Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking and producing.
“If you have ideas but don't act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.”
In 1666 CE, one of the most powerful researchers in history was walking around a garden when he was struck with a flash of creative brilliance that would change the world.
While remaining under the shade of an apple tree, Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple tumble to the ground. “For what reason should that apple consistently dive oppositely to the ground?” Newton wondered. “For what reason would it be advisable for it to not go sideways, or upwards, yet always to the world's middle? Without a doubt, the reason is that the earth draws it. There must be an attracting force matter.”
What's more, along these lines, the idea of gravity was conceived.
The tale of the falling apple has turned out to be one of the enduring and notorious instances of the creative moment. It is an image of the inspired genius that fills your brain during those “aha minutes” when creative conditions are perfect.
Creative thinking needs our brains to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. Is this a skill that we are born with or one that we develop through practice? Let's look at the research to uncover an answer.
In the 1960s, a creative performance researcher named George Land conducted a study of 1,600 five years old children and 98% of them scored in the “highly creative” range. Dr. Land re-tested each subject during five years increments. When the same children were ten years old, only 30% scored in the “highly creative” range. This number dropped to 12% by the age 15 and to just 2% by the age 25. As the children grew into adults, they effectively had the creativity trained out of them. In the words of Dr. Land, “non-creative behavior is learned.”
Similar trends have been discovered by some other researchers too.
This is not to say that creativity is 100 percent learned. Genetics do play a role. According to psychology professor Barbara Kerr, “approximately 22% of the variance [in creativity] is due to the influence of genes.” This discovery was made by studying the differences in creative thinking between sets of twins.
How crucial is creativity to your business success?
Every business wants to keep up with its industry’s latest trends and stay ahead of its competitors. Creative thinking — that is, dreaming up new and unique ways of doing things — is obviously a part of that process. But just how much does your business's creativity quotient matter?
A study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. In fact, companies that actively foster creative thinking outperform their rivals in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership, according to the report.
Finally, creativity is a process, not just a random thought. It's not just a moment. You have to work through mental barriers and internal blocks. You have to commit to practicing your craft deliberately. And you have to stick with the process for years; perhaps even decades like Newton did, in order to see your creative genius blossom.
* Bisma Younus is a young and passionate writer. She is currently pursuing her BBA from Jinnah University for women, Karachi. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.