Creativity is not so much knowledge as it is improvisation

Knowledge is what we’ve experienced, it allows us to survive and grow and see beyond what’s real and possible into what’s not through imagination.

When it comes to creativity, it’s easy to lean on your default mode of thinking, on knowledge.

But relying on knowledge to think creatively is like trying to run through a field backwards. You might get to where you’re going, but you also might not.

No, to think creatively we cannot rely solely on linear knowledge, we have to instead focus on improvisation.

Improv, if you weren’t aware, means to be unprepared. Improvisation is about generating ideas by “making-do.” It means adapting, or building from unusual components.

We see this all the time: toddlers don’t have much knowledge but they can improvise solutions to problems them encounter. Crows are another great example of improvisation’s ability to empower us despite limited knowledge. Stage actors use improvisation to keep their comedy going, no matter what situation or circumstance arises.

In our own work we must rely on using improvisation over knowledge if we’re to do be creative.

That means using what we have to do what we can right now.

If you don’t know where to start, start anywhere. If you feel stuck, ask someone to help you out. If you’re tired, take a short break. If you don’t how how to do it, try doing what you can. If it’s important enough, you’ll make time for it.

Creativity takes no excuses and improvisation reminds us that it’s up to us to adapt and build and do what we can with what we have. Anything else simply isn’t creativity.

If you want help improvising, I wrote an activity book that can help you do just that, it’s called: The Creativity Challenge.