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Why creativity matters

When we hear the word ‘creative’, many of us think of pencils and paper, or of glue and collage. Few of our first thoughts are about magnificent buildings or bridges, or world changing technology. But creativity is the very thing that makes us human, and the key to our development as a species.

We all have an inherent creative ability.  It’s how we solve problems, how we learn to walk, to make decisions and to progress though our lives.  To create means to make one thing out of another thing.  So every time we are faced with a problem, our solution lies in gathering together all the information, or components involved in that problem, and piecing them together to think up a solution.  Out of one situation we create another.

This basic process has many possible manifestations and as an overarching concept it is known as ‘divergent thinking’. We understand what it is, and then we imagine the possibilities that turn it into what it could be.

This is why ‘play’ is such a fundamental part of childhood development.  The act of play – of imagining, creating, producing – activates connections and pathways in the brain that lay the foundations for initiative, questioning, problem solving and physical development.

We all have creative potential, we just need to nurture it, or find our own ways to best release it.  For some it is to fix things – cars, computers, human bodies.  For others it is through expression, to make something – music, art, food – out of other things that serves a purpose or makes people feel a certain way.

Regardless of how creativity is expressed, its ultimate outcome is progress.  By providing materials to explore with, by giving individuals freedom to find solutions, and encouraging free expression, by focusing on the process of what’s being produced, rather than what the final product is, we nurture creativity.

Imagination plus resourcefulness is the fuel for innovation and only through creative human collaboration can we continue to express and progress our potential.

“There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll

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