Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creativity Loves Constraints

How many people do you know would describe themselves as being creative? A lot I find.

“I love new ideas, creating new concepts, building new models, etc.” they will tell you.

And many of them are highly creative when working with a clean sheet of paper, in “green field” situations or without any limiting constraints. This could be considered as pure creativity. But I think that the really creative people are those that can come up with new ideas, a reconfigured concept or innovative new models in response to constraints in order to solve a problem. This is what I call practical creativity. In other words it is the constraints that trigger the creativity required to overcome them. Cause and effect. Now, ask those same people how good they are at problem solving. I think you might get a very different answer? Creativity seems to evaporate rapidly when confronted with real problems to be solved.

So here is my point: No constraints, no creativity. The good news is that you can activate your creativity on demand by recognising problems, existing constraints or future constraints. Practical creativity is simply an advanced form of problem solving.

The key thing to remember is that creativity loves constraints. It is often times difficult to tap into our full creativity, but it is seldom difficult to find a constraint or three in our daily lives.

May the problems you face become the drivers of your practical creativity.

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