Forcing creativity


This is a topic I have covered before and is the third to come out of the amazing Thinking Digital 2019. It is something that divides opinion. Can you force creativity? In other words are there circumstances that encourage or even determine people to be creative?

One of the speakers, Roger Mavity, the Creative Conjurer, felt that the answer was that you can’t and he should know. He founded and ran his own advertising agency for ten years, and won international clients like Honda and Burberrys.

He told us that to be creative, you need to be innovative and being innovative was unfamiliar and that most people don’t like the unfamiliar, therefore most people are not creative. He cited a couple of philosophers to support his case.

‘Creativity is an endless struggle against the status quo.’ – Nietzsche.

‘The truth always rests with the minority.’ – Kierkegaard.

In essence it is his belief that creativity comes out of misery, pain and dissatisfaction. Now necessity is the mother of all invention but creativity, in my mind, is not just about invention or innovation. The word means to bring into being and this means that we all create in our own ways. People create from boredom, happiness, delight, wonder and indeed the whole gamut of human emotions.

Being creative has come to mean being artistic. Artists are creative, architects are creative, designers and advertising executives are creative, Yes they are yet so are many other people. Herb has certainly created something fantastic in Thinking Digital.

Mavity then went on to say how creativity is a solo activity. The Ringelmann effect tells us so. This is the tendency for individual members of a group to become increasingly less productive as the size of their group increases. Yet this refers to their productivity and not their creativity.

I am confused by the word creative. When you are creating a work of art then perhaps the fewer people the better but when you are creating a building then the reverse may well be true.

His talk was very interesting, it has clearly got me thinking and that is one of the wonderful things about the conference. You don’t always have to agree with the speakers however.


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