Creativity

creativity

Creativity

Article by:
Seah Meng Hui
PGDE – National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
B.Eng – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

As much as the painter can achieve great feats of creativity, so can the mathematician or the scientist who innovate in their own right, and come up with something that the world had never before seen nor imagined

Creativity is certainly learned, both from experimenting in life, and from intentionally studying particular types of creativity

Thomas Edison studied science experiments by both reading about them, and trying them

For him, science was his creative outlet

Artists, designers, builders, engineers, musicians, and others learn to extend their natural human inclination to be creative, both by practice and by study

Creativity helps us solve problems, and we know how important creativity can be in the workplace and in school

ALL OF US ARE CREATIVE

To be creative, we only need to remove limits and restrictions for exploration of ideas and thoughts

Creativity finds new solutions, has new ideas, sees new patterns beyond what is already known

The ingenious inventor, the savvy entrepreneur, the innovative scientist, the imaginative writer – no matter what our field or area of expertise, we all seek to be more creative and innovative

We all want to be original

And in the modern world, there is no room for the humdrum or mundane

A clever and inventive mind opens doors to success

IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVITY TO STUDENTS

Star Tutors interviewed 50 of our students who are artistically-inclined. We also interviewed another 50 students who score high marks for creative writing

These students firmly believe creativity resides in all of us

They and their parents feel that if they want to continue scoring well in English, Literature, General Paper, and university or polytechnic modules, that being creative helps them become more confident and more resilient

And that one learns perseverance through being creative

Once we tap into that creativity, then it’s time to learn to put those ideas into action, because having the courage to do so is at least as important as the idea itself

CREATIVITY IS INCREASINGLY ESSENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE

Robotics and artificial intelligence are pervading and changing every industry from advertising to healthcare to transportation, financial services and education

In some cases, they are enhancing the way humans work

In others, robotics and artificial intelligence are replacing humans entirely

AT LEAST 60% OF EXISTING OCCUPATIONS ARE LARGELY MADE OF TASKS THAT CAN BE AUTOMATED

According to a study from the McKinsey Global Institute, as technology makes even greater inroads, some of those jobs will disappear because it will be cheaper, faster, easier or more effective to have machines do them

Other jobs will remain, but will drastically change

CREATIVITY IS SOMETHING THAT MACHINES HAVEN’T MASTERED – YET

Creativity is how people bring value to the table, using it to turn the potential offered by technology into results

TOP THREE SKILLS REQUIRED BY EMPLOYERS

When the World Economic Forum compiled its Future of Jobs report, it examined what skills will be most important in the workforce

Creativity came in third, after critical thinking and complex problem solving

NATURE VS NURTURE

Brain science reveals that creativity is just as much a skill that you can develop, as it is a natural gift to be thankful for

Many of us regard creativity as an awe-inspiring, almost magical gift that some people are simply born with

But just as creativity can be expressed in many different ways, it can also be learned and sharpened just like any other skill

HOW TO TAP INTO THAT CREATIVITY WITHIN US

CHOOSE TO BE CREATIVE

Stop squashing that little kid inside of us

One of the best things you can do to hone your creativity is to tap into the natural imaginativeness and ingenuity that you had as a child

As kids, we loved to play and pretend

We learned how to create imaginary worlds where anything was possible

Anyone who has been around a young child knows that “why?” is asked about a million times a day

Children are endlessly curious and are persistent in getting to the heart of the matter

A child sees everything as an adventure and makes the most of every moment

Instead of being concerned or self-conscious that your work isn’t good enough, be willing to take risks to push your creative limits

Make a commitment to decide that we want to revive our innovative voice

Most importantly, have fun with your work

HUMOUR

Research shows there’s a strong correlation between humor and creativity

A good laugh can actually bring you closer to those moments of inspiration

Humor also puts you in a better mood, allowing you to think more freely and better solve creative problems

If you look at your project from a more lighthearted perspective, you’ll allow yourself to have a fresh perspective on the problem at hand

EVERY DAY, THINK OF YOURSELF AS A TOURIST

Stop being oblivious to your surroundings

Instead, try to see things as though you had seen it for the first time and admire the new and old things that you see

By engaging with the local art, cuisine, and people, you allow yourself to really learn new ways of thinking that you can later apply to your own ideas

If you’re having trouble looking for innovative solutions, try approaching the problem from a different perspective

It may help to work backward, starting with the solution, or to turn a problem on its head and conceptualize it from a different angle

Start looking at things differently – literally – by wearing your watch upside down or using your phone upside down

Try writing backward: it worked for Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote his notes in “mirror writing”

DEVELOP INTELLECTUAL PLAYFULNESS

Ask yourself: “I wonder what would happen if. . .”; or “What if we change . . ..”; “If I had more time in the day, I’d use it to …”

Creative people can manipulate ideas by easily changing, elaborating, adapting, improving, or modifying the original idea or the ideas of others

DESIGN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY

We can feel most inspired when we surround ourselves with the things we love and that fill our soul such as meaningful photographs, beautiful artwork, inspiring artifacts, and soothing color schemes

Our homes and personal spaces have an enormous impact on our state of mind

They can make us feel as though we are plunging into the depths of despair, or they can be uplifting havens of beauty and rejuvenation

We all yearn for places of sanctuary and balance, ones that provide authentic reminders of what is truly important in life

Imagine yourself in a room with comfy furniture, cherished mementos, thought-provoking artwork, peaceful and happy colors, soothing lighting or candles, and your favorite music playing in the background

You’ll be well on your way to inspired creativity

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE

Routine and habit can squash creativity and stifle us

Once stifled, our minds are not challenged anymore

To break the routine, do things you’ve never done before

Take a day trip somewhere, draw pictures, talk to someone new or try a new recipe

When we take ourselves out of our comfort zone and push through our fears, we liberate ourselves, gain new perspectives and expand our creative minds

EXPOSE YOURSELF TO NEW SITUATIONS OR INFORMATION

Since your creativity is related to how your brain is wired, it’s important to keep your mind stimulated by new sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and experiences

Expose yourself to an entirely different point of view through a new cultural experience

Keeping your sense sharp allows the synapses in your brain to think in new ways

Read information from a variety of industries and subjects, and try to experience new things that may spark an idea

Cultivate a thirst for knowledge

A lifelong thirst for knowledge will fuel your creativity

A thoughtful and intelligent mind demands a constant flow of information

By continually learning and growing, you feed your mind with ideas and expand your thinking

Seek to be broad-minded and open to new concepts and approaches

This includes being willing to try different ideas and not just dismissing something that you disagree with at the first instance

By being willing to question everything, we keep ourselves motivated and curious about the world around us

EXPLAIN THINGS BACK TO YOURSELF (AND THIS WORKS VERY WELL FOR THOSE OF US WHO NEED TO PREPARE FOR EXAMS)

Being creative also requires that you understand the information you have been given

It’s one thing to read a book and study a subject, but it’s entirely another thing to be able to explain that topic to someone else (or yourself)

Being able to explain new knowledge shows that you have processed and internalized the information on a deeper level

If you can explain something back to yourself, you can also expand on it, reshape it in your own unique vision or integrate your own ideas

You can follow threads of ideas and create new concepts

To be a good explainer requires you be a good listener

After all, you can’t fully absorb and retain information if you haven’t really heard what has been said

Get in the habit of explaining things back to yourself to further solidify knowledge

This process can also help you think through areas that may be improved, which will boost your ability to brainstorm and build on concepts

DAYDREAM

Let your imagination run wild

Stop feeling guilty and thinking of yourself as a slacker if you are not multi-tasking and actively engaged in three things all at once

New findings in neuro-psychology show that flashes of valuable insight often come when your mind is in a relaxed state

Give yourself time to let your mind wander, to explore, to daydream, and then use the ideas that surface as part of your brainstorming

Challenge yourself with creative exercises, such as doodling in a sketchbook or writing flash fiction.

Keep a journal of your ideas, however fantastical or impractical they might be

Giving your mind time to dream and problem-solve is a great way to build your creative muscle

If you cultivate a mind that is imaginative, open to all possibilities, balanced, full of knowledge and refreshed frequently, your genius and creativity will start to flourish

BE EMPATHETIC

Take the time to observe the people who need the solutions that you have to create

What are their needs?

Your interpretation of their answer to this important question can help you generate new and effective ideas

BUILD A CREATIVE NETWORK

Even if you do think that you are the expert who knows best, try to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers

Creative geniuses are often seen as lone wolves, but some of their best ideas come from collaboration

So, meet people after school to sit around and talk about innovative ideas

You can learn from your peers and review each other’s work to get a fresh perspective on your own ideas

Listening to a variety of perspectives and seeing your issues in different angles may help you reconstruct your ideas

The re-focus will help you substantiate the problem and narrow down viable solutions

WHY IS CREATIVITY IMPORTANT IN EVERYDAY LIFE?

Because it makes life infinitely interesting and fulfilling

Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest, most every day acts

The most creative people find ways around obstacles because they see them not just as roadblocks but also as opportunities

STAGES OF CREATIVITY

STAGE 1 - PREPARATION

We might think that creativity starts with an idea

Research however has shown that if we want our brains to come up with innovative notions, you first need to feed it with materials to work with

This stage is simply called “preparation” and involves trying to learn lots of things – when your brain uses attention, reasoning and planning to gather information

STAGE 2 – INCUBATION

At this important stage, we let it go

It is really important to let our minds wander, as it leads to greater creativity

STAGE 3 – ILLUMINATION

This is the bright spark that we are all seeking, when connections automatically and subconsciously collide and combine to create an innovative idea

STAGE 4 – VERIFICATION

In order for creativity to reach others and accomplish anything, you must use your critical thinking skills to think about your audience’s needs and requirements, so that you can craft your message or idea

The most imaginative ideas must be logical and rational in order to work

The most scientific and analytical of approaches must still be unique, thoughtful and ingenious

Some of the greatest creative ideas might fizzle into nothing-ness if they are not packaged in the right way, or are not consumable

IN THE WORDS OF STEVE JOBS

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

Article written for Star Tutors

Star Tutors
Private Tuition, By Experts

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this article are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from Star Tutors or its editors

All health content on star-tutors.org is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your own healthcare provider

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