Open Thinkering


The everyday essence of creativity

Early in my career, I remember someone introducing themselves as “a Creative”. I’ve always been blunt, but am rarely outright rude, so I didn’t ask the question in my head (“a Creative” what?)

Creativity is a mercurial, elusive property which people like to turn from a verb into a noun, embodying it things and people rather than processes. But creativity is an everyday activity. It’s just thinking differently about things.

GPS "heat trail" spelling the word 'Bollocks' by running on a field and using the Garmin app (which uses Google Maps)

Yesterday, someone on LinkedIn who I don’t know commented on an update I’d shared about my post Time’s Solitary Dance. They intimated that while the AI-generated ‘photos’ were “creative” it wasn’t my creativity. I’d suggest that this person, like so many others, has confused nouns with verbs.

This morning, I made the above image by running on a field near my house while tracking myself using the Garmin app. Or rather, to be boringly precise, I made it using a smartphone app which generated this image with the help of GPS satellites. As you can see, the execution could have been better, but you get the general idea. I think it’s fair to say that there was no intention on the part of the technical tools that created this image.

Now, I could have used an image editing app to spell the word “Bollocks” perfectly. In this case, I wouldn’t have had to do any running. But the image would have been cleaner and clearer. The execution would have been better. The point I’m trying to make is that the creativity isn’t located in my run, in the field, or in my smartphone app. The creative act is the concept, in the spark, in juxtaposing ideas.

3 thoughts on “The everyday essence of creativity

  1. Ok, I admit to having considered using the “a creative” line to describe my work self. It seemed convenient shorthand for all the things that I am. I can’t remember if I ever did or not. Also, to be fair, making up a word like “thinkerer” is maybe more, erm, creative but it’s still turning a verb into a noun 😉

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