How many books have you read about how to be a creative thinker? Maybe you’ve attended creativity seminars, or tried to learn how to be creative from creativity experts.
The idea of creativity has been mystified, elevated to some magical realm where only some of us feel welcome. It’s become Creativity with a capital C.
Even in our creative agency environment, I hear people on the finance, project management, and account side say “I’m not creative,” or “go ask a creative.” We’ve all been right- and left-brained to death, typecast and plunked into various boxes by Myers-Briggs tests or BuzzFeed quizzes, resignedly settling in to our label as a non-creative person.
Everyone is creative
But the fact is, you are creative by definition. As a human being, you are a creator. Look around you. Who made all of that stuff? Human beings, most of whom never thought of themselves as creative.
Typically, those who think they aren’t creative are strong in areas like organizing, or numerical perception, or maybe analysis or just getting the job done. Let’s look at some of the synonyms for creativity:
If you are reading this, you can probably identify yourself as possessing three or more of the attributes listed. Therefore, you are creative. Case closed.
Typecasting yourself is a barrier to creativity
By accepting the notion that you are not creative, you close the door to inspiration, and fail to give yourself credit for the creative thinking you are already doing.
Creativity in a marketing environment
So, what could creativity look like among the “non-creative” pros in the marketing world? Here are a very few examples:
Product manager: By all means, analyze your direct competition and what they are doing. But if you are responsible for marketing hand sanitizer or maybe a consulting service, take a peek at how some wildly irrelevant products are marketed. To find new ideas, you need to look in a new spot. Open yourself to cross-fertilization.
Project manager: Ask the question “why do we do it like this?” You’ll get the history, which could be interesting, and your inherent ability to create order through logic can recognize an opportunity to do it differently because the old reason is actually defunct.
Data analyst: Web analytics are a goldmine of innovative ideas waiting for you to discover. In the belly of your site search data are new products and services that only you have the key to unlock.
Programmer: Find your way to the table when the project is still in the dream stages. You have an incredible ability to build order out of chaos. As you listen to the crazy talk, all of the pitfalls and reasons why it won’t work will be immediately apparent to you, and you’ll probably get a stomachache. This is the first stage in your brand of creativity – only you will be able to see the path between “oh, my god” and making it work.
There are many, many more examples of creativity at work among those who would never characterize themselves as creative. Yet, we all are. It’s time to admit it, and take credit for your own creative thinking.