Recent findings suggest that the secret to creativity lies in our DNA. "Creativity is related to the connectivity of large-scale brain networks," says Szabolcs Keri of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions in Budapest. "How brain areas talk to each other is critical when it comes to originality, fluency and flexibility." In highly creative individuals this connectivity is thought to be especially widespread in the brain, which may be down to genes that play a role in the development of pathways between different areas. These genes reduce inhibition of emotions and memory, meaning that more information reaches the level of consciousness.

Refurbished university design with wicker chair pods

Refurbished university design with wicker chair pods.

It’s a skill

In contrast, IDEO's co-founders, Tom Kelley and David Kelley believe that creativity is like any other skill, it is something that needs to be practised. In their recently published book 'Creative Confidence', they unlock how IDEO has managed to find creative inspiration over the years in the most corporate of boardrooms from people who strongly believed they weren't at all creative. The book shares a great example of how applying a human centred approach to the creative process helps answer life's most complicated problems. One such example is taken from a hospital where they had an MRI machine that wasn't being used by children as they were afraid to go through the equipment. By applying a human centred creative approach to the problem, they redesigned the MRI scanner to look like a pirate ship and suddenly it became an adventure for the children, saving hundreds of lives in the process.

Multiple agile work settings for creative collaboration.

We're all creative

Creativity is much more diverse and universal than what people typically consider the artistic fields. Creativity is about using your imagination to create something new in the world. So are we born creative? I believe we all are creative, but for me, it is a skill that can be developed and mastered. Like learning a language or a musical instrument, it takes patience, perseverance and commitment to achieve your potential. There was a time in our lives when we were all creative... when we were children. We all played and experimented with weird things without fear or shame. We had no limits or barriers besides our own imagination. But through life, we become more cautious, more aware of social rejection and for a lot of us, we have turned down our ability to be creative. But it's never too late to start tapping into those creative genes we all had as children.

Creativity isn't a gift for the lucky few, it's a natural part of human thinking and behaviour and once unlocked and mastered, provides a powerful attribute to help unlock innovation in your organisation.