Encouraging Creativity

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Life and Creativity

Do the people you interact with daily encourage your creativity? I’m talking about your family, social network, clubs, co-workers, community members. Do they help you explore new ways of thinking, new ways of expressing your talents?

Groups that encourage creativity exhibit certain characteristics. These include:
-freedom to fail
-openness to new ideas
-opportunity for play

Diversity is a key factor in promoting creativity. The more perspectives and ways of doing things are around you, the more connections you can build between them to create novel concepts.

Interpersonal factors such as trust and teamwork allow you to experiment and take risks that stretch your imagination and increase the potential for innovation. The freedom to fail is essential as you explore ideas and refine them until a successful one evolves.

Groups must be open to new ideas for creativity to flourish. They can’t be about preserving the status quo or keeping things comfortable.

One has only to watch children to know how creativity springs naturally in play. At one place I worked, we took a two-minute break in the middle of meetings to do a fun creativity generating exercise. This loosened us up and readied us for new possibilities.

Finally, recognizing and celebrating creativity places a high value on it and encourages us use more.

Think about your daily interactions and if your creativity is encouraged. How can you encourage it in others?  


Today’s 4 Minute Writer


Smile on command, be polite, make small talk- nothing controversial. Be pleasant. Don’t do anything to make yourself stand out. We just want people who will go with the flow and get along with everyone.

Do others feel like I do, dying to burst out of the mold and express who I really am? I’ve taken that risk before- more accurately, have not had the self-control to hold back my true thoughts, blurted them out. Passionately. Mistake. Branding, scoffing, shunning ensued. And so, I moved on and continued to do my best to conform so that the mild tone of existence could continue for all.

The calmness of conformity: not rocking the boat, not offending anyone- not being myself…

Use the comment field to suggest a topic, submit your writing on today’s 4 Minute Writer topic (Conform), or to comment.


Filed under Creativity, Writing

11 responses to “Encouraging Creativity

  1. I loved this post on diversity. I am taking a German language class in Germany and we have students from over 13 countries. It’s making me realize how un-diverse my life was in Calgary and how, without even realizing it, fell into a comfort zone with friends and activities. I am now writing more than ever and although I hadn’t linked my new found diversity to the writing and creativity until reading your post, it makes sense.

    • Thanks for your comment. It’s amazing how quickly we can slip into a comfort zone without realizing it, and yet, once we seek new perspectives, we quickly re-discover how much we thrive on them.
      Your comment made me think of your post on going out for lunch with the girls from your class and having a great discussion on the various perspectives on men. There’s putting creative ideas to work!

      • I had never thought of our lunch conversation talking about men as creative (now that’s creative thinking :), but I suppose you’re right and I agree it’s far too easy to slip into the comfort zone. In Calgary, there were lots of new experiences I could have been seeking out, but other than trying the occasional new restaurant I didn’t for the most part. Thanks for inspiring us all!

  2. The last office job I had, we used to have “Creative Meetings” once a week. These meetings included people from every department, creative or not. They were the best, most productive gatherings in that office. One of the few things I miss about that job. Great post!

    • Thanks Shawna. I work at a place with people from vastly different disciplines. It’s amazing the ideas that come from asking the same question to people with different backgrounds. I think companies are realizing more and more that creativity is the commodity that will keep them competative- and is a big contributor to job satisfaction.

  3. Thanks Zoe. This is quite a reminder. Coincidentally I picked up Charles Handy’s The Empty Raincoat this afternoon. He recognises an unhappy society which forces people into the ill-fitting moulds it has designed. We need to break out and find our place in a a more creative society, he says. I can’t wait to read on!!!

    • Thanks for the book recommendation. This sounds like one I will definitely read- more than just the last few paragraphs. I’ll bet there are some things to apply on a smaller level as well. Looking forward to the read.

  4. karin

    Innovation, creativity, diversity … all seem to belong together, with these in the mix there is … possibility.

  5. Great post. Perhaps one of the things that getting older has given me is the courage to conform less, and it’s a wonderful life gift. I hope that the generations to come value creativity more than conformity.

    • Thanks for joining the discussion, Helene. There does seem to be a pendulum swing in our culture toward creativity and away from conformity. I think people are tired of staying in the box of conformity in order to maintain a security that no longer exists- financial institutions are collapsing, companies conduct mass layoffs, communities are fragmented. May as well do what gives us life!
      Seeing your attitude toward getting older (and reading your posts on your blog) gives me hope that I will keep growing in creativity as I age. Aging is inevitable, may as well do it with style 🙂

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