On the Importance of Creativity

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | On Point | @ChiefKMasimba | January 18, 2014

Creativity is an interesting phenomena, at once, intangible yet can have significant visible impact that changes the way we experience life, be it in the arts, sports, business, government etc. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines creativity as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.

As you can imagine new ideas are not always tolerated in many societies. Many people are comfortable with keeping things the way they are. In fact, they are content doing tomorrow what they did today and yesterday.

As a result, creativity is stifled as people opt to stay within the lines. No new ideas are born and only stagnation becomes the norm.  Paradoxically, societies that shun creativity fail to realize that they’re in fact a product of creativity that was allowed to flourish – or that fought to flourish at some point in time.

A society that does not see value in creativity (in pushing the frontiers of creativity) is bound to be a dependent society whose survival is ultimately dependent on imported ideas.

Of course, creativity doesn’t come in a neat package. More likely it comes messy arousing feelings of disgust in some people. Its origins are complex. They’re influenced by societal, emotional and neurological factors. If creative ideas are not nurtured they simply wilt away like corn tassels.

Not all creative ideas have value but that’s not as important as allowing them to flourish in the first place. No one has the mantle to determine which creative idea will be groundbreaking. Ideas must simply be allowed to flourish – and out of the riff-raff of ideation, a golden one will emerge with potential to reshape a given society.

This is what makes creativity so vital: it’s ability to give birth to newness, freshness. It can breathe life into moribund systems. It can infuse new energy into literally every level of life, from family life, relationships, business to government. It is about making great leaps of imagination giving birth to the surprising, original, beautiful and useful. And it can be a painstaking, blood-chilling process. It’s worth the effort because with creativity come new ways to solve age-old problems.

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