Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Be creative, even if you think you’re not. Just do it.

May 26, 2012

This isn’t so much of a blog post as a challenge. Do something creative.

Do it this weekend. Make something. Draw something. Write a song. Bake something. Decorate something. Do whatever grabs you.

Why? Well, I don’t need to tell you when these three other people can:

Picasso: “All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” …Rediscover your creative capacity.

Vincent van Gogh: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” …Stop saying “I can’t” and start saying “I’ll give it a go”.

Sir Ken Robinson: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”….Worried it won’t turn out perfect? Do it anyway.

Go on – I dare you.

As for me, I’m doing something I find it very difficult to do, and that’s play the piano in front of people.

Here’s a short piece I wrote recently. It was inspired by a day out climbing Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran (off the West Coast of Scotland) with some WONDERFUL friends, and I’ve called it ‘View From The Top’.

It’s not Mozart, but it’s mine.

It’s not great, but it’s original.

It’s not professional, but you won’t have heard it before.

Do something creative. Be original. Be unique.




Unlock your hidden creativity – 3 key steps to getting it back again

April 30, 2011

 Creativity and innovation are what give a company its competitive edge… so how come the idea of ‘creativity at work’ can sometimes feel like a contradiction in terms?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing 3 key ways of uncovering your creative potential, as an individual or organisation. You DO have it… you just might have lost sight of it.

Before I start, an acknowledgment: I have my friend, the artist Blythe Scott  (at ), to thank as the inspiration behind this blog series: in addition to creating her own remarkable paintings, she also teaches people to draw, and it’s from THIS, together with my own research and the work of acknowledged experts in the field of creativity, that these insights have come.

Step 1.   “Turn the Chair Upside Down”

I’ve got no hand–eye co-ordination, and I simply CANNOT draw. I can’t replicate the 3D image I see in front of me on a flat piece of paper… for nearly 40 years, that’s what I thought. Yet in the last 2 months, I’ve learned to draw in a way I never thought I could.

I’ve heard many people over the years say that they are not creative, and whilst this is their genuine perception, it’s simply not true. They ARE creative.

Two things to bear in mind :

a) some people will be more ‘creative’ than others, and

b) ‘creativity’ does NOT equate to talent in the arts – it manifests itself in many different ways. Companies and individuals want to be ‘creative’ – they don’t all want to be artists or performers.

So what if you’re ‘not very creative’ and you want to be?

One of the things I remember Blythe saying a while back is that if someone who “can’t draw” turns a chair upside down, they are more likely to be able to draw it accurately.

Far from just being a metaphor for taking a different perspective in order to be creative, there’s some science behind this.

Understand that even in creativity, there is science. It’s not a dangerous free-for-all state of chaos to be feared or contained.

In her book ‘How to draw with the right side of the brain’ (lent to me by Blythe!) Betty Edwards explains that with most “non-artists” after about the age of 10, the logical left side of the brain dominates. It will look at a chair, face or house and say “Ah yes, a chair / face / house. I know what a chair / face/ house looks like” and draws not the thing it sees, but its own remembered symbol for a chair / face/ house.

People who “can’t draw” are probably drawing like ten year olds, because this is what happens.

Turn the chair or the image upside down, though, and the left brain doesn’t have a stored symbol for an upside-down chair or face or whatever, so the right brain kicks in and draws what is actually in front of it, resulting in a much more accurate drawing.

Accept the paradox that looking at some things creatively – not logically – can result in a more accurate, better quality result.

 Another factor explained by Edwards is that right brain creative work is very absorbing. It’s easy to get into a state of ‘flow’, or be ‘in the zone’ and lose track of time. Some people might have issues with ‘letting go’ in this way.

Be prepared to give creativity time, and to ‘go with the flow’. Experiment, test, try.

I’ve tried this ‘upside down’ technique with line drawings, furniture and photos… and it works. Drawing isn’t just about hand-eye co-ordination, as I’d thought for years. It’s about learning to see things in a different way. Now that I know how to see things in a different way, I no longer have to turn them upside down every time.

Understand that to be creative, you have to challenge yourself to see things in a different way, and from a different angle.

Have a go yourself. If you “can’t draw”, take a simple image or a chair, turn it upside down, and focus on what you SEE, not what you think you know is there. See what happens. To be honest, if the result is NOT an improvement on your usual ability to draw, you’ve either allowed some left brain interpretation in there and taken your eye off the image itself, or you’ve become a slave to time and rushed it.

Consider your own field of work. Where’s the metaphor here? Is there a process that’s existed for years that you can ‘view upside down’ in order to see it more clearly? A product perhaps? A behaviour pattern that’s just ‘the way things are’ that can actually be challenged?

If you remain sceptical about your own creative ability, think about small children and they way they draw, play and create in a very uninhibited way. ALL kids, given the chance and barring disabilities which might prevent it, will do this… even the ones who end up as lawyers and corporate strategists.

Somewhere along the line, through education, social factors and other things, their emphasis shifts from the creative to the logical.

But guess what? In my training programmes (which use a variety of creative methods) as soon as people are ‘allowed’ and ‘encouraged’ to be creative, or are given no option BUT to be creative, they can all do it. They can all contribute creatively in their own way. Some might feel awkward at first if they’re not used to it, but that’s natural. Given the right encouragement and environment and a mandate to be creative, people can. They just can. Without exception.

Allow yourself to think in a childlike way (NOTE – childlike, not childish – there’s a BIG difference).

Allow yourself to put aside the comfort blanket of left-brain logic and ‘go with the flow’… you’re only thinking, and no one’s going to get hurt!

Allow yourself to be creative: stop telling yourself that you’re not, start telling yourself that you’re re-discovering your creative abilities. And then do something different to prove it to yourself.

Next time,   I’ll be looking at your creative versus your editor brain, and how to make the most of both… so watch this blog space for Step 2!