to us the best. By following The Creative Cycle, and keeping it in the back of your mind like a mantra, will set you on your way to be as creative as you can be. The most important thing in creativity is however to be a child in everything you do. Play in everything you do and creativity will follow you where ever you might find yourself. There’s no need to rush, we’re all still children.