Sunday, July 27, 2008


An article in the Times today triggered my thoughts on this topic. I consider myself to be a creative individual and I strive to be creative in anything that I do. The reason for blogging on this is for me to organize my random thoughts on this topic and hopefully identify the conditions that enable creativity.

First and foremost, it is important to define "Creativity". Creativity lies in doing ordinary things in extra-ordinary ways. You can be creative while doing anything - washing your car, solving a math problem, arguing, making music, whatever - it is just how you do what you are doing. Upon analysis of the times when I had done something creative, I have identified the following conditions that had enabled me to get there:

State of Mind: I can be creative only when my mind is 100% focused on the work at hand. It is impossible to come up with any creative ideas when the mind is half-occupied with other thoughts. So when you know that conventional solutions will not lead you anywhere with a particular matter, clear your head and work on it only when you can give it your undivided attention.

Goal: Are you working towards efficiency or are you working to meet a deadline? If you are working towards a deadline, you are trying to satisfy someone else and it will hamper your creativity. Work towards a simple goal ... your own pleasure/happiness from the activity at hand and creative ideas will flow.

Fresh Perspective: Question the details that are regarded as "basic principles". You will realize that some of them are made up just to guide you and are not meant to be adhered to every time. When you follow alternate principles, you are more likely to buck the conventional trend and be creative.

I am sure I will keep adding to this list as time goes on. But for now, I like my chances of being creative if I follow these 3 steps. People and organizations should pay more attention to how things are done instead of just caring about the results. It will make the world a better place.