BY ERIN CORSTIAANS
We’re all about ‘C’ words here at Cork & Chroma. Nice ‘C’ words, that is, like coffee. We love coffee! We love connecting over candid conversations. We love collaborating—with each other (probably why we have such strong team camaraderie) and other companies and individuals. We curate content that celebrates a comprehensive range of curiosities, and we customise our offering to consider different needs. Even little Sunny, Hillary and BJ’s daughter, is in on the ‘C’ business; whenever she visits the studio her face lights up as soon as she sees the ‘colours!’.
‘C’ words like coffee and curiosity and connection are all great words on their own. But when you smoosh them together, like colours on a palette, you get a new, more complex colour—a new, more complex word, which underpins all that we do:
There’s a lot of hype around the word creativity right now. According to LinkedIn, creativity is ‘the single-most important skill in the world for all business professionals today to master’ (Petrone 2019), as it enhances our ability to solve problems in original ways. LinkedIn suggests that when most people think of creativity, they think of artists, writers, and painters, but that creativity doesn’t necessarily mean artistry. ‘Yes, an artist could be creative, but so could a software engineer, a mathematician, a salesperson or a CEO.’ (Petrone 2019)
Furthermore, the World Economic Forum considers creativity to be ‘one of the most important and in-demand skills in the next 5 years’ (Skillicorn 2016). They suggest that by 2020 creativity will be the third-most important work skill—after complex problem solving and critical thinking, which are both intrinsically linked to creativity—as it helps workplaces navigate unexpected challenges and therefore survive and grow.
So, we know that creativity is growing in value and importance, and that we need it in both our personal and professional lives. But what exactly IS creativity, and how can we access it? I’ve asked some of the Cork & Chroma team to help me demystify creativity and develop a collective understanding of what this elusive term really means.
What is creativity?
Can it be a thought that’s come to me,
Or only my art for the world to see?
Must it be a brand new invention type thing,
Or can it be my morning shower sing?
What it is or isn’t in the end matters not,
Create, create, create… just create a lot.
I don’t always feel like a creative person, and as a person working in the art field I feel a lot of pressure to flaunt creativity. But for me, creativity doesn’t express itself in a physical form. When I paint, it’s concentration and calmness, but the way my creativity truly shines is when I’m talking with friends, making jokes, being brave and speaking my mind. My creative energy is fuelled by interaction with people that love me and encourage me to fearlessly be myself. Which in turn gives me the confidence and groundedness to pursue any project my heart desires!
Creativity to me is something that was pretty foreign to me and I’m still learning so much about all the different ways you can explore creativity. I am getting to know that it has no boundaries or judgment. It gives me a feeling of being free and I know this is just the beginning of my creative journey!
Sometimes I confuse creativity with geniosity.
I think it is quite simple though, creativity is breathing life into something that did not exist before, making something with your hands, with your brain.
A thought, a cup of tea, a baby, a piece of music, a to-do list, a knitted hat…
Creativity is fun.
Creativity is what makes the world go round.
To me, creativity is the combination of your life (ideas, emotions, experiences), everything that has been for you. Everything that has shaped how you think and act and see the world. It’s that, combined with what you are making of the present moment, and everything that is yet to be.
I asked Sienna, who is 7, this question last night and she said: “Creating things makes me happy. And it makes me feel funny too.” I asked her what she meant by funny and she said:
It’s the ability to create things or solve problems by being able to imagine and put together unrelated things or things that you cannot see… or haven’t been put together before to create a unique expression or interpretation. Unique to the moment, situation and experience or problem.
Creativity means to me trying something different—usually a new hobby like crocheting or trying to learn the ukulele. It’s not just about art or being crafty but also thinking of creative solutions to overcome a problem too!
“It’s like I’m communing with the divine.”
I heard that somewhere once and I thought, that’s it! When I’m in that state of flow and it’s so easy, I feel like I’m tethered to something greater. I’m tapped in and it (painting, usually) Must happen. I’m exactly where I need to be.
There is a lightness. It feels really good.
I think creativity is a way of expressing our inner magic. Whether your magic and ways of expressing it is through rainbows, art, maths equations, writing, etc – it’s what brings you joy and what you create is joy in return.
Simply put, creativity is my emotional drain pipe to let out all of my clogged up, jumbled emotions. It’s the one thing I can do to take a break from pressure, yet also the thing that can put immense pressure on me to do better, in the most scary and exciting way! My creativity is all the words that I can’t seem to articulate, translated into a big blobby chaotic mess. It’s always important to me – whether its ‘pretty’ enough or not – because it’s MY mess. My creativity is something I’m learning to have more patience with, because no matter how hard I want it to burst out of me every second, I need to understand that it cannot be forced. Creativity is like a weird confusing partner, except you were born with them by your side and they follow you everywhere, whispering cool new ideas for things to MAKE – even when you really just want them to shut up so you can enjoy some quiet, bland time. But in the end you still love them and wouldn’t want to be without them. Creativity is a pretty cool sidekick, I’d say.
Simply put, to me creativity is magic ✴
And when I’m creating I’m discovering a life more magical.
From this collection of responses we can ascertain one thing: creativity means something different to everyone! It’s a shower song, a pipe-cleaner butt, a knitted hat. It’s communing with the divine, it’s our inner magic, our emotional drainpipe, it’s everything that is yet to be. And all of it—big and small, silly and serious, is creativity.
Russel Howcroft says it best: ‘I believe there are a number of elements to creativity. There’s the small ‘c’ – the creativity we are all capable of. A brilliant spaghetti sauce; the new vegetable garden; the speech you make. Then there is the professional ‘C’ – the work many people do that is creative by its nature in order to earn a living. And the ‘Big C’ – the out-of-the-box piece of brilliance that few people achieve. I believe the problem many of us have is that we compare ourselves to the ‘Big C’ and declare, “I am not creative.” The truth is, we all are.’
Creativity is a broad umbrella term, and I believe it needs to be this way in order to fit all of our creative pursuits beneath it. But how big is the umbrella, and how far does it stretch? Can’t be certain. How long is a piece of string?
Petrone, Paul. 2019. ‘Why Creativity is the Most Important Skill in the World’. https://learning.linkedin.com/blog/top-skills/why-creativity-is-the-most-important-skill-in-the-world. Accessed 17 September 2019.
Skillicorn, Nick. 2016. ‘Leaders agree: Creativity will be 3rd most important work skill by 2020’. https://www.ideatovalue.com/inno/nickskillicorn/2016/09/leaders-agree-creativity-will-3rd-important-work-skill-2020/. Accessed 17 September 2019.