“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” Albert Einstein (from Goodreads.com)
Where, oh where is today’s creativity? Is creativity the new buzzword so mainstream it has lost its true meaning? A number of town criers are raising the alarm of an acute loss of innovation due to an epidemic of destructive or dying creativity. The community of artists, writers, musicians, photographers and other creative types are traditionally the keepers of creativity. Is it possible the keepers are letting innovative creativity sit around and get soft and flabby?
A number of writers have taken up the subject of The Death of Creativity in the last few years. In an article for FastCompany.com titled Death of Creativity=Death of Innovation, Kaihan Krippindorff laments the loss of innovation as the inevitable result of the lack of creativity. Krippindorff highlights an article that appeared in Newsweek in 2010 on the subject. Some alarming statistics are beginning to show up. According to both articles, creativity in the U.S. has already sharply dropped and does not appear to be slowing its decline anytime soon.
On the other hand, books on creativity are on the rise. However, instead of addressing the problem, these books seem to be sugar coating the issue by offering simplified pat answers. Acculturated.com has an article by Mark Tapson, titled The Death of Creativity. Tapson discusses an article for Harper’s by Thomas Frank, saying, these happy creativity -encouraging books are leading to a “monetized and commercialized creativity” that will be equally destructive to the process. Tapson puts forth the theory that creativity is born in rebellion. To mainstream the idea of creativity will make it less innovative. These books, according to Tapson, are “de-radicalizing” creativity leading to an acute flat-lining of the source of energy needed to incubate ground- breaking innovation.
Creativity as a mainstream buzzword lacks the resistance of rebellion. It moves with the flow instead of swimming upstream. For creativity to produce pearls of innovation, it must be formed in the friction of the oyster shell. As long as we are comfortable in our smooth grey creativity, there will be no irritating bits of sand to cause the formation of colorful pearls. How boring is a life without pearls! Time to throw some sand.