The Myths of Creativity - Busting Three More!

Alive With Ideas
Alive With Ideas
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We’re on a mission to help demystify the processes that drive creativity.

Because really, wouldn’t we all benefit from being a little more creative in our work and play?  

We’ve previously explored the work of David Burkus, author of ‘The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas’ and all round top creative chap. We discussed three of his 10 creativity myths – The Eureka Myth, The Expert Myth and The Cohesive Myth – all well and truly debunked by Burkus, whose research supports that with proper training, anyone with an ounce of common sense and a desire to be creative can deliver innovative new ideas. We don’t need to be crazy scientist types or signed up to the bonkers bunch… 


However, it seems that many remain hindered by ‘creativity blockers’, hardly surprising when we each have so many priorities competing for first place. We wanted to help simplify things a little and knock three more offenders off the list of creativity cloggers to encourage more innovative strategies and processes in the work that we do.

What makes one person more creative than the next? And how can we demystify the heavily shrouded process of creativity?


Here goes!

The Originality Myth

The longstanding myth about intellectual property and the concept that a creative idea is owned by the person who originally thought of it. We tend to believe that when we have a good idea we alone are responsible for it and that the idea is unique. In fact, history shows us that new ideas are actually the natural evolution or combination of existing thoughts and observations. Apple is a great example. Steve Jobs was famously quoted, “Picasso had a saying - 'good artists copy, great artists steal' - and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

The bottom line is that every idea is made up of smaller ideas and every ‘original’ idea took its inspiration from somewhere or someone.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t be afraid to learn from others and don’t be offended when others learn from you. Allow yourself to be inspired by successes! Build on existing ideas to help shape your own and don’t feel the need to constantly reinvent the wheel. Nobody has time for that. 

The Lone Creator Myth

Building on The Originality Myth, we might accept that outside influences offer inspiration, but we tend to view the act of creation as a lonely endeavour. We have a tendency to attribute breakthrough ideas and creative works to a sole person, disregarding the support network that inevitably existed around them. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t feel the need to slave away at an idea in a dark and lonely corner. Collaboration cracks us open! Take a look at the networks around you. Enlist the support of others and use the power of teamwork to get creative!  

The Constraints Myth

It’s a commonly held belief that constraints hinder our creativity and the most innovative results come when resources like time and money are unlimited. In actual fact, creativity thrives under constraints. When we’re stuck on a creative challenge, it can be easy to place blame on our limitations when actually they are helping to provide structure and perspective.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Embrace limitations. Try a new approach - intentionally apply limits like deadlines or budget restraints to leverage your creative potential. 

So many of these creativity myths are actually pure poppycock and they can have a damaging effect on our confidence and our capabilities.

Try to think a little differently next time you’re presented with a challenge that requires a creative approach. Spend time understanding and nurturing the components of creativity in your own environment - reconsider your own myths of creativity. 

About Alive With Ideas

Alan Oram

For over 20 years I’ve been creatively harnessing unique ideas and turning them into powerful campaigns, communicating stories inside and out, for organisations large and small. 

Thinking deeply, shocking occasionally, laughing frequently and delighting consistently. 
Specialities: Creative Thinking, Corporate Branding, Digital Marketing, Internal Communications, Employee Engagement.


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