What does it mean to be creative?

Creativity is a weird and mutable concept. Its something very nebulous that often confuses many people. Creativity is that enviable quality that most of us believe only a few gifted have. Yet, I believe that everyone is creative. Creativity is something that everyone exhibits when you examine creativity in a broader sense of the word.

Traditionally, creativity has been manifested by drawing, writing, poems, and other expressive forms such as music. Areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics were often considered rote and very mechanical (much like the students studying the subjects). These subjects were believed to suck out your creativity through exhausting problem sets and the constant pursuit for a single correct answer. Yet, if we broaden what it means to be creative to exhibiting original thinking rather than confining it to an artistic representation of one’s original thinking, than all of a sudden these subjects have the potential to be learned creatively, which implies that they can also be taught creatively. Imagine if all of a sudden engineers and students of science were judged not based on the correctness of their answer but instead on the variety of the pathways they took to reach the answer? What if we were judged based on the various different approaches and various different strategies we could come up with for a given open ended problem? How would our engineers behave differently?

So what does it mean to be creative? Creativity is just the ability to approach a problem in a different unique way. It is approaching a problem in the way most would not think of. Perhaps, it is even finding the harder pathways through the problem. Problem solving is a form of creativity that is often over looked. Creativity is the ability to look deeper than the surface and see something most people don’t. Creativity is not just artwork, and is not just reserved for artists. So you science folks, claim back your creativity. Reclaim your right to the most powerful tool, and reclaim your identity with being out of the box thinkers. We want humans not machines to be the leading innovators of tomorrow.

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