Why I Believe We’re All Creative


3 min read

These days, my job is leading organizations and business teams through the seemingly impossible task of writing and (heaven help us) singing a song in a sixty-minute session. When I first started this work, all I had to go on was my thirty years of experience in the creative trenches and a gut instinct that, given the proper tools, anyone can tap their innate creativity. Nine years later, that gut instinct has proven to be correct. Now, when I’m faced with the familiar “oh, I’m not creative” protest that I hear more often than not, I have good reason to believe that statement is false. Below is my accumulated proof that we’re all creative.

The Definition

I think the first place to start would be to more closely examine your definition of creativity. There’s a common misconception that creativity means you can paint a masterpiece or write a GRAMMY-winning song when, by definition, creativity is simply “the use of imagination or original ideas.” Creativity looks different for each one of us whether it’s reimagining a product or process in your workplace or writing a song. Simply tapping into your innate urge to contribute something new and different to the world, will rekindle the creative fire within. 

The Empirical Evidence

Before leading my first executive team through my songwriting exercise, I – along with the organizers of the event – prepared all kinds of contingency plans for what would happen if the team couldn’t write a song. Not only did that team write a song but so has every single one of the scores of teams and organizations I’ve worked with since then. What this comes down to – and what I love about my work – is the demystification of the creativity. Taking bright people and breaking down the creative process into its component parts for them is my simple and repeatable exercise in unlocking creativity in even the most reticent participants.

The Fear

One of the first things I noticed in my work was that I’d clearly underestimated the fear that people felt once they were told they’d be writing and singing a song. However, I’ve come to realize that this fear does not mean people aren’t creative. If, in fact, creativity was simply impossible, there’d be no fear but rather a shared understanding that nothing was going to happen that day. It’s my contention that the fear I often observe comes from the understanding that we’ll be entering uncharted territory together. That is a very different thing than not being creative. In fact, it shows me that people care deeply about creativity and want to do well when faced with the seemingly daunting challenge. On the positive side, that initial fear also adds to the exhilaration and joy that I see time and again in the participants once they’ve demonstrated their creativity in the tangible form of a finished song.

Conclusion

My mission, such as it is, involves showing bright, motivated people that creativity can be yet another arrow in their respective business quivers. The ability to engage your imagination and bring original ideas to the table is more than a “nice to have” skill. It’s critical to business growth. The good news is that we’re all capable of exactly these kinds of contributions and it is my privilege to contribute to the collective creative confidence of the organization and business world.

 

Find out more about Cliff’s innovation & creativity workshops for business teams and organizations.

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