What is creativity?

by | Jul 24, 2018

Here at Transformation Marketing, we’re constantly creating, along with the entire marketing industry. Staying creative is essential to thrive in not only our industry but also in today’s fast-paced world.

Like the creative process, the definition of creativity varies person-to-person. Some see it as innovating from failures, others see it as a process and ability, or is it something in between? Is it creating and rolling out a strategy? Or something as simple as an idea? Both? Is it learned or inherited? Over the next few blogs, we’re going to address creativity, its multiple definitions, and how the Bean Team stays creative.

One common definition of creativity is innovating from failures. In fact, the Stanford University d.school is based almost entirely on this idea alone. d.school professors—Tom and David Kelley—wrote an entire book about the d.school and its concepts of teaching creative confidence through failure.

Thomas Edison’s story embodies this very idea. He made over 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb. When asked about his 1,000 failures, his simply replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

That’s how the creative process works. Fail, learn, and build upon it. Oh, and Edison’s 1,000 steps turned into the light in your computer helping you read this blog. Fail, learn, innovate.

Or take this quote by the NBA’s poster-child, Michael Jordan, as an example:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times. I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Jordan had to face the late-80s Detroit Pistons—aka the Bad Boys—who eliminated him from the playoffs for three straight years. By building upon his countless failures, Jordan CREATED new ways to win. He innovated and stayed head and shoulders above the competition. When the competition found new ways to stop him, he found new ways to beat them; he had them playing catch-up his entire career. After falling short for three straight years, the only thing that stopped Jordan from winning an NBA championship each year was a short baseball career and Father Time.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what some of the Bean Team does when facing a creative block:

April Kester—Director of Online Marketing

I love, love, LOVE collaborating and brainstorming with others – in fact, that’s how the bulk of my creative work here at Transformation Marketing is accomplished! I so enjoy being able to look at ideas and concepts from a variety of angles and being able to come up with a way to take “it” (whatever “it” is…be it a design, a campaign idea, a social post, etc) to the next level. My job here isn’t only to help lead, but also to support – and often times that support comes in the form of being a sounding board for others. I try to stay as immersed as possible with what’s current in the industry as well as the up-and-coming ideas, and the bulk of that is done via podcasts, webinars, seminars, and reading industry magazines and newsletters. Outside of the office I re-group and recharge that creativity via independent writing projects, photography, and reading – all ways to create and form different ways of looking at the world around me!

Kyle Dump—Digital Marketing Strategist

The thing about creativity is that it ebbs and flows. I find myself constantly muttering that phrase during an ebb period. Important words to remember, but in the midst of a creative block they feel completely useless. They are NOT, I promise! Personally, it can help to take some of the pressure off when I am really stuck. My first step when encountering a block in my creativity is always to chill out. The mind needs space to create and when the voice inside your head won’t stop shouting about how important it is that you complete your task right now this very moment there isn’t enough space left to create. I find wandering helps. I go for a walk or a ride and let myself get lost while I clear my mind. Once my thoughts start to feel clear again, I re-engage my critical thinking mind to find the way back to where I started. Then I let the ideas begin trickling into my brain again. If it goes well, by the time I get home or back to the office I’ve got an idea and I’m back in business. If it goes not so well, I go for another walk.

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