I’ve heard a lot of business owners tell me that they’re not creative, they can’t work Photoshop or they have no idea how to design their business cards. But this is very narrow definition of creativity and if you look at the decisions you make every day as a business owner you begin to realise that you are creative in ways you maybe didn’t realise.
Creativity isn’t just about designing great web sites or thinking up great products. It’s about making decisions and through that building an idea into an action or a physical thing. You are ‘creating’ that thing through the choices you make.
Perhaps you don’t think you know much about design, so you hire a graphics artist to design your business cards. Most people would think that this was handing over the creative roll to someone else. But how did you find that designer? Who’s advice did you take and why? Which designer or company did you choose and what were the aspects of it that resonated with your own business? When the designer came to you and asked what kind of design you wanted what did you say, did you want a corporate look? An informal humorous feel? A quirky alternative design? These are all creative decisions and just because you didn’t control the mouse it doesn’t mean you didn’t take part in the creation.
Another thing to remember is that there are two components to creativity and one of them is often forgotten. People think they have to come up with a great idea first time. The truth is that artist rarely manage to do that. The creative process is one of trial and error, even with experience.
Over the years I’ve written a lot of music – it’s a hobby I like to do and occasionally I put some together as a collection and share it with friends. I have literally hundreds of parts of songs on my computer, little loops and phrases and experiments, all mostly incomplete. Some are good, some are not so good. Some sound good to start with and then later I wonder what I liked about them. But when I come to put a collection together I go through all of the bits and develop the good ones into full tracks.
This is the part of creativity that gets over looked, at that stage I’m not creating so much as ‘selecting’ even if it’s from my own library of work. In fact a lot of creative output is just selecting. Choosing one colour over another, one tool over another, one freelancer over another. And if you look at it that way you start to realise that you are creative – the task becomes about using your taste to define what you are making rather than your software skills or manual dexterity. Your taste is something that you’ve developed over your whole life, it’s inherent, so use it.