A Definition of Creativity

Jun 17, 2020 · Brittani S Avery


When someone calls another "creative," what specific skills come to mind? For a lot of people, creativity is first and foremost aligned with the traditional visual arts such as drawing and sculpting. Others think of performing arts like singing and dancing before anything else. While visual and performing arts are indeed creativity, they are but a small beginning. Creativity is "the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas" or "the use of the imagination or original ideas." One's imagination is only limited by oneself. An experience from my software development career clearly demonstrates this.

I was interviewing with different teams at one of my jobs early in my career. Around the middle of one of these interviews, my potential teammates asked me why I enjoyed programming or something to that effect. I explained that I enjoyed the creative process of coding, using different techniques and styles to solve problems. I loved seeing each developer's unique coding style, like a sort of signature. The interviewers laughed at my answer and moved onto their next question without any acknowledgement.

That team seemed to only view coding as a means to an end rather than the creative work it is. Their imagination was limited to the fact that imagination is required in the making of websites, programming languages, software applications, databases, etc. They all started out with an idea. After all, creativity is "the use of the imagination" and "the ability to produce original or unusual ideas."

Every activity has the potential to be creative. Find the more unusual or non-traditional forms of creativity. Explore them further, either with others or by yourself. If you do or have already done so, let me know! I would love to hear about it. Until next time.

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