Creativity is at the heart of mankind’s greatest inventions and novel ideas. It’s often touted as one of the most desirable attributes in employees, and yet many of us struggle to cultivate it in ourselves and those around us. We sat down with Dr. Jeni Fulton (Art Basel Executive Editor) and Jeremy Tai Abbett (Google Creative Evangelist) to discuss how creativity and bravery are actually two sides of the same coin.
While many skills are essential for success in business, few are more revered than creativity itself (1). “With the third industrial revolution upon us and tasks being increasingly taken over by machines, it falls back on the laborer now to really use their knowledge rather than their hands,” said Dr. Jeni Fulton. “This brings up creativity because if you want to be successful in this new labor economy then you need to be above your peers. And how do you stand out? By having better ideas than them. It almost feels like creativity’s a holy grail.”
Reaching that holy grail and ensuring creative excellence requires four key elements, according to Jeremy: “It’s questioning the status quo, it’s a bias towards action, it’s critical thinking, and the fourth thing is diversity. Not just diversity within the people you work with, but diversity of thought and diversity of influence.”
At MCH Global, we believe in fostering workplace diversity and we take pride in our team’s creative bravery. Henri Matisse said, “creativity takes courage;” three bold words that have stood the test of time and which Robert Sternberg took to heart in his “A Triangular Theory of Creativity” (2). Sternberg’s theory believes creativity requires brave defiance: defiance of the crowd’s beliefs, defiance of one’s own beliefs, and defiance of the Zeitgeist (the shared and often unconscious worldview of one’s field).
When asked what creative bravery means to them, Jeni and Jeremy revealed they share Matisse and Sternberg’s beliefs. “I think creativity and being brave means going beyond yourself, questioning yourself, and questioning the status quo” said Jeremy. “Depending on where you live, life can be very comfortable, so you really have to make an effort to do something different.”
Jeni reiterated, saying creative bravery is “questioning your beliefs all the time, otherwise it’s not creative. If you just go ahead with your beliefs, the status quo, or what you’ve been doing all your life, you’re not going to produce anything particularly interesting, you’re just going to do more of the same.”
Like Jeni and Jeremy, our teams at MCH Global strive to infuse every aspect our service offering with creativity. Check out what we do to find out more, and stay tuned for future episodes to come from the MCH Global “Expert Talk” series.