What is Creativity?

Two weeks ago we began using insights from our creativity wall to develop a definition of this slippery concept. We were inspired by Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity, and our own observations and experiences over the course of this quarter. Here is the working definition we came up with —

Creativity is a functional awareness of the subconscious and the willingness to raise it to consciousness, the ability to think intuitively and act concretely.

It exists simultaneously in opposition to and in cooperation with the existence of culture.

Creativity is translative.
Creativity is inevitable.
Creativity is human.

I. There are no rules to creativity.
II. Creativity happens at all stages of the process.
III. The Process has two stages.

A. Subconscious

    1.  Look & See

        Observe the world around you. You can’t change something if you‘re not aware of it.

     2. Touch & Feel

        Experience. Discover. Engage. Live.

B. Conscious

    3.  Push & Pull

        Define boundaries, then break them or ignore them. Explore the unknown.

     4. Think & Do

        Be brave. Be confident. Be fearless. Be active.

    5.  . . . & Enjoy

        Laugh. Revel in the act of creation for its own sake.

After giving it a week of breathing room, we revisited our definition to further clarify and define its meaning. Here is our final version —

Creativity is the ability to think intuitively and act concretely. It emerges from conscious awareness of the subconscious process, from observation and incubation.

Creativity exists in balanced tension with culture, simultaneously antagonizing and cooperating with existing norms and structures.

Creativity is translative.
Creativity is fluid.
Creativity is human.

I. There are no rules to creativity.
II. Creativity exists on two levels.
III. Creativity can be described categorically in five ways.

A. Subconscious

    1.  Look & See

         Observe the world around you. You can’t change something if you‘re not aware of it.

     2. Touch & Feel

        Experience. Discover. Engage. Live.

B. Conscious

    3.  Push & Pull

        Define boundaries, then break them or ignore them. Explore the unknown.

     4. Think & Do

        Be brave. Be confident. Be fearless. Be active.

    5.  . . . & Enjoy

        Laugh. Revel in the act of creation for its own sake.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: