Creativity isn’t who you are. It’s what you do.

Author: Paul Edwards

If someone told you that they didn’t speak French, would you automatically assume they had a genetic disposition that prevented them from articulating words in a funny sounding accent?

Or would you think that they just hadn’t learned to speak the language.

Why then do we treat creativity any differently?

The plaintive cry of “but I’m not creative…” is often heard as if creativity is something handed down from generation to generation complete with a secret handshake and a shiny aluminium Macbook.

Hold on to your seats because I’m about to make an astonishing announcement.

We’re all creative.

Ever had a new idea? Made something? Figured out a solution to a problem? Deviated from a recipe? Made up an excuse? Packed a full car boot when going on holiday? Put together an outfit for a special occasion? Doodled on a scrap of paper?

Well then, welcome to the Creative Club.

The problem isn’t that people are not creative.

It’s that they don’t believe they are.

And subsequently, don’t behave as if they are.

In the late 60s, a study was conducted to test the creative thinking of 1600 5-year olds. They were then re-tested at age 10 and again at age 15.

The results were incredible:

Among 5 year olds: 98% demonstrated creative thinking.

Among 10 year olds: 30% demonstrated creative thinking.

Among 15 year olds: 12% demonstrated creative thinking.

The results of the same test when given to 280,000 adults?

Just 2%!

Somehow we’ve learned how not to be creative.

We’re told to colour between the lines.

We’re told we’re more suited to algebra than art.

We’re told to stop being silly.

We’re told to stop daydreaming.

We’re told to stop asking annoying questions.

And it slowly becomes a habit. A bad one.

But like any habit, it can change.

Creativity is more than genetic talent or ability. It’s a way of operating that uses the whole mind to find solutions; that means we’re able to adjust the way we operate to become more creative.

However, this blog isn’t about how to do that. Simply type “ways to improve creativity” into Google and you’ll get almost 80,000 results. Take a look – there are some great ideas in there.

Instead, it’s an appeal to want to be more creative, no matter how much you believe you already are.

Simply put, creativity is a way to make a lasting impression on our client’s businesses and ours.

It’s a way to add value to the things we do each and every day.

It’s a way to create a mindset that makes life richer, more rewarding and infinitely more interesting.

There is a long list of industries that don’t actively seek, embrace and celebrate creativity. Ours is not one of them.
Combining imagination and possibilities is still one hell of a way to earn a living.

And if all of that still doesn’t appeal, there’s strong evidence that creative people have more sex.

Now that’s a great creative sell!


  1. Maria-Cristina

    Dear Paul,

    I agree with everything you say, including the fact that French speakers have a funny accent. But my conclusion is a bit different.

    True, we are all born creative and the system teaches us how to lose creativity as we grow.

    True, people are more creative than they think. But.

    What bothers me, the question for which I cannot find an answer, is not ‘how to keep creativity despite growing up’ is this instead: why are boring positions, occupied by people who appear to be obstensively anti-creativity, the positions that attract more recognition and respect from society? (and they also give usually larger pay-cheques). And also: where should we start if we wanted to change this and obtain a wider recognition for the role that creativity plays in contributing to the wellbeing of society?

    I’m very passionate and very stubborn about my creativity: it has been causing me problems since primary school, and no matter how much creativity HR puts in the position description, usually work places feel threatened by truly creative thinkers. C’est la vie!

    • bunch

      Hi Maria Christina. Thanks for your thoughts. As you say, despite its importance, creativity is not always viewed that way. I think it’s partly the belief that creativity revolves around the world of ‘fluffy’ stuff as opposed to the ‘important’ aspects of life. I do believe that the fact that it’s increasingly difficult to tell businesses apart as well as the challenges we’re facing as a society will lead us to recognise creativity as a mindset that can solve challenges in areas far beyond the arts.

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