The Top 7 Creativity Myths

Mention the word Creativity, and people begin to squirm in their chairs. The very thought can prompt anxiety, fear, and doubt – even in the most accomplished professionals. Let’s explore some common myths, and uncover the truth behind this “fuzzy” topic:

MYTH 1: Creativity is only needed at the top

TRUTH : In today’s business environment, creativity applies to everyone. The companies that will win in this post-recession new world will have creativity as part of their DNA. You should consider the concept of Everyday Creativity: fresh ideas and creative problem solving in every business setting. Every meeting. Every customer interaction.

MYTH 2: People are creative (or not) based on what they do

TRUTH: Your role has nothing to do with your creativity. There are professional musicians in major symphonies that are great technicians but don’t use an ounce of creativity. There are also statisticians that are brilliantly creative. Don’t let labels dictate or limit your creativity.

MYTH 3: Creativity can’t be developed

TRUTH: Yes, it absolutely can. In fact, we all have tremendous creative capacity as human beings. We just need to develop it. Think of creativity as a muscle. You don’t become a champion bodybuilder without hitting the gym. Similarly, to build creative capacity requires some practice and focus. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific research confirming that you can grow your creativity at any age.

MYTH 4: Creativity isn’t my job

TRUTH: Today, creativity is everyone’s job. For your organization to be successful, creativity must be harnessed at all levels. It is no longer just something those “art people” do. There isn’t a job function that can’t benefit from creative problem solving, fresh ideas for the future, or simply finding a better way.

MYTH 5: Creativity can’t be managed or harnessed

TRUTH: Creativity often lives in the shadows, happening by chance. While businesses have processes for just about everything, no such process previously existed for nurturing creativity. Until now. Look for my eBook, Disciplined Dreaming: A Five-Step System for Developing and Managing Creativity, available for free download in early February at www.CreativityGeneration.com

MYTH 6: Innovation and creativity are the same thing

TRUTH: Innovation is a subset of creativity. Innovation is typically connected to a new product or service, while creativity is a broader term. Creativity applies not only to new product inventions, but also to creative problem solving, original approaches to communication, and in the broadest sense – raw imagination of the possibilities. Innovation applies to CEO’s and R&D departments. Creativity applies to us all.

MYTH 7: My technical skills and experience are enough

TRUTH: Maybe in the past, but definitely not in the future. Creative problem solving, original thought and imagination have become the currency for success in the new world of business…and life. The difference between getting a promotion, making the sale, raising capital, or reaching your true potential lies in your ability to embrace and nurture your creative potential.

As the economy continues to evolve, businesses are faced with increasingly tougher competitors, more challenges, and less time to react. Dispelling the myths, and then harnessing creativity may be the critical success factor for you and your company. Which of these myth were you holding on to?

This week, how will you change your thinking in order to change your actions? How will you use your own creativity to make a difference?