I’m on a bit of a creative bravery ‘thing’ at the moment, probably because I’m spending so much time with the amazing, inspirational and totally incredible Debs Armstrong!
I guess my issue is that I simply can’t understand a person who claims they are ‘not creative’. Creativity is not something which differentiates – It’s divine, mysterious even, but it’s not picky.
Of course, some people are more apt with numbers and figures than a paintbrush or graphics tablet, but I believe that aptitude comes from a combination of attitude, passion and dedication. All of which begin life, stemming from the same basic human desire found in us all.
Creation, arguably, is the sole divine act.
Even the most primal life forms, devoid of evolutionary attributes or even consciousness, reproduce. A singular cell divides and multiplies, creating more of itself.
Male and female gametes, entirely independent of whether we ask, or even want them to, will collaborate to create new life.
And in a few years’ time, just try and stop that brand new human from getting into the paints and redecorating the entire house while you’re not looking.
A child possesses the rawest form of creativity – reckless, careless and boundless – dreaming up infinite scenarios for role-playing games, splashing vibrant streaks of colour not only on paper but all over themselves too, and are soothed into slumber by the reassuring fiction of bedtime stories.
No greater documentation of this can be found in Channel 4’s new Tuesday night show – ‘The Secret Life of 4 Year-Old’s’.
Each episode spans one day in a pre-school nursery with cameras and mics rigged up, and a team of child psychologists on hand behind the scenes to offer their predictions, opinions and analyses.
What is so fascinating about this is not just observing their conversations and friendships, but how creative expression is weaved into every part of their behaviour and actions.
But these behaviours are by no means extraordinary – we expect this hyperactive, erratic creativity from children.
But what happens to this as we grow up?
Why do we lose this almost magical trait?
Is it a necessary sacrifice of ‘growing up’?
Absolutely not – and that is the critical flaw in the way that we currently operate as professionals.
We’ve lost touch with the creative freedom we were born with.
But even those who have grown to deem themselves ‘non-creative’ can discover it in themselves again, because it never left. It just got sensible-ised into exile.
And all we have to do to get it back, is learn to work and play as children again.
We must operate our companies with the fearlessness, bravery and hyperactive enthusiasm we had as children.
We must develop programs which do not compromise our humanity in the face of professionalism, but empathise and compensate for it.
Children have nap time to feel more alert and refreshed.
We as adults sink another espresso and try to keep our eyes focused on the screen we stare at for eight consecutive hours a day.
Not only is rediscovering this child-like creativity essential for individual mindfulness (a perfect example is the therapeutic ‘colouring books for adults’ soaring off the shelves) but we as companies need to start permitting and embracing this kind of creativity, to inspire even more brilliant and wonderful ideas.
A trip to their Mountainview Campus HQ in Silicon Valley would show employees zooming around on scooters, walking their puppies around the office and getting hour-long massages on their lunch breaks.
The office is kitted out with ‘sleep pods’ for power naps and swimming pools for a quick refresh, and for those averse to stairs, SLIDES to take you from one floor to another.
Google also offer an 80/20 policy, which allows members of staff 20% of their time off work to dedicate to their passion projects and hobbies, and an extended 3-month unpaid leave program for those who wish to go off and, you know, chase their dreams for a bit.
I think it’s safe to say, you don’t have to ask if Google’s employees enjoy their jobs, as yearly they top employee satisfaction polls.
And I think it’s also safe to say, you don’t have to ask if Google employees are good at their jobs.
Call me in a while I’m off for a nap.