These days, we are obsessed with the concept of creativity. Persons who are labeled as “creative” are valued highly, while people without that label are just average.
But where does creativity come from? Is it a genetic attribute? Is it a learned skill? Research suggests that we all are born with more than enough inherent creativity. It also suggests that our education tends to dampen our creative instincts. Sir Ken Robinson has a lot so say about this in his book “The element”.
In other words, we can be trained to be less creative. Conversely, we can become more crea5tive if we understand where our creativity comes from. So where does it come from?
One thing is clear. Creativity arises from doing. Not the other way around. If you paint every day, for example, your painting will become more creative the more you do. Sitting there waiting for inspiration to paint will not generate creativity.
Another thing is also clear. Creativity arises in certain types of social settings. There is a social dimension to it. And that social dimension often has an element of conflict in it. So John Lennon and Paul McCartney collaborated at a high creative level. That did not mean that they approached writing music the same way – they did not. In fact, one would often write a response song to a creative effort from the other. There was a certain creative tension that “upped their games”.
So it is not surprising that research shows conflict situations can make people more creative. Or put another way, achieving harmony will not necessarily produce genius.