What is creativity?

According to world-renown design strategist Andy Rutledge, creativity is: “…never having to say you’re sorry. Yes, just like love. In fact, like love, we must never judge or ridicule creativity. Creativity is precious; it is our birthright and a glowing light that resides within each one of us, making us special and unique… Well, not really.”

The truth is that creativity is based completely on judgement and ridicule. All creative work is judged by those who use/view it. So if creativity is not like love - if creativity is not our birthright (according to Mr. Rutledge) - then what is it?

“Creativity is technical and analytical, not expressive (as in self-expression). It is a filter through which perception and output pass, not a receptor or an infusion (as in the case of inspiration).” Says Rutledge, “Creativity is an inborn capacity for thinking differently than most, seeing differently, and making connections and perceiving relationships others miss. But most importantly, [creativity] is the ability to then extrapolate contextually useful ways of employing that data: to create something that meets a specific challenge.”

Simply put: creativity is a tool to solve problems.

From the wheel to the space-shuttle, creative people have been solving problems for mankind for literally all time. But if that’s the case, doesn’t that mean that creativity is partially our birthright? If creativity has solved problems since the dawn of man, does that mean creativity is a part of our genetic makeup? According to Rutledge, it’s not.

Mr. Rutledge proclaims that “…by this definition, creativity is merely a tool; it does not convey skill. For a dedicated few, though, this inborn capacity is then further augmented by certain disciplines.”

If you want to read more about Andy Rutledge’s idea of what creativity is, head over to his article on creativity and try to figure out if you’ve been seeing creativity for what it really is: a tool to solve problems.