what is creativity? 21 authentic definitions you’ll love [free poster]

what is creativity? 21 authentic definitions you’ll love [free poster]

reader comments (42)

  1. i am a visual artist, so creativity for me is a way of processing what i see out in the world and transforming it in a way that communicates what i want to share about my experience.

  2. seeking beauty in the ordinary and expressing your astonishment at what you have found.

    • that’s a great way of thinking about it, deepak. at the end of the day it’s about what matters to the community.

      • @deepak and @demian, yes. in boyd’s book, one of the primary ways he defines creative novelty as becoming “successful” is by gaining attention, acceptance, and adoption from other humans. we evolved to crave these for our creations. i love his observation about the creativity of both artisans and artists: “you do not continue to kill your prey once it is dead, but if you know that your work can impress an audience you may keep honing your acheulean hand-ax or your sonnet and seeing new possibilities as you do so.”

        and from the community (or species) point of view: “crucially, we need to imitate in order to innovate. building on what came before underlies all creativity, in biology and culture. starting again from scratch wastes too much accumulated effort; far better to recombine existing design successes.”

  3. wow! one of the things i love about thinking about creativity is the diverse set of definitions it produces.

    for a long time my favorite has been “connecting experiential dots” – shortened from a discussion in organizing genius, by warren bennis and patricia ward biederman of steve jobs’ interview where he talked about creative people connecting information from their past experiences and concluding that more creative people get that way by accumulating “a vast number of experiential dots.”

    recently i came across another, grounded in evolutionary psychology, in on the origin of stories, by brian boyd. he first defines art as “cognitive play with pattern” and asserts that one of art’s evolutionary purposes is “to create creativity.” as an adaptive tool (or as he calls it, a “darwin machine”), creativity then becomes any activity to “generate and accumulate successful novelty.”

  4. for me creativity is using my ideas to create something; inventiveness. the posters are really beautiful and clearly shows the creativity of the artist.

  5. creativity, to me, is tapping into that deeper part of ourselves that is universal and then sharing a personal story that is, at the same time, relevant to all. growth is a personal voyage but, simultaneously, when we read something true from another, our world is never the same. so, creativity is shared growth.

  6. creativity is often taking something crappy or “meh” and reviving it to understandable communication that whispers, screams or osmosis an emotional reaction.

  7. creativity is the impulse that comes from following my curiosity and engaging my imagination and refusing to acknowledge my logical mind’s attempts to jump in and stop me from having too much fun!

  8. hello demian farnworth,

    this is indeed a great post 🙂

    creativity is something that one carves out from himself and this attracts the
    other humans and something that is being accepted and adopted by the community.
    any of us could be a creative and could generate our own creativity,
    the point is that this should be apply logically and never led our creative ideas for the ill
    effect. you can say in the negative aspects.

    doing something good for the society and community in some different aspects is compared as
    creativity.
    i love the posters. these are something that will keep on boosting us, for
    generating new ideas and a sense of positive feelings inside us.

    thanks for sharing this worthful article among us.
    shantanu sinha

  9. hello demian.

    great article.

    in my own view, creativity is creating something with a difference that will make a difference in life.

    thanks for this awesome article.

  10. hi demian,

    awesome post! awesome thoughts on creativity! thank you! i like to think of creativity as an expression of your art, no matter what you do. i see it as taking the “personal” of personal development and making it your own by realizing your own strengths and passion. i learned and am learning owning your strengths is important. so is practice. which all works so beautifully with creativity. plus, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just growing you! and, helping others! at the heart of “personal” development is your creativity.

    i’m excited to get to work! thanks again for an awesome post! i’ve bookmarked it to share and read from beginning to end again and again! there’s a lot of great resources within this post!

  11. hey chief,

    first of all, i can relate to your initial story here. i lost count how many times you made me cry in your office back in the day…just kidding.

    here’s my working definition of creativity: making, expressing or doing something. period. i was going to add “in a new or different way” but sonia’s quote here prompted me to remove that part…it doesn’t even have to be “new” or “better” because sometimes it’s not, but it is still creativity.

    sometimes we do something creative and have no idea if it is unique or not. if it has been done before, were we then not being creative? good question. i like seth’s answer. it may not work. so we’re still being creative, and those mistakes can lead to greater levels of creativity.

    thanks for the poster.

    matthew

  12. take a ride with me because the answer could be simplistically complex or its opposite.

    creativity, we know, is the source, the beginning, right? some say it is the initial spark, but where does that spark come from? something or someone, right? or maybe from nothing at all… empty space if you will? unlikely. so is the spark the source? maybe it is the steel thought and flint of ideas being smacked together with or without a purpose that causes the spark?

    is it the question or the answer that tells… or both? creativity can be a beautiful mistake or a horribly purposed result. creativity can be the result of simple or complex matter that just lies at the bottom of a pool of convoluted ideas and thoughts that float to the surface and are noticed by passerby’s surgical senses… forced into cohesion from an incohesive state. or is creativity the air bubble of purpose that brings that matter to the surface? so then, creativity is purpose or purposed, right?

    wait. let’s backup. how did we come across these thoughts and ideas in the first place? could the answer be…experience? are newborn thinkers creative? they could certainly use more time to find out, right?

    but wait (again). we can’t stop there either because where did the air bubble of purpose come from?

    uggh! this is never-ending. or should i say… never beginning?

    hold on. yes. here it comes. i think i got it now!

    ahem!

    creativity is the means by which we mirror and mimic the only source… our c r e a t o r whose purpose was to connect us to one another in order that we ultimately connect back to him and bask in the glow of our journey together. the cool thing is that each one of us has a unique shape from which to work, yet collectively we fit together. creativity is our calling card or identity… our fingerprint. it is our piece to the puzzle of life.

    i’m exhausted. 😉

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