Creativity doesn’t need to be messy

creative mind

I came across the above image a few weeks ago. Every time I see it I think “that mind looks like it’s releasing chaos”. We are all wired differently: some of us require structured ways of being, while others thrive on the oceans of chaos. We tend to believe that creatives are on the chaotic side of the spectrum (we love the idea of an artist passionately letting the brush flash back and forth at the speed of light as they unleash the next great masterpiece!).

Yet, the opposite is often more true: creatives tend towards planning for innovation, and executing plans for increased probability of success. I recall the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci: the intricate detail of flying machines transported from his imagination to his sketchbook; the numerous sketches of his famous works as he worked on shades of light and angles of composition.

For organisations to be innovative there also needs to be structure in the innovation pipeline. So what does that structure need? It needs many things, but here’s just a few essential ingredients:

A Blank Canvas: Culture

The culture of the organisation needs to be ‘ready’ for innovation. Culture is set through the formation of defines vision (purpose) and values (guiding principles that bring us together around our purpose). Vision of the future requires innovation to get there.

The culture needs to actively promote innovation at every level of the organisation. Did you know that the idea of the common matchbox came from a factory worker? Does this surprise you? Organisations need to promote the coming forth of ideas from everyone – who knows where the next innovative solution will come from.

The culture needs to foster a spirit of gratitude: if staff have ideas that work – give them the credit for it! This fosters a culture of trust and commitment rather than distrust and resentment.

Artists: Leadership

Leadership drives the creation of a masterpiece. They pull everyone around the vision and supporting values. They craft and create the culture. They inspire; motivate and encourage. They create a sense of urgency and pull teams together to drive positive change.

Leaders also have an essential role in modelling the behaviours they desire from staff. Simon Sinek is correct with his book title Leaders Eat Last. They model drive, commitment, values, behaviours, integrity, character, etc.

Creative Process: Structure

Innovative and creative processes require a structure to work within. This ensures projects yield results and that projects are completed. Whether that structure is a change management process or a Project Management framework, the structure ensures a higher probability of success.

Creativity does not need to be messy: it can be a well-oiled machine adding massive value and advantage to the organisation.

009 You were made to be creative

Have you ever just looked around you and seen the immense amount of creativity there is in the world? From art to architecture; dance to design technology; fiction to flower arranging – there is creativity everywhere. Why is it that humanity has pushed the boundaries of creativity and artistic expression? It is simply that we are created to be creative. Our minds are designed to concieve of new ideas; words; images; designs; etc.

Creativity is an amazing gift that is wider in humans that in any other species. Beavers can create innovative dams, but they don’t paint, draft plans, or sculpt with clay. Humans can paint; sketch; sculpt; write; design; and so much more. We were endowed with a creative gene. It is in our DNA to be creative. With this in mind is it any wonder that when we create sonething we odften have an immense amount of pleasure and joy? Not only that, we help others to also experience great joy through what we create.

I recall the first time I saw Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night in Paris: It absolutely blew me away! As I entered the gallery the lights were low and my eyes had to adjust. I looked ahead and there it was, directly on front of me, shining incandescently. My jaw hit the floor and I can only describe that moment as deeply beautiful. The original painting in all it’s spendour brought an inner smile to my heart and soul. The joy at seeing it was a truly wonderful and emotional experience for me – creativity can do that for us.

This is not just true for classic pieces of art: it’s true for your own creativity too. When you write a poem; make christmas cards; or sketch your spouse it releases joy within you. Why? Because you were created to be creative.

But why should you be creative? Here’s a few reasons:

Creativity helps you unleash and realise your true potential
Being creative improves mental health
Creativity develops our sense of purpose
Creativity pushes us to be a better version of ourselves
Creativity cvan be a positive outlet for processing our negative experiences
There are many more great reasons for being creative – what reasons do you have? (let me know in the comments below).

Why not also choose a way of being creative. Craft something and then reflect on the feeling the end product gives you – you never know: it might just release some joy within you.

Until next time, keep smiling and live with joy.