People think that creativity is an innate gift, something that some people already have from birth.
In fact, according to a study completed by Harvard, creativity is not an innate gift but 85% is a learned skill that must be cultivated, developed and grown.
The question is: how?
To understand it best we must first understand its meaning.
Creativity is simply defined as the art or cognitive ability of the mind to create and invent.
Creative ability has been an object of study in human history for centuries, a quote that can simplify its definition can be the one provided by Henri Poincaré
“Creativity is combining existing elements with new connections that are useful”.
Creativity is a mental process that functions by associations between existing ideas and concepts, and gives rise to entirely new ideas and concepts.
It is also defined as such when it is not an end in itself and oriented towards the achievement of objectives.
Creativity does not follow precise rules, but a sort of process is possible consisting of a series of phases, which manifest themselves in a different way, but which always remain akin to the goal that you want to pursue.
Understanding this process is very important, understanding it can help us define our strengths and weaknesses and can come to our aid when we are faced with a creative block, because some problems can often be linked to a specific phase of the process. By isolating it, it becomes easier to identify them and find ways to solve them.
Let's see together what are the phases of the creative process.
PHASE 1 RESEARCH
The first step is to gather as much information as possible about the problem we need to solve. Example, think if a customer came to us and told us "I would like a cocktail ..." without specifying anything else, what would you start from?
It would be different if he told us “I would like an aperitif cocktail with typical products of the Piedmont area”. Automatically the mind begins to define a goal and the field narrows, the more we are able to refine the information available to us, the easier it will be to organize and work on it.
Obviously this requires a methodical and systematic attitude on our part, we have to find the deepest and most acute questions to ask the client and this, even if it may seem an analytical work, is already in itself a work of intuition and creativity.
Creative people always ask themselves why something, they rarely accept the world as it is.
A bit like with a math problem, we have to get to describe the problem in such a way that it includes everything needed to get us to the solution. The more information we collect, the more we have a foundation to start from.
Knowledge is the basis for creativity
PHASE 2 ASSEMBLY
Once all the information sufficient to solve the problem has been gathered, the available materials begin to be developed and possible solutions to be thought of.
This is often a slow process that develops through trial and error and takes time, dedication and patience.
The important thing is not to be hindered by the pressure (anxiety) to solve the problem because this state of mind can negatively affect our creativity.
PHASE 3 SOLUTION
A sudden stroke of genius, a light bulb that turns on: it is the moment when all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together and we find the solution to the problem. Often it is an association between two elements that had nothing to do at first sight, or different from all that was previously assumed.
It is curious how this phase occurs at a completely unexpected moment, while we are not focused or interested in the problem, as if the brain is unconsciously continuing to work on it. Sometimes creativity is the result of the unexpected, external events determine and impose the conditions for arriving at that particular solution.
The sensations that arise, however, are the same ... a strong emotional reaction of euphoria satisfaction that makes us feel as if nothing can stop us, as if we could revolutionize the world of mixed drinking.
STEP 4 VERIFICATION
Ok, it's time to get back down to earth and, however ingenious, it is imperative to check if our solution is able to work and meets all the initial requirements and requests, requests that are requested by third parties or our personal needs. .
At this stage it is often useful to distance yourself from the project to return to it later with a more critical eye and lighter mind.
In some cases it could happen that the solution, unfortunately, is not the right one and you have to take a step back to return to the assembly phase, or you understand that an important criterion has been omitted.
A bit like when at school it happened to go off topic, and you had to start over from the beginning.
The important thing is not to give up or feel discouraged because it was still a useful job that allowed us to train our mind and learn something new.
Furthermore, what we have created is not always to be thrown away.
How to stimulate creativity?
We have analyzed the 4 phases of creativity but how exactly do you stimulate it? Let's see it together.
TRAIN THE CREATIVE MUSCLE
Just as we train muscles in the gym, creative muscle also needs to be trained and this takes time and energy.
It takes a daily dedication to push the mind to think in an original way and to generate new ideas.
This not only helps develop creativity, but generally keeps our brains active.
In fact, when we do something new the brain understands that we are learning and releases dopamine in our system making us feel emotionally good.
Entering this cycle, enthusiasm and motivation can push the brain to tap into resources it didn't even know it had.
WHY NOT DISTRACTION?
Most of the ideas come to me while listening to the radio or in the perfume aisle at the supermarket or looking at a painting at an exhibition.
When we focus too hard on a problem, we use all of our cognitive resources. But when we are distracted and we are not thinking about a solution to a particular problem, the brain is free to wander in the direction it wants without limits some.
A distraction, a step back, can provide a new perspective that predisposes us to a whole new and different approach to developing new solutions.
We need to give our brain the space and breath it needs to be creative outside of rationality.
Research on overseas residents has shown that immersing yourself in a different culture can stimulate creativity. This is because the brain has to adapt to living in a completely different country, it is forced to have new experiences and see things from a different perspective, stimulating creativity.
You may not intend to move abroad, but a vacation can be the best way to clear your mind, connect with different realities, explore new spaces and new environments and expand your vision and understanding of the world.
In order to develop unique ideas, it is necessary to venture outside our comfort zone and experiment with new ideas and working methods. Google has developed a concept of work that provides a balance between work and creativity of 80/20, 80% of the time is dedicated to work, 20% to experimentation.
Many designers say that to build their career, it is almost essential to develop a "side project".
Working on your own project allows you to keep your mind and creativity active even when you leave work, to bring out your own style without constraints and to demonstrate that you are not working only for money, but for personal satisfaction, not to mention that if the project is good can offer new opportunities for visibility and work.
GO BACK TO BEING A BEGINNER
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, because he has less knowledge of rules, therefore less constrained by decision-making power,
quote from Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
"If you've been practicing your job for a long time, you probably don't consider yourself a beginner, maybe not everyone considers themselves an expert, but certainly not a beginner."
Beginners don't have limited understanding, they don't know exactly what they are doing or what they are truly capable of. It may seem like an absurd state of mind but it hides two benefits:
First, we are more open to new ideas, new things and to explore alternative ways to solve a problem
Secondly, as already mentioned, having new experiences stimulates creativity. It is important for the body and mind to continue challenging itself.