Don’t we all mostly think that something must be novel and all new before it is termed creative? I know I used to. Many definitions exist for creativity, but terms like ‘original’, ‘invent’, ‘new’ and ‘novel’, resound in all of them.
According to Henry Miller, a writer – “Creativity is the occurrence of a composition which is both new and valuable”.
In the real sense, there aren’t many completely new things and many “new” products are actually improvements on previous innovations. Innovation giant, Apple did not create the first personal computer, laptop, MP3 player, smart phone, tablet computer or music download store — they only made design improvements on them that turned them into indispensable gadgets for the modern, technology-driven man.
We short-change our own creativity when we keep waiting for that novel, never-before-conceived idea. As we aspire to innovate, we keep going round and round in endless circles until weariness sets in and then the myth – “only some people are creative.”
Most times, in order to find the solution, find the missing piece, solve the problem, we just need to look at something familiar in a new and different way. And Bingo!
Novelty in creativity can come in different forms according to coach Mark McGuiness (check him out here) –
- combining previously existing elements (e.g. mobile phone + email = BlackBerry)
- changing genres (e.g in music)
- bringing something into a new context or environment
- making something bigger or smaller (e.g. the Walkman)
- making something cheaper (budget version) or more expensive (luxury item)
- offering something in a different format (e.g. music downloads instead of CDs)
- turning a service into a product (e.g. turning your training seminar into a DVD or e-learning course)
- turning a product into a service (e.g. offering bespoke consulting based on the ideas in your book)
Oh yeah, it would be great to conceive and deliver an oven-fresh, smoking hot idea. It would be phenomenal! We all dream of doing that, but this is what we will remain – dreamers, if we keep waiting for it rather than start with the ‘simple’ problems around us. The saying – Practice makes perfect, rings true even here.
Personally, I love to mix and match; scatter and reassemble. I love to experiment and discover alternatives. I know someone is getting ideas already!
I challenge you today to inject a creative twist to one everyday activity. Better still, pick on one shortcoming you have encountered while using a favorite product/commodity and then play around with it using the tips outlined above until it gets solved – by you!
I’ll leave you with this quote,
You cannot use up creativity. The more you use the more you have – Maya Angelou