Creativity is a muscle

Posted on January 12, 2011


You know when you hear someone say “we need to bring some creative power in”, or “what we need is some creative muscle”? Well, after you’ve finished being sick at the very use of such a hackneyed alpha-business phrase you end up sitting there and thinking, ‘actually yes, we do need someone with a more creative mind’.

So, what is a creative mind and how is it maintained? Well, actually I think it’s in that hackneyed phrase. I think it’s like a muscle. We’re all born with the creative muscle to a greater or lesser degree it’s just that some of us choose to exercise that creative muscle; some of us do not; and some of us are just annoying bloody talented in the first place.

We’re most of us born with the ability to participate in some sort of exercise. Participate regularly and we’ll maintain our fitness and ability. Sit on the couch and eat fast food and we’ll see that ability disappear. Failing to try new things; to go to new places; to walk a different route to work; to take photos; to read a book you might not have read; to participate in debates – failure to do all these things and more and you’re not exercising that muscle. No exercise means you shouldn’t be surprised if no creativity emerges in your thinking.

And organisations need to challenge their people in this area everyday if they want creative thinking. Take a look at this from Lego – it’s their business card –

– which is quite simply inspired. It’s fun, surprising and immediately makes you think that this is a place where you’re given permission to play. Play has to be at the core of their business. It’s also at the core of exercising the creative muscle – playing with new experiences that can lead to the individual coming up with new ideas.

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