Before embarking upon the labyrinthine paragraphs that will inevitably arise in a blog about Creativity (with a capital “C”!), I'd like to work on beginning to develop a personal definition of the word itself. “Why is that?” you may ask. “What's the point!?”
Well, I'll tell you. The purpose of finding a personal definition, as any philosopher will let you know, hinges on the assumption that a good argument (therefore a good discussion) begins with a proper definition of terms. Thus, in order to talk properly about Creativity, one has to think about what Creativity actually means.
And, yet. All pretentious, philosophical notions aside, my desire to define Creativity mainly arises from a mandatory class assignment to develop a personal definition of Creativity. Lame? Maybe. Necessary? Definitely.
Like any good English Major, I begin my search for a definition in the veritable Holy Book of Logophiles, the Oxford English Dictionary. Of course, the entry is startlingly simple:
Creativity, n. - The faculty of being creative; ability or power to create.
Why is it that dictionaries always seem to define the noun with the adjective derived from the noun?
Now, at first glance, “the ability or power to create” doesn't seem much more complex than the definition for “Productivity” or “Productiveness.”
Productiveness, n. - The quality of being productive; capacity to produce; abundance or richness of output; fertility, fruitfulness, productivity.
But, many of us will likely agree that “Productivity” and “Creativity,” while related and very much intertwined, are not the same thing at all. So, what is the difference? What is the nuance? When does production become creation? After sitting down to a good, Pooh-Bear-Think as well as picking the brains of some of the smartest people I know, I finally settled on a few key factors I think are essential to defining Creativity:
Thought provoking quality
Originality and uniqueness (to a certain degree)
Risk-taking quality (possibility of failure)
Does not necessarily end in a tangible “product”
Of course, a list of bullet points doesn't exactly constitute a concrete definition, but we're in the embryonic stages here, people. This is one sticky subject. So far, I am of the opinion that Creativity is slightly more about the idea of the thing rather than the tangibility of the thing. But, then again...
Help a girl out! What's your definition of Creativity?
"creativity, n.". OED Online. June 2011. Oxford University Press. 21 August 2011
"productiveness, n.". OED Online. June 2011. Oxford University Press. 21 August 2011