by Elmarie Bouwer

Slowly the lump of brown wet earth forms into the recognizable limbs and torso of a manikin. With every caress, the deliberate pinches and touches of the artist morphs into the image of a child. When fully done, she takes a patina knife and deliberately starts slashing multiple crisscross gashes into the limbs and heart of the clay figure’s smooth sheen. Silently, the marble eyes and mouth scream out the pain of this brutality.  The artist’s theme? Abuse.


By the aroma wafting from the open windows of your neighbour’s kitchen, you know he’s making his special lasagne. Not following the steps in some recipe book, but the one cooked up in his head first and thereafter the saucepan. Your mouth waters…


In the pre-school centre around the corner, a mud besmeared boys’ huddle ages 5-6, is closely clustered around a lunchbox lid & inner sheltering a make-belief village of “aliens” built of sticks, tinfoil and dried dirt. On it and populating the immediate ground round about it, are multiple plastic animals, some shrouded in capes of aluminium, a Tyrannosaurus Rex the warlord of this ‘fearsome’ army. Excited voices ring out as they impersonate the fake animal’s commands and moves in the mastery of his subjects and the mechanisations of a war fought with a neighbouring planet.


You have just witnessed creativity in the cases above. In every instance.

So what you say, what does this have to do with my business? Hang on, getting there…

There are many definitions of creativity all of them more or less saying that it is the act of creating something new. For John Young, a psychiatrist interested in the field of creativity, it is the imagination “that makes up something new and valuable, thus transforming what is [now] into something better”1

I however like the way Ilse Turnbull of Rousing your Muse fame puts it: ‘to produce through imaginative skill’…”creating something that you have allowed to be infused with your personality so it becomes a unique expression of yourself in whatever form you have chosen to use… [creativity is]… making stuff up.2

Prof. Robert Harris of Virtual Salt, sees creativity both as an ability and an attitude taking shape over a the process of time. He defines it as the “the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing, or reapplying existing idea[s]… to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities…”

However, “…contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity,” he says, “very, very few works of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity… “3

But again, you say,  just what has all this got to do with my business?

Before we get to that, let’s clarify the meaning of being creative even more by quoting from the Idea Sandbox: [because it is so relevant to our discussion, the quote is a rather lengthy one]:

“Sometimes we confuse artistic ability with creativity.

If I can’t paint or draw, I’m not creative.

Artistic ability includes skills and talent to create fine works of art: painting, drawing, sculpting, musical composition, etc. [first example above]

Creativity ability is the skill and talent to use our imagination to create and solve.

A better artist is creative. But, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative.

We’re creative all the time and don’t realize it.

  • When mom or dad ad-libs lunch for the kids, pulling together something yummy when it seemed there were no ingredients in the fridge.
  • When the radio announces traffic is stopped on our route home and we figure out a route taking the back roads home.
  • When the company Christmas Party invitation had a typo and you added the missing punctuation with a Sharpie – and no one knew the difference.

Each of these examples required use of imagination and experience to apply a creative solution to a problem or challenge…”4

Okay. Now for the reason behind this post.

Creativity is the most crucial factor for future success” says Linda Naiman who is ”founder of Creativity at Work, and recognized internationally for pioneering arts-based learning as a catalyst for developing creativity, innovation, and collaborative leadership in organizations. As an innovation consultant, Linda advises senior leaders and managers on how to develop creativity and innovation in employees, to improve business performance, as well as how to foster an organizational culture”5

The long & short of what she and everybody else who is anybody at all is saying, is that it is going to take a whole new way of doing business to be successful in this increasingly complex world of ours. And creativity is the underpinning of every successful business function imaginable, except maybe financial management. Even successful financial planning requires creativity.

So, where does that leave us?

When we realise what crucial role creativity plays in the success of any business set-up and continued successful operation, the obvious next question(s) to ask would be:

Who says I am creative & how does creativity or the lack of it, impact my business?

© Elmarie Bouwer


As promised last week, we had a brief look at just what creativity is. The next post will attempt to bring you answers to the above questions. Be sure not to miss it!

1. http://www.adventuresincreativity.net/2mag1.html

2. http://www.rousingyourmuse.com/about-me.html

3. http://www.virtualsalt.com/think/

4. http://www.idea-sandbox.com/blog/2011/11/difference-between-artistic-creative-ability/

5. http://www.creativityatwork.com/CWServices/aboutus.html

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14 Responses

  1. Cool info! Waitin’ for a sequel! :)

  2. hid light says:

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    • Admin says:

      Thanks for the kind words. The credit is not mine. It goes to God that gave me the inspiration and ability. Welcome anytime to share your thoughts

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  4. Admin says:

    Hi, thanks!Just scroll down to the bottom of the site and you will find all our other links there.

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