Creativity is not fluffy

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now. Many a conversation has been had where the ideas of fellow practitioners of human-centred design have been referred to as ‘fluffy’. There is a pervasive behaviour in business that devalues topics such as creativity, human feelings or innovative concepts by using this term.

In business there is a penchant for valuing that which is tangible and measurable, and I’d be a hypocrite if I devalued this aspect. I do think however, the imaginative, creative, softer side of business needs a bit of break, and a bit of a platform.

Because our value systems are geared towards financial reward, success and social stature, we tend to focus on things that bring those rewards to us directly. And those rewards will come to us if we deliver to what society values, reinforcing values we already have… and around we go again.

There is an assumption that creativity is grounded in fantasy and non-pragmatic expectations of reality. As if having non-pragmatic expectations of reality is actually a bad thing.

We must reimagine the realities we create for ourselves and those around us, for humanity in general.

The more difficult truth I think is that creativity is actually grounded in reality. And with this admission comes a great responsibility. Those of us who believe in the power of creativity and imagination as a kick arse discipline to tackle the world’s most challenging problems have a duty to ensure that we do so. We must reimagine what is possible for us on this planet, grounded in the very realities we experience today, not some naive optimistic fantasy we’ve dreamed up out of context.

The best realities worth creating are those that are informed by a well observed world and self. A creative reality that is particular, focussed and specifically imagined. It is this flavour of reality that can be manifested and experienced by others. This type of creativity is on the opposite end of fluffy, it is brutally honest, it is courageous and most of the time, it points to a deep truth.

The truth that our current pragmatic reality is not a prosperous long game. That together we need to reimagine what prosperity means on this planet.