The Genesis Project Episode Two

Grace and Dr. Stone had just finished a meal of comfort food and were sitting on Grace’s back deck looking out at a pasture on her farm. “This is where my most creative ideas come from”, she began. “Is that normal?”

“Grace, I’m going to frustrate you throughout these conversations. But there’s very little that we call normal about creativity. We don’t even have a commonly accepted definition. Most people think of creative ideas as being original and effective. But we can’t agree on what we mean by original or effective.”

“Is creativity akin to the Supreme Court’s view on pornography: you know it when you see it?” asked Grace.

“Pretty much. But now that we can look inside the brain, some are beginning to think of creativity as less of a product and more of a creative process that unfolds in the brain.”

“Does that imply that we can become creative by training our brains?” asked Grace.

“That’s a hard question to answer”, replied Dr. Stone. “Creativity is a very complex phenomenon. For example, you can’t be creative in a subject area unless you have the expertise in that area. I could never be a creative astronomer because I have no expertise in astronomy. Then you need creative thinking skills. I don’t believe you can be a creative person unless you have acute observation skills. There are other skills, but let’s save those for another discussion. You also need to be motivated to be creative. And that’s what brings your joy in life. A creative person can’t not be creative. It’s who they are as a person.”

“I can’t understand how expertise and creative thinking skills can be developed”, Grace thought out loud. “But I’m not sure of motivation.”

“I’m not either but I think I can help you identify those whose motivation is wrongly directed. I’ve observed that in the people I work with. I call them praise junkies. In my mind seeking praise is not a motivator for creativity. In fact, a lot of the creative people I most admire did so without little encouragement.”

“That’s a dimension of creativity I never considered. Could you give me an example of someone who was creative even though there was no reason to create?”

“Yes, read the story of Bessie Blount. Here’s the link Accepting Innovation – Jack Byrd. It seems that you need to hire a lot of Bessie’s.”

“I know I’ve taken a lot of your time. Could we meet again and discuss the brain’s creative processes?”

“I’d love to, but you will have to feed me again.”

* * *

“Creative isn’t the way I think, it’s the way I like to live.” – Paul Sandip (Industrial Designer)

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