The reason we are the most successful species on the planet is down to our ability to join things together and get creative. Creativity is a massive topic with loads of angles and areas I could dig into, so I will cover only my basic thoughts here today!
Let's talk about what creativity is, how to nurture it, how to kill it, how to allow it to take place at all and how to let it help you in any area you’re in.
To Paraphrase James Dyson, creativity is a new ‘thing’ that is formed by connecting two currently existing other things together. It’s saying things like, "let’s take animated Penguins and cross them with that paratrooper scene from Godzilla" (which is how we came up with out Christmas animation in 2016!). It can also be, "let's take that woodchip suction cyclone machine and cross it with a domestic vacuum cleaner to get a bag-less vacuum” (Dyson's billion dollar idea). Or it can be as simple as saying, "hey, rather than having a picnic before climbing the mountain, let's take the food up the mountain and have a cool hilltop picnic, instead!".
The important thing to note is that creativity doesn't have to involve a trumpet or a paint brush or anything we typically associate creativity with. It can be applied anywhere in life.
Creativity is not a skill or a talent, it's a way of thinking and we all have it. All it requires is an open mind that is willing to connect things together freely, without dismissal or fear of judgment. It requires you to have confidence in your own judgement and accept that your way is as individual and bold, not better or worse than any other human being, past, present or future. Dickens, Dawin, and Einstein were all ordinary men once, until they connected the dots together and had the courage to show the world.
What counts when being creative is feeling pumped by the idea that has just come to mind. When you feel excited and stoked up it's important to act immediately (which should happen anyway if you like the idea enough!). We all have great ideas, I would almost say they are common. The thing that separates the good from the great, is the will to act and implement your idea. It takes a degree of faith and the tenacity to say "this could be great and I am proud to say it out loud" and to start to gather together support. Which brings us to our next point, how others respond to it.
A lot of people keep ideas close to their chest because they are afraid others won’t like them. The truth is, you really don’t need everyone to love your idea, you just need enough people onboard to help you make it a reality. The world is full of subjectivity and diversity, and a lot of people won’t like your idea, but a lot of people will love it too. This is why it’s important to be true to your own vision, don’t dilute your colours to try and broaden your approval with others, this simply leaves you in an average Grey place. Let ‘Blue’ be ‘Brilliant-Blue’! And all those that love ‘Blue’ will flock around you and those that prefer ‘Red’ can look elsewhere.
Bounce the ideas around with someone you know will 'get it'. It’s really important to do this, because by not sharing it, you miss out on all the things you simply wouldn't think of yourself. Inspire others, let them react to your idea, then they will inspire you and enable you to react to their thoughts.
It's important to note that creativity is not a final idea that forms in your mind and simply needs to manifest itself into reality. Creativity is the first mark in the sand, that leads to a moat surrounding a castle with a flag. Your first idea is the first stage of the evolution that leads to your masterpiece. You and your like minded team build upon the inspiring idea until it reaches its potential. Notice I didn't say final form. There is no final form, you can always make changes to something to the point where it turns into a completely new thing, which is why it's important to line things off with a schedule and deadline. If you don't schedule a project, you won't finish it, because you will never stop making improvements. Fact: passion is not infinite. You will get tired, your attention will go elsewhere and your project will come to a holt. So schedule it and get it done before you get swept up by your next great idea.