The ability to be creative helps us to design experiences that are valuable for people. What are our thoughts on creativity?
The ability to create resides in everyone. All people can create something new for themselves. It might just happen that if one person has created an idea, thing, ware, insight or perspective, this might be novel for the person concerned, while being conventional and dated for another. This is fine since creativity always relates to an existing, spatial reality. In China the idea of noodles came about much earlier than in Europe. The first Japanese fish tempura recipe was still considered creative. And so on. There is no absolute judgement on creativity. It is environment-dependent.
Another thought: sometimes ideas just pop up in odd places. We can be so engrossed with a particular challenge that our subconscious works on it and BAM! there it is. That’s great. In some situations, we might have to tackle challenges differently, since the environment, especially a corporate environment, insists that we be creative on company time and on specific topics that are relevant to the company’s success. Here it helps to pamper our synapses so that new things come along. And indeed, there is a whole array of creativity techniques to suit any personality who needs to create. Yet picking just one technique and applying it might not be sufficient. The environment has to be right. The attitude of people around you and tackling the same task is important. Time, smell and sound should be considered. All these parameters influence our disposition and our ability to create. So, before embarking on the journey of creativity, some in-depth thoughts on experience design—which means how to design the experiences people are going to have on that journey—might be needed.
Pareto says: if 80 per cent of a task is fulfilled, that's enough. The remaining 20 per cent of drilling down into details to complete the task entirely consumes too much energy in relation to the enhanced result.
When being creative, the quality of the thing, idea, ware, insight or perspective often lies within that remaining 20 per cent of the effort. Translated into ideas, this means: the first idea is often conventional since it conforms to our mental models and originates from what we have seen, heard or experienced in the past. Idea number two might be a lukewarm alternative that is still heavily influenced by our patterns and our wish to finalize the process of creation within the usual efficiency criteria. This result most probably does not reach a degree of maturity worth implementing. Yet when keeping on and persisting and going over things again and again, and when questioning assumptions for the sixth time and when tackling a mental border that resists our wish to go beyond it, then we might after arduous effort come up with a truly novel piece of work that can be called “creative”. This is our belief: that time and effort and not letting go all foster the quality of creation.