A team of researchers designed a creativity test and gave it to a group of 45-year-olds. Less than 5% of this group were judged to be creative according to the test. The researchers tested other ages: 40, 35, 30, 25 and 20-year-olds. The 5% finding was essentially constant for all these groups. At 17 years old the percentage of creative individuals increased to 10%. They also tested five-year-olds and the creativity score rose to over 90%. The research team concluded that most people are highly creative at the age of five.
This doesn’t mean that people in their mature years are not creative. Other research shows that creativity can be increased through training and rewiring your brain to look for opportunities. Everyone has creativity but it can lie dormant if it is not nurtured and used.
People in creative fields such as painting, script writing, film directing, fiction writing and architecture can practice their craft way into their 90s. In these pursuits people have learnt to work with their creativity and use it to produce art that pleases them as well as a buying public. Business people, no matter their age, have learned to tap into their creative side and come up with smart phone apps, complex business deals, new investment vehicles and products and services.
Why does creativity matter?
For the start-up or small business owner creative capital is important because it let’s you see opportunities and shows you many ways to use your existing, even minimal, resources to the fullest. Here are a few more reasons:
– more options or solutions to a challenge or difficulty
– respond more effectively to a competitive challenge
– gives you a greater sense of control and mastery over your business
– new ideas can lead to increased levels of income
How do you become more creative?
You can’t run a 5 km fun run without any training. Running takes practice, day in and day out. As you use your muscles, you become better at running and can run further. The same applies with creativity. Many tools and techniques are available to help you increase your creativity but it requires taking little steps.
Here is a brief list of things you could do right now to increase your creative quotient:
– Be relaxed and playful. Learn to change your mood with small steps. You can’t be depressed or angry and feel creative at the same time. Take little steps to change your state such as a brief walk or doing something you like.
– Use idea generating questions. “What if” questions prod you into using different parts of your brain. You may ask yourself: What if I created more value for my customers and could save them money?
– Pay attention to what you hear and observe. Listen to complaints. A customer complaint might the the spark for a new idea. A whole lipstick business was built on someone listening to complaints.
– Go somewhere you haven’t been before for a weekend.
– Invite someone in another field for lunch or for chat over coffee. It’s interesting how many new ideas come from unrelated fields.
Know the difference between creativity and innovation. Creativity involves bringing into existence an idea that is new. Innovation is the practical application of creative ideas.
If you want more ways to better use the innate talent that you were born with subscribe to Idea Accelerator and develop your set of skills that can be used in your business and personal life.