Collective creativity

18.2.2019 Essi Horkka

What is creativity? A creative individual, a creative company or a sector? What about “a burst” or “a chit-chat”? Creativity is a broad concept, a word that is used in a variety of ways and meanings.

Creativity is not simple and it carries different meanings to different people, varying also in different sectors.

Nando Malmelin (LinkedIn) and Petro Poutanen (LinkedIn) have written a book called Luovuuden idea which inspired people here at Unigrafia to think about the different ways creativity is present in their everyday life and at work.

Collective creativity

Collaboration and “sparring” is familiar to pretty much everybody. Open interaction where people bounce ideas back and forth energises everyone in their own work. The writer behind this article  admits that they, too, look for support for their ideas and further those ideas with the help of a co-worker, a loved one or by something picked up from social media.

“Especially in working life creativity is seldom sudden or individual. Creativity is not something that happens in a certain moment. Rather, it is a consequence from a chain of various initiatives, actions and occurrences. The development of creative products and services requires persistent work and multifaceted cooperation. The creation of something new and useful is rarely formed by the mind of one creative individual, and for it to be something that is realised solely by one individual is even more rare.” (Malmelin and Poutanen, 2017, p. 50)

“When it comes to resolving topical and essential problems, both creativity with the ability to regenerate new ideas and interact on a multidisciplinary level are becoming increasingly more important in problem-solving.” (Malmelin and Poutanen, 2017, p. 9)

Question: What does creativity mean to me in work and in everyday life?

We asked different people about creativity and what it means to them. The ability to solve problems as well as the notion of “a burst” and “chit-chat” featured in many of the answers.

Hanna – Graphic Designer

“Creativity, to me, is resolving problems in layout and design. I aim to shatter jaded ideas and to find new, fresh ways in which to interpret the client’s message. Often there are certain parameters, such as budget or the material that is available, that curb your creativity. I find it particularly rewarding when I’m able to communicate the client’s message by putting it in a visually interesting form that is easy to grasp despite the limited starting point.”

Hannes – AV Specialist

“In my line of work creativity is managing to create the best possible results and coherence between the client’s needs and the production resources.”

Heikki – Video Specialist

“For me, creativity is about finding a new perspective in something familiar. I can go about it by “playing” at the office, by breaking cultural codes and having a chit-chat about something without caring how others might react. Also doing something without thinking about it, for example while listening to music, is perfect for breaking boundaries and finding the right state of mind. In everyday life it’s often easier to find creativity as there aren’t that many rules – or jaded thoughts – that regulate everything. I like to push myself into breaking patterns that tend to form in day-to-day life. I, for example, sometimes use my left hand at work or take different routes to work.”

Ilkka – AV Specialist

“Creativity is seeing and experiencing things, feeling something, detecting a scent. Creativity, for me, can be present in a sudden burst of excitement in making music or in the way you fill the washing machine. At work, creativity comes into play as a continuous burst that you keep questioning and examining. I look for creativity from others in my team, I try to absorb as much as possible from them and get inspiration for my own work.”

Risto – Web Designer

 “Creativity, to me, is problem-solving whether it’s coding a website or participating in role-playing and other board games. It’s about co-creation and co-design in both of those worlds.”

Why do we need creativity?

Problem-solving is part of almost every type of work which is why creativity is necessary. At Unigrafia every single day and task is about challenging yourself to use creative thinking.

Someone has said that everything has already been invented. That is often that starting point for  mood boards, idea maps and creating plans as you start gathering ideas other people have come up with. Yet, the creative process yields something completely new.

“Creativity, in practice, means refining ideas and coming up with new ways to create which then leads to new, unique results.” (Malmelin and Poutanen, 2017, p. 131)

According to Malmelin and Poutanen, the Future of Jobs 2016 report (published by the World Economic Forum) states there are three skills that will be essential in working life in 2020 after the so-called Forth Industrial Revolution. These skills are complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. How about that?