What is creativity, and why should I care?


Apple co‒founder and CEO Steve Jobs once stated that “Creativity is just connecting things.”

Wikipedia defines creativity as “the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new that has some kind of value.”

But what is creativity really, if not simply connecting things and coming up with new ideas to provide value? Why even care about creativity at all? German historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr described the meaning of creativity and it’s importance in one small sentence. Barthold said: “It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.”

Did you catch that? Creating is the true essence of life.

Think of everything in your life that you use regularly – the coffee maker, chairs, books, computers, phones, paper and pencils, cars – and suddenly you realize that all of these things, all of these tools and resources were created as a direct result of creativity.

Somebody was tired of scribbling down notes using a feather and ink so they created a new tool, cleaner and more efficient, using their creativity. Everything you use or love, even the food you eat, was created through combining ideas. Somebody used their creativity to change the world and now you and I are living with the results. At one point there was something that needed to be done and an individual (or a group of people) were able to get it done with a bit of creative thinking.

So, what is creativity? It’s the ability to change the world through new thoughts and ideas. Why does creativity matter? Simply because it allows us to change the world we live in.

What are you going to do today to build up your creativity, to fuel new ideas, and to change the world? Anything you do is a good start.

Illustration by the amazing HikingArtist.