Beware the Post-it Man: What Creativity Isn’t

I can’t be the only person that groans at the sight of brightly coloured Post-it notes, flip charts and coloured pencils. I have nothing against any of these items on their own, (in fact coloured pencils are particularly invaluable for my illustrations). Yet when wheedled by someone who’s last creative oeuvre came into being circa 1980 at the age of 10 (as if these tools suddenly made them innovative) it is a little annoying.

Nevertheless, let’s give credit where it is due; those sporting in the Post-its have at least understood the perceived importance of creativity in today’s common-or-garden firms, albeit in a way which often largely bolsters their personal image in the firm, rather than necessarily adding value to the business. Similar to initial attempts at CSR in the late 90’s, it seems that sometimes creativity is something it is good to be seen to be doing, even if in reality there is little going on behind the scenes. To mix metaphors, the band wagon must be jumped on but it mustn’t rock the company too much.

Perhaps in the future, all the non Apple’s and Google’s among us will move towards a more creative approach, as many have moved towards a more socially responsible one (or at very least have shifted this area out of their PR departments – a good start). It would be nice to see those who are actually creating (with or without the Post-its) get some cool business brownie points for it.

To fight the corner a little for the Post-its, flip charts and coloured pencils. I am happy to admit that within one meter of where I am now I have all of them. Sadly, I’m not creating art like this or this,  but the option is there for all. I also believe that anything that gets adults a step closer to explaining their ideas graphically, as they would have done as kids (whether they can technically draw or not) is a step in the right direction.

But let us beware the “Post-It Man” (and woman) like the Jabberwock, because he/she is a similarly convincing monster based on a nonsensical  logic, whose style you can appreciate but who’s value add is limited.

Knowing what creativity isn’t should help save us some time (and some stationary), it will also slowly bring us closer to what it is. Journalist and writer, Bruce Nussbaum seems to have some ideas on this, so I’ll see what he has to say in has book Creative Intelligence and get back to you.

About Katie Annice Carr

Creativity, Communication and Leadership facilitator, coach and consultant.

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