Creating Creativity

Abstract: Information now is the most important asset, but as existing information becomes ever cheaper to obtain, new and original ideas will become the key to future prosperity. Creativity cannot be forced upon people by disciplinary methods. Instead, creativity is something that needs to be cultivated in an environment that is both stimulating and encouraging. More creativity goes hand in hand with dramatic changes in the way people relate to each other, in thinking, attitude, priorities, motivation and ways of dealing with things. Creating creativity means creating entirely new cultures that respect not only creativity, but also concepts such as optionality.

A. Why more Creativity?

Creativity becomes more and more important for the prosperity of both individuals and organisations. In a modern society, computers, machines and other devices have taken over much of the work that required muscle power as well as brain power in the sense of administration and other predictable and repetitive activities. Education in the sense of training, learning of skills and transfer of knowledge is largely obsolete, as databases now give access to a wealth of up-to-date information.

B. How to become more creative?

Creativity becomes more and more important, as it becomes more and more clear that for business to thrive, it is necessary to tap into the creative talents of staff. Many businesses have big problems in getting their staff to work more creatively. There are few businesses where a culture of creativity, improvisation, etc. is accepted. Film making, music, marketing, advertising and product design are often pointed at as examples of areas where creativity is truly appreciated. But most organisations are structured rather rigidly, with hierarchical reporting lines and defined responsibilities and tasks. The big problem for most organisations is that they lack the structure to allow creativity. Increasingly, new structures such as networking become popular. Nevertheless, it turns out to be very difflcult to change established attitudes of people. No matter how much is spent on assertivity training, counselling, personality building and similar programs, most people still wait to be told what to do, rather than to take initiative and risk personal failure, while the few who do grab the opportunities are generally regarded as abusing the system.

It becomes clear that it is very hard to make people creative; creativity is not something that evolves under pressure, on demand or even at the sound of money. A promise of promotion may make people willing to perform and eager to achieve goals, but it cannot suddenly turn people creative; creativity is especially lacking in people who for the most part of their lives have been working in a disciplined environment.

In the past, society has tried hard to suppress creativity. School taught children to behave along accepted patterns; order, discipline and rules were the norm in society. Employees were appreciated for conforming to such established norms; following up orders and instructions was seen as a virtue, improvisation was seen as a sign of failure and stupidity. Work, school, the accepted ideologies and belief systems in society, social codes and the general opinion of what constituted success, culture and civilisation, all that was regarded as good in society, it all came down to the suppression of creativity.

Creativity is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that needs to be cultivated, stimulated and, most importantly, it requires a dramatic change of culture. More creativity goes hand in hand with dramatic changes in the way people relate to each other, in thinking, attitude, in priorities, in motivation, in ways of dealing with things. Creating creativity means creating entirely new cultures.

C. Prosperity in the Future

Prosperity is what most people work for most of their lives. People work to increase their property, their assets, most people also believe they contribute to the prosperity of the community through their work. As information is becoming more and more important in the creation of wealth; more and more people are now dealing with information at their work. But most people;are inerely handling information; they do not generate new information; they merely re-arrange existing or observed information.

The key to prosperity in the future is creativity. Information now is the most important asset, but existing information will become ever cheaper to obtain. In future, prosperity will depend less on people who manage existing information as an asset and more on people who can come up with new and original ideas. Creativity will be part of new cultures that similarly have respect for Optionality!

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