Did you know that the 5-year-old you would probably have been considered a creative genius?
If you were five years old and you’d taken part in a famous experiment developed by an American named George Land in the late 60s, you’d likely have scored “genius” on a test he devised to measure creativity.
In fact, so would almost everyone else who tried the test: 98 per cent of the 1,600 kids who took part passed with flying colours.
This has to be amongst the most compelling proof there is that every one of us is born creative, or perhaps more accurate to say, is able to tap into our natural creativity at a young age. At 5, almost all of us are creative powerhouses – as evidenced by the way in which we can turn stacks of Lego into unicorn factories or whip cardboard boxes into the ultimate space fort. Read more about the research here.
The path to conformity
As we mature is that our brains get nudged down a path of conformity. By the time we get to adulthood, only a very small number of us would still score “genius” on Land’s test – about one in 50 of us, to be precise.
With each year after early childhood, creativity basically gets drummed out of us. Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire in their book Wired To Create note:
“Teachers have been found to display a clear preference for students who show less creativity.”
Something I come across is the idea that creativity is a ‘nice to have’ but that it’s not an important business skill. Companies want their workforce to be efficient, connected, collaborative and ambitious – creativity, to some people, is a harder attribute to put a value on or a ‘soft skill’. It’s sometimes (and somehow) seen to be not serious enough, not linked to commercial outcomes or a bit un-pin-downable.
The creative economy pays dividends
However that thinking is not future-facing according to the World Economic Forum, creativity gives a massive boost to the global economy: the market for what it calls ‘creative goods’ (that’s fashion, film, design etc.) is worth more than $500bn a year. In the UK alone, there are more than 2.6 million creative roles, which contribute around £8m an hour to the UK economy.
As well as this, creativity may just save our planet. Creative ways to share important environmental and social messages is leading to record awareness of numerous issues.
The World Economic Forum also revealed, in a 2018 ‘Future of Jobs’ report that being adept at creative thinking is likely to stand employees in good stead in the coming decades as jobs become more automated. Clued-in business leaders already know that creativity isn’t just some fluffy soft skill. Way back in 2010, an IBM study of 1,500 CEOs found that creativity was considered to be the single most important skill that leaders could possess if their businesses were to flourish.
Creativity as a skill
One of the most effective ways to do it is with creativity training: studies have shown that taking part in a creative training course like the ones that we run here at Now Go Create can lead to a tangible creative boost. A well-designed course can effectively help people to reconnect with their creative spark and develop skills.
Now Go Create has been running creativity courses since 2011, and in that time we have trained more than 15,000 people in creative thinking – including employees of Facebook, Sony, HP, Unicef and Disney.
While most people are happy to be there and totally up for the idea that their creative powers can be given a boost, what’s always interesting to see is that on almost every course there is someone who really doesn’t believe they have a creative bone in their body.
Creativity in a business context
What happens over the next few hours or days, depending on the course, is that they come to realise that they are not actually creativity-disadvantaged at all. Once they realise what being creative means in a business context, and are shown a variety of tools and methods that can help to boost ideas, it’s like a light-bulb suddenly goes on. We also work on any limiting beliefs people may have in relation to their own creativity.
As IDEO founders David and Tom Kelley say:
“It turns out that creativity isn’t some rare gift to be enjoyed by the lucky few – it’s a natural part of human thinking and behaviour. In too many of us, it gets blocked. But it can be unblocked.”
Putting ammo in the box
Our popular one-day Creative Ninja sessions are one of the quickest ways for people to get to grips with the small adjustments they need to make if they want to see dramatic improvements in their creative thinking. This course really helps put some ammo in the box for when they need ideas quickly, and it is also designed to help people face up to bigger creative challenges as well.
We also have courses designed to help people:
- Become a brilliant creative leader – to get the best out of the whole team, group or company.
- Facilitate brainstorm sessions/creative meetings to ensure a continuous flow of great ideas.
- Learn how to become a creative strategist so that the team’s ideas are on-brief, executable and can be mapped out for maximum impact.
Alongside these core courses, we have others that will show you what storytelling is really all about (and how it can help to provide rocket-fuel for a business) and we offer bespoke training and classes on pitching, too.
Like most people, I took some time off during the summer to have a break, and I can’t have been the only one on the beach who was thinking up new ice-cream flavours and wondering if there was a better way to keep sand out of the Ambre Solaire.
This kind of thinking and the ‘what ifs?’ and the ‘wouldn’t it be amazing ifs?’ that follow are what we do – we’re all more creative than we realise. With a gentle nudge in the right direction, we can be even more creative – and can then start bringing some game-changing ideas to the party and our businesses.
Contact us if we can help you and your teams with your creative challenges today.