Art and Business. The power to create.. what? The RSA is, almost fundamentally, a place of debate. We debate at lectures with speakers; we debate online with the media; but most of all, we debate amongst ourselves. We debate the morning’s news over breakfast; we debate project and report details at lunch; we debate existentialist dilemmas and the meaning of life over late-night drinks; and the cycle begins anew. But lately we’ve been debating even more than usual, because the topic of discussion has not been about this or that, but about us and what we stand for.
A consensus on a new agenda is (slowly) building around the idea of ‘the power to create’: the idea that “all should have the freedom and capacity to turn their ideas into reality”. It’s a concept that embodies two of our core principles: Where debate has broken out, it has typically concerned the lack of stipulation of which ideas we want to help people turn into reality. ‘This kind of creativity!’ Comments. Creativity in education, a debate in the South West. South West Fellows recently organised a debate in Plymouth focused on creativity in education, particularly in a time of austerity. It links into the plethora of blogs coming out of the RSA around creativity, lead by Adam Lent’s blog Why is creativity the most important political concept of the 21st Century?. The debate was organised by Fellows in partnership with Fotonow, who create new opportunities in photography and facilitate socially motivated projects exploring visual culture across the South West of England.
The turnout of about 50 Fellows and interested others, in the week before Christmas during a howling gale, showed what an important debate question this was, and many in the audience participated with questions and comments to make it a vibrant discussion event, based around taking ideas forward. (c) Fotonow Some of the key points made by the panel are listed below, fuller transcript can be viewed here What kind of creativity depends on affluence? Comments. Creativity in community projects. Last night I braved the mountain that is the Angel underground escalator (and somewhat of a personal nemesis) to head on to the City University’s ‘Interdisciplinary Centre for Creativity in Professional Practice’ seminar on creative catalysts. Their speaker was an Icelandic artist/architect by the name of Illugi Eysteinsson and his energetic presentation and style of communication made it much more of a two-way conversation than that of the traditional passive observer vs presenter.
But what I wanted to share was some of the key ideas that Illugi proposed about approaches to managing creative community projects gleaned from his 17 years of working in community arts settings. Illugi advocated four considered steps: 1. ‘a piecemeal approach’ that is to say slowly, slowly, softly, softly. Build confidences, test abilities, find out what people are capable of and start to lead and coax the group. 2. 3. 4. Comments. Bitcoin tells you everything you need to know about the human ‘power to create’ Here at the RSA, we’re getting very interested in what we call the ‘Power to Create’: the notion that by unleashing the desire of billions to turn their own, unique ideas into reality, we’ll all end up richer, solve some of our biggest problems and feel a lot more fulfilled along the way. It occurred to me today that the fascinating saga of Bitcoin tells you a lot about the idea and, in particular, why the Power to Create notion can be so exciting, dangerous and bemusing simultaneously.
So here’s a rapid fire tour of the idea by way of Bitcoin. 1. Great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. By any measure, Bitcoin is an astonishing achievement. To create a new global currency that is engaging increasing numbers across the world every day is a mind-bogglingly original and, so far, effective idea. 2. Much public debate these days is what philosophers call “consequentialist”. 3. 4.
Everyone loves creativity, right? 5. 6. 7. We need a creativity revolution: four ideas to stir it up. How do you transform a nation into the most creative place on earth? Or for that matter how do you transform a region, city or town? In short, how do you unlock a creativity revolution? As any reader of this blog site over the last week will have realised, the idea of unleashing creativity is becoming central to the RSA’s sense of its own mission, so this question is close to our heart right now.
Given how important creativity is to our personal, social and economic well-being (see my last post), it should, I think, be close to everyone’s heart. So here are my suggestions for the elements of a creativity revolution. 1. As I’ve written elsewhere something fascinating is happening amongst the so-called millennial generation. But this is not enterprise as presented on programmes like The Apprentice; it is driven by mission rather than money. This zeitgeist needs to spread more generally to the whole population. 2.
This is hardly surprising. 3. 4. Why is creativity the most important political concept of the 21st Century? There is no concept more politically important today than creativity. I’ll give four reasons why but first a definition. ‘Creative’ has narrow, broader and even broader connotations in English. It’s the last of these we should be most interested in. The narrow meaning immediately leads one to think of activities directly associated with the arts. The broader sense encompasses those activities associated with what Richard Florida calls the ‘creative class’. This includes the arts but also involves activities such as architecture, design, advertising, video game development etc. Finally there is the broadest meaning which implies an act that is unique to an individual’s own capacities or vision.
So how can such a broad notion be so important? 1. I’m with the great economist Deirdre McCloskey who argues that people living in the advanced capitalist economies are the freest and happiest populations who ever lived. No less a thinker than the Grandpa of capitalist democracy, J.S. 2. 3. 4. Can you have too much creativity? Adam Lent’s rallying cry for creativity met with strong tacit approval from the echo-chamber, and rightly so. What’s not to like? Creativity is a feel-good concept, tapping into to the value of human freedom, with pleasant undertones of productivity, individuality, and style. No sane person would therefore come out against creativity consciously and explicitly, which is why Adam suggests many vested interests in big business and government are clearly anti-creative in practice, but won’t admit to it in those terms. But what if the fact that creativity is inherently unobjectionable poses a deeper problem for the RSA’s emerging world view?
Creativity is hollow and needs filling out: I am reminded of Voltaire’s famous reply to the complaint that “Life is hard” – “Compared to what?”. To make sense of this claim, consider the related point that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing(chocolate, wine, holidays…). Most forms of growth have natural limits. Relationships Comments. Creativity: the stuff of freedom. Adam Lent, head of the Action & Research Centre here at the RSA, recently wrote about the crucial role of creativity for the 21st century. Of his four arguments, I want to elaborate on the first—on creativity as the realisation of freedom. Paraphrasing John Stuart Mill, Adam wrote that “taking the great historical gift of freedom in order to remain passive, ineffectual and conventional” is “horribly wasteful.” Among the values of this focus on creativity is its reminder of the responsibilities that freedom and self-governance place on us.
“A deeper happiness has got to come from using our freedom to be creators as well as consumers”, Adam wrote. I contend that this applies not just to economic and cultural activity, but to freedom itself. This past December, UK audiences were spared one of those cookie-cutter free-speech ‘controversies’ that played out in the US. People often seem to mistake ‘the right to free speech’ for ‘the right to have a TV show’. But that’s the easy critique. Creative solutions to climate change.
When it comes to climate change, creativity is not optional. To retain a resilient and livable planet, we need to do things differently, better, and quickly. In light of our competing commitments to energy security and fuel prices, that means rethinking our ends, our means, and our conception of ourselves. Despite my reservations about Adam’s attack on the political class and my concern about creativity being hollow, I have enjoyed thinking about what it might mean to link our new agenda on climate change with our emerging worldview.
A broader conceptual discussion about creativity is needed, but for now, with creativity understood as self-directed, pro-active and innovative activity, here are some thoughts on what ‘the power to create’ might mean for attempts to tackle climate change. Writ large, our current approach to climate change is passive rather than creative. 1) Frame the power to create as a solution to stealth denial What might that mean more tangibly? Comments. Could a ‘creativity paradigm’ reshape businesses, consumers and make us greener? Carlota Perez has long been one of my favourite economists; not least because she is so disillusioned with the state of mainstream economics that she refuses to call herself an ‘economist’. Unlike most of her colleagues, she predicted the 2008 Crash not through some complex modelling but by studying that most unfashionable of subjects – economic history.
Perez’s analysis is complex but at its heart is the notion that economic change is driven by the emergence of new ways of doing business that have their origin in technological breakthroughs that offer major productivity gains. However, these shifts are about far more than a company balance sheet or a new piece of kit. They are part of a much wider shift of organisational culture across many spheres of human activity. For this reason she calls these disruptive practices ‘techno-economic paradigms’. Which raises the question of what exactly is this new paradigm that should now be growing in intensity and spread? Comments. 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently. This list has been expanded into the new book, “Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind,” by Carolyn Gregoire and Scott Barry Kaufman.
Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process. Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. They daydream.
According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. They observe everything.