Can we force creativity?
Friday 13th April 2018
Attending The School of Life is always a great experience – so when the opportunity came up for us to attend a talk about ‘Creativity’ by The School of Life, Poppy and I went along to find out more.
The event was organised by Better Bankside, so naturally, it was being held in a beautiful venue. Poppy and I walked through the marbled lobby of the Mondrian Hotel and we’re guided downstairs to find a perfectly placed and beautiful breakfast in front of us – everything from avocado on toast, pots of yoghurt and fruits, and of course warm crispy croissants – I could get used to this every morning!!
After a rather scrummy breakfast, we were lead into the screening room – full of plush blue velvet cinema seats, dimmed relaxed lighting and with today’s speaker Francesco Dimitri standing quietly and patiently at the front. Once everyone was settled, he posed quite a daunting question…
How do you define creativity?
Francesco went on to say that in a nutshell – It’s spotting an opportunity to improve something by using the tools you have available.
An example of this is Gutenberg’s Printing Press. A press traditionally used to make wine was re-purposed and reinvented to create the printing press. Although an unexpected notion Francesco said that it’s impossible to create anything from scratch and that we are all, in fact, working from something that’s already existed.
So – creativity, is it emotional?
Of course creativity is emotional, we all go through what’s called ‘The horror of the first draft’ (If you’re a writer you’ll certainly know all about this!). As creatives we’re able to spot when something is utter boll**cks, reset, and go again and again until it right. It’s this experimental and step by step nature that makes us so resilient and why we have such a deep connection to our work. There are a few people out there however, who will stop there and give up – we need to embrace it, carry on going and move beyond fear.
While It’s important to allow ourselves to fail it’s even more important to stop ourselves solving problems by using old solutions – we need to ‘unlearn’. The Bauhaus school of design came up with a novel solution to this issue – by giving students a piece of paper. To write on the paper is a cliché – it’s an old solution, however the moment we forget that it’s meant for writing, it can become so many more things.
Can we force creativity?
No – we certainly can’t. But we can give it a helping hand by ensuring we build the right creative environment for ourselves. Time off is good. Going for a walk is good. In a world of 24/7 lifestyles, Twitter, Facebook and far too much digital stimulation we need to make sure we protect ourselves and our imaginations by placing ourselves in an environment where we can feel truly creative.
It was this last notion that really made me think about myself and how I make sure I’m being creative as possible? I guess when I think about it I always have the same three tools with me...
Firstly, I’m an avid sketcher/doodler – I sketch everything from ideas, to notes and lists, to copywriting – so I always have a notebook and pen with me.
Secondly, for me, a thesaurus. Sounds silly… but words really help me think differently about ideas – so I always make sure I’ve got one to hand.
And lastly – Spotify and headphones. Sometimes background noise is great and I love a good Beyonce track as much as anyone else – but when push comes to shove and I need to totally concentrate I plug myself in and totally zone out. Obviously everyone creates a different environment to suit their needs, their mood and the kind of work, but what if everyone was more open about the tools that help them be creative? Would this mean the work environment and design studios as we know them could completely change? It’s an interesting thought…
– Posted by LE