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How much of creativity is nature vs. nurture?

by | Dec 5, 2016

In this short film Claire Bridges, Founder, Now Go Create and author In Your Creative Element discusses whether creativity is something people are born with, or if there are external factors which can either develop or destroy it.

Claire says: “Creativity is a complex soup of attitude, skills, belief and experiences. IDEO’s David Kelley says that we get placed into categories of creative ‘haves’ or ‘have-nots’ often at some point in our lives.

It might be at school, at university, or when you get into the workplace. If you work in the creative industries you might well have the word creative in your job title so what does that mean for everybody who doesn’t?

It demonstrates how we can just pigeonhole people into what we think they can and can’t do and often our own a view of our own creative abilities is actually foisted onto us by somebody else. People judge our ideas saying things like ‘that’s a great idea’ or ‘that’s not very creative’ or ‘I don’t like it’ and so we start to believe what other people are telling us.

I think this a lot of this comes from a historical perspective, partly because we are so used to the way that creativity is talked about in relation to the idea of the ‘muse’. Shakespeare talks about them in his sonnets or the Romantic poets like Coleridge and Blake talking about ‘waiting’ for the muse. Prior to that if you read how the Greeks and the Romans talk about creativity (and Elizabeth Gilbert writes brilliantly about this) – creativity was seen as something external that happens to us, not influenced by us. The Romans believed that creativity was visited upon you literally by a kind of sprite or demon. Of course as we sit here in 2016 we know so much more now about the brain, and neuroscientists can study what’s actually going on in real-time when someone is being creative using MRI scanners. Dr Ben Martynogre is a neuroscientist who worked with me to explore this in detail in the book. We know so much more about how is an internal process rather than being an external process and something that we can influence ourselves.”

In Your Creative Element is published by Kogan Page and you can buy it here.

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