Creative expression—the act of expressing a novel idea or solution—is central to problem solving and innovation. In a recent post, I listed three examples of creative expression that I adore: coworking, creative placemaking and brainstorming studios. These are outcomes that demonstrate the value of deep engagement, an important prerequisite of creative expression. Traversing the terrain of deep engagement affords us the opportunity to explore a subject more fully. It is vital for growth. Our ability to generate alternative solutions significantly increases as we think more abstractly about a subject, explore the subject from multiple angles and cultivate alternative perspectives.
Are there occasions when it is entirely unnecessary to tamper with the status quo? Ab-so-lutely!
However, should the status quo become stale or ineffective, the need for thoughtful creative expression becomes paramount. The divide between a problem and a solution is narrowed as a result of deep engagement and creative expression…because inherent in every act of creative expression is the intention to develop an idea or solution.
Any act of creative expression is evidence that an investment of attention has taken place. Creative expression demands that we actively cultivate our ability to analyze, prioritize and synthesize pertinent information. As a result, our capacity to analyze information broadly expands and our ability to reach useful solutions is refined. Creative expression trains us to thrive in our environment. It is at odds with passivity.
“The most fundamental skill of the creative person
is the ability to constantly re-vision the world” –Shaun McNiff
Creativity doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Engaging in activities which sensitize us to our surroundings develops our ability to interact more intimately with those surroundings. This leads to greater receptivity and adaptability in dynamic or unpredictable circumstances. Author Hilary Austen discusses these skills of ‘qualitative reasoning’ in her book, Artistry Unleashed. Artistic activities are a remarkable training ground for developing these qualitative reasoning skills. When we engage in artistic activities we also increase our capacity to express ourselves in non-artistic domains. Elliot Eisner describes this relationship in depth, in his book, The Arts and the Creation of Mind. Creative expression begets creative expression.
If each of us aspires to thrive in our everyday lives, if we aspire to re-vision the world in order to create solutions to the problems before us, let us aspire to creative expression. Creative expression is our best means of reaching an ideal end. It’s that simple.
© 2011 Kira Campo