25 December 2008

How Creativity can Change the World

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Einstein

‘Creativity: the process of developing new, uncommon, or unique ideas.’ – Google Definitions

Many people feel that creativity isn't their 'thing' - they aren't arty, missed out on that 'creative gene', aren't good at thinking like that. . . But creativity is something we are all born with, and something that needs to be nurtured - and is definately a skill that you can re-learn if you've let it lapse.

Creativity is our very essence. Its how we express who we are - from how we dress to how we think, from what we say to how we leave our mark on the world.

Without creativity - creative problem solving, creative thinking - we don't have a hope of making a positive difference in the world. We need to think outside of the box to come up with real, innovative, workable solutions to the problems that face us.

The key to creative thinking is to NOTICE EVERYTHING. Cultivate curiosity. Question your assumptions. Ask 'What if . . .' and 'Why do we . . .'

The only way we are going to solve such seemingly intractable issues as global poverty and environmental degradation is to use different ways of thinking than those which led us to this point. We need to get creative!

Sometimes simple, obvious solutions are the best. When it comes to dealing with global poverty, the simple, obvious solution – give money – is not the answer. The causes of desperate poverty are more complex than a simple lack of money and more creative thinking is required to eliminate them.

This is not to say that money is not needed, obviously it is a part of the solution. What is needed is opportunity. Take a look at how Epic Change and The Uncultured Project are using creative thinking to create opportunity for some of the worlds most vulnerable citizens.

In my own town, business is being stifled in our main street by a property owner asking excessive rents. The community have come up with several out of the box ideas to revitalise Bridge St and create opportunities for business including:.

  • Using the empty shop fronts to display information about local community groups has gone a long way to making the main street look less derelict – and has promoted our community organisations and helped increase community pride.

  • Starting a community market has given locals a venue to start up a business locally. Its fairly embryonic at this stage, but in the New Year we have several fruit and vege suppliers lined up so it should become an even better place for locals to do their shopping – and meet up with each other.

What are your favourite examples of world changing creativity?

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