Did you know that asking someone their opinion about creativity is almost the same as asking them about religion or politics?

There are so many stereotypes, opinions, perceptions and beliefs that it is almost a full-time job just having conversations about it. You see, just like politics and religion, people tend to believe what they believe and like what they like, and it is difficult to sway their opinion. This is not standard and not a ‘rule’ and I am not generalising, but I challenge you to go and ask the question ‘so, what are your views on creativity’ and really listen to the answer you receive.

Most people will associate the word creativity with art, and this could not be further from the truth. Although creatives tend to be herded into the art and crafts pen, I genuinely believe that society, businesses and the world in general is missing the point.

I wanted to share my ‘two-penneth’ (as my grandad used to say) and shine my light on creativity as the way forward for humanity (bold statement disclaimer – this really is my two-penneth so don’t sue me!).

Mandy Nicholson – Artist, Author, Creative Genius Consultant

Creative people tend to:

SEE – I am not saying every creative is visual, most of us have honed all of our senses and have the ability to use them all equally, but the ability to ‘see’ links and associations between things most people do not is what makes us stand out. For example, I was an incredibly successful store manager and divisional executive in retail because I could see what good looked like and formulate an ‘out of the box’ plan quickly and easily. My ability to dissect complex problems, see connections and come up with a simple solution was what set me apart in my results. My peers didn’t particularly like me, after all I was a woman and ‘quite odd’, oh and my results were head and shoulders above theirs, but I didn’t care. I was just doing what I do. Most creative people think this way, wouldn’t that be a great asset to have in your business.

BE HUMAN – I believe that creativity is a fundamental human skill that is the key to success in any aspect or domain in life. It can show up anywhere, art, cooking, engineering, bookkeeping, sex, cleaning, the list is endless! We are born with this skill, in fact 98% of children are considered to be creative, they then embark on a journey in the school system of having the creativity trained out of them and pointed in the direction of academia and a ‘proper job’. It is only the rebels, those that ‘know’ that how they think and see is useful and are prepared to stand their ground that go on to use that creativity to change the world in their own unique way.

CONNECT – Creative people tend to have the ability to take two or more conceptual understandings and put them together in a new and functional or beautiful way. Who would have imagined that adding a battery pack to a plastic rod with bristles on it would give your teeth a better clean? Who would have thought that de-constructing the human body and other beings, objects and things and putting them back together in a new way for the eye to still recognise them for what they were would be beautiful and powerful (shout out to Pablo Picasso)? This ability has changed the world as we know it and proved that creativity is not just at home in the world of traditional art.

BREAK RULES – We are totally constrained by the rules that we automatically put into place when faced with a problem that needs a solution. Here is a totally ‘creative’ example for you. I was once doing a brainstorm with my team when I was a divisional executive and we were collectively trying to come up with ideas to increase sales. I said that ‘no idea was a bad idea’ and that we would work everybody’s input to a solution. One smart store manager offered ‘topless checkout operators’ as his great sales generator. So, I decided to run with it. ‘Why topless checkout operators’? I asked. Well, it will encourage more men to the checkouts and stop the ‘women always do the shopping’ perception. He had a point! ‘Obviously we can’t do that as it would be unacceptable’ I said ‘so, what can we do to break down the gender bias’. The work that followed this was amazing and we had a plan for both male and female-focused checkouts with both male and female checkout operators, displays of razors, men’s magazines and men’s products at one checkout and women’s magazines and products at the next, then children’s at the next. Did it increase sales? It sure did and this is how creativity shows up in everything. When I paint, I break the rules in my own way, I also do it as standard when I think and plan.

LISTEN – This sense is completely underused! I often get some of my most inspired ideas for my creative work from a sentence or paragraph that I hear on the TV, radio or in conversation. I have learned to always have a notebook and pen and sometimes I even use my voice memo on my phone to capture what I just heard. The rhythm and pace of somebody’s voice coupled with the words that they use can be almost musical. For me, this creates a visual reaction that I can then create on canvas or use in my business when coaching my client’s. It’s a form of magic.

So, my message is crystal clear, I hope? There is nothing wrong with encouraging your children, nearest and dearest and complete strangers to offer up their creative opinion, in fact, it could change your world if you really listen. I have captured all of my lessons in life, in art, in creativity and in business in my amazing Creative Business Academy. It’s my passion, soul-driven business and every inch the weird, whacky creative experience with added structure and strategy that will knock the ball out of the park for you!

So, if that is what you need in your life, why not take creative action?

Love & colour