“Creativity makes life more fun, more interesting
and more full of achievement”. But what is creativity? It’s quite difficult
to have a precise definition of it. But if we are looking at the etymology of the word,
“creativity” comes from the Latin creo which means to “create, to make”.
From this etymology, one way to define creativity is as the ability to generate new ideas, new
methods, new devices that might be useful to solve problems.
The important point is that the ideas has to be new, but also worthwhile. Creative people usually have very deep specialised
knowledge in several fields, and they are good at divergent thinking – that means that
they are able to make connections between previous ideas, but also to see opportunities
from very small details. They are also more easily thinking “outside
of the box” – not accepting the most obvious answers, but trying to go deeper for more
unexpected solutions and approaches. Creativity is not a talent, it’s a skill
just like playing football, dancing, doing maths… and as a skill, you can improve it
by practicing it with some fun exercises. Let’s take an example of generating creative
ideas: if we take a clothespin: what can we use it for? We can use it to hang clothes,
but also to create a lampshade or to make a model… When you will start to be more
creative, you will generate more and more ideas!
In one of his TED talks Sir Ken Robinson explains that kids are very good in creativity exercises
and when they grow up they start to be less and less creative.
He claims that schools are responsible for that, that school kills creativity. The other
point he makes is that when we are adults, we are more afraid of the judgement of others,
and we are therefore censoring ourselves. You can start unlocking your creativity by
going back to childhood. Creativity is an important skill in the 21st
century job market, independently of which career you choose. Here we are talking about
creativity because it is essential in science and research.
Most of the newly emerging problems are solved with new solutions. Being creative will help
you to find these new solutions. But also help you to see new problems, form new ideas
and ask new questions.