Meet four industry experts. They uncover their ‘Creative Superpowers’ in a collection of essays designed to inspire and unlock innovative talents in the new age of creativity.
To mark the launch of their new book – its launch supported by Google – we ask the curators to share their experiences of creativity from working in the digital space and how you can acquire these special powers.
“Human creativity in all its glorious messiness is the one thing robots and AI cannot truly replicate. Nothing happens without making. The imperfections of the human creative process deliver innovation and progression and force lateral thought – and this is the difference between ‘making’ and ‘doing’.
“The idea of the lone creative genius is something of a myth - real innovative leaps come from bouncing off one another, having time to ‘play’ and starting a project with a loose process that allows room for improvisation. This kind of flexibility and nimbleness is familiar to those who work in digital and tech, where the idea of an iterative approach is baked in to prototyping by companies like Google.
“An example in the book of not being straitjacketed by process and allowing creativity to flow among a team comes from Morihiro Harano, the creator of the I Won’t Let You Down music video for band OK Go. The ideas and concepts for the video were developed in a very fluid way. The resulting video has ratcheted up more than 38.5 million views on YouTube - it’s a great platform for democratising creativity, a place where everyone can explore, immerse themselves and share ideas.”
“Our notions about creativity that stress the creativity of individuals having ideas on their own or with the help of a muse or divine inspiration or similar - creating ideas out of thin air if you like - are wrong. Almost everything is based on stuff that’s gone before - on the work and the brains and the skills of others. Almost all innovation is dependent on other people’s stuff - why not accept, embrace it and put it to work?”
“In my section I have contributions from designers and architects who all speak about how they find inspiration from what has come before and why it is important to acknowledge that creative ideas don’t appear fully formed from nowhere in the mind of a creative person.”
“There has never been a greater opportunity to find knowledge and insight. We now have more choices and tools to navigate the world and we can use other people’s brains to outsource the cognitive load. YouTube is one of the great repositories of the modern era, you can see everything from an interview with the first woman in space to discussions on early Roman Britain, it allows us to access human cultural history. It’s a place that creatives can go to steal and be inspired.”
“Hacking is the ability to break down big problems into more easily manageable challenges that can be addressed – particularly in a collaborative way. For those in the creative industries it’s vital that problems should be tackled with the clients in the room.
“Everyone has creativity within them. I am a qualified chartered accountant, I know I am good at numbers and I’m creative with a small ‘c’. We need to get people to understand the hidden talents they have within them rather than putting them in a box. Companies like Google are helping to lead the charge in supporting diverse ways of thinking, whether it's internally or for instance via YouTube which has opening up the ability to create and be creative to the world. Hackers get very excited about solving problems and start thinking immediately when presented with a task, so on daily basis we can take responsibility for change.
“To kickstart problem-solving in my teaching workshops I often ask, “What would Google do?” and hold the company up as a proponent of smart thinking, where its every innovation, product and service is relevant to the end user.”
“I take my cue from the Alvin Toffler quote ‘The illiterate of the twenty-first century won’t be those who can’t read or write. But those who can’t learn, unlearn and relearn’.
“The onus now lies with us to become our own teachers – the tools, resources and networks exist for people to constantly update their skills and knowledge. Google Search allows people to learn more, whether they are a creative googling for ideas or a consumer looking to learn more or buy a product. Whilst YouTube, with its ‘How To’ videos and the access it brings to resources like TED talks, allows people to keep learning and evolving.
“We should not think all the skills we have will carry us through our entire career to the very end, in fact some will be quite useless, but the superpower is to recognise which things are not helping us and to make a constant effort to unlearn and relearn new skills that are more useful and help us be more creative.”
Creative Superpowers is out now.