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The Forum > Article Comments > Creativity - appropriated by business and sold back to us > Comments

Creativity - appropriated by business and sold back to us : Comments

By Malcolm King, published 23/3/2007

It's time we asked some hard questions from people who propound creative solutions. What do they really, really mean?

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Conflict resolution is a creative paradigm. It involves using key strategies that help build stronger, more cohesive culturally safe social organization, built on inclusively driven, productive relationships, throughout society.

We need to learn to use our nations diverse knowledge to embrace a genuinely engaging people approach.

We need to learn to problem solve.

We need to check better the interests of all parties, so we learn to deal with these interests through openness and transparency.

Listening with empathy is our key national challenge. We need to discuss, inform and clarify more our assertiveness by also listening better.

We need a cultural map that draws focus to the opportunities we each have. Spell out the options that would help resolve our social and national conflicts… with a will to resolve.

In Australia we have become a nation of bullies, the doctors of spin down-under.

Our culture vilifies and victimises those whose power balance does not have access to administrations at government or community levels. Be it at economic or social levels. Be it through health or before the law.

Yes, I am saying we alienate those who may think differently.

I believe the ”key flash” here, is to understand the value of conflict resolution.

We need to be able to trust the people we are dealing with and that could help us over come our co-dependence to rely on gangs or factionalised bully mentalities.

Government is a two way communication process. To each assert this value alone would be a creative, innovative revolutionary step.

Posted by miacat, Friday, 23 March 2007 11:20:44 PM
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I am in full agreement with the idea that we need more creativity in this nation and with the general trend of the article.

But to "study the mutability" of creativity would, I feel, be as pointless an excercise as trying to teach it. Both are, I consider, self-defeating.

I have always found it amusing that creative writing is offered as a taught subject: if there is a system or curriculum to teach such writing or thinking then the product is a learned or acquired skill: which is the direct antithesis, surely, of creative or imaginative skill?

I take issue with the idea too that "all" human beings are creative animals: yes, there exist some in the species who are genuinely creative...but this means only that we are a species wherein exists, in some, the ability to be creative - not that this is an ability found throught the species. Creativity is a product of the imagination and although in many of us imagination can indeed be stimulated, in many it cannot. While even some extremely imaginative people are incapable of genuine creativity.

The very essence of creative thought is individualism and once we try to study and categorise this essence it, like any essence or vapour, simply dissolves.

I agree wholeheartedly therefore with the author's cry for more acceptance of individualism; a climate wherein imagination is a valued commodity and creativity is allowed expression. Sadly, in a country where idiosyncratic behaviour was once hailed as a national attribute, all deviations from a rapidly narrowing norm are attracting ever more visible - and sanctioned - intolerance.

And Miacat - I followed your link and admire what you are doing. I think your open door policies - in fact all that you are striving to achieve, are wonderful. However, I consider that the term "creative paradigms" is, by definition, an oxymoron.
Posted by Romany, Saturday, 24 March 2007 12:30:55 AM
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Thanks Romany and Miacat for your comments.

I wrote this article because I had been flicking through job tenders (I run a media business) and coming from a teaching background, I was surprised how liberally organisations use the word 'creative' as a catch all phrase to denote almost anything they wanted.

I don't totally agree with Miacat's take on conflict resolution and the creative paradigm but I can see how conflict resolution certainly involves social interaction and being involved with high order complexity. I tend to think this pursuit has really been captured by HR where as creativity has been captured by 'everything'.

The problem with my article was that I failed to define creativity (there are so many definitions) as I would have had to go in to the psychological, sociological, business, perspectives and I didn't want to write an essay.

Romany is right in so far as there was a political motive behind my piece and it is individualistic rather than communitarian.

I was alarmed that many businesses - and I include unis as businesses - treat creativity as an 'end product' rather than a complex process of thoughts, histories, potentialities, actions, etc.

I used creative writing schools as an example but it really goes wider than that. It's impossible to teach creativity because we don't really know what creativity is. It's as hard to pin down as mercury, yet we can put a market price on an object which has high 'creative values'.

It's unusual that governments and organisations use terms such as 'knowledge economy' and 'creative nation' yet they can't define from first principles what creative is. I think that it's not only a philosophical question but one that goes to the core of psychology.

Malcolm aka Cheryl
Posted by Cheryl, Saturday, 24 March 2007 4:42:09 PM
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ah, The "creative" phenomenon is a symptom of the "New Economy" or the "Service Economy", where nothing of actual value is actually really created and where bullsh ite walks. We invent new and wonderful creative services to sell to each other, the only problem is they aren't really worth anything. We do however sell it "creatively". Which is why in general we have an enormous debt in the middle of a resources export boom. We in essence borrowing money to buy services off each other in the larger picture(and in some cases overinflated goods like housing)

We have a generation of marketers,consultants etc (Apparently Creative stuff). The only problem is, they don't actually do anything. Which is also why we have an enormous skills shortage, even though we have 1 million unemployed people. We have run out of people who actually do something, or what I believe simply stopped training enough of them.

We have many,many inventions and developments sitting at universities waiting for businesses to invest in them and use them. Manufacturing, Advanced Medical Equipment etc. The reason is lack of investment by private industry. When you have a economy where the Service Industry is a primary focus & the linchpin of the "New Economy", don't expect much investment in actual technology that maybe of use. The Service sector generally don't do much R&D or investment.

I particularly hate reading PR rubbish coming out from Companies. What the hell does "Synergetically" actually mean? What does "We are for the people" mean? What does we "Embrace Diversity" actually mean? I can't believe people get paid to write this rubbish. It is however the perfect monument to this age. The Age of Creative bullsh ite.

We need to get away from this creative bullshi tery, and get back to inventing things and building things with tangible value that we can export. We need focus more on hard science,engineering and manufacturing. That's where true creativity is.
Posted by Bobalot, Saturday, 24 March 2007 10:22:54 PM
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Bobalot, you've hit the nail on the head. Thanks.

In the last few years I've rewritten two humanities degrees which had an accent on the 'creative industries'. I had to redraft them everytime and remove the vocational aspects as they were considered too expensive or not within the 'market demographic'.

I don't pine for more tariffs but clearly we need to inject more money in to research and development in manufacturing for a start. I know all of the arguments about the quantification of information and how it has real capital value - but it's rubbish. It only has capital value if (a) there's a demand and (b) people can understand what you're selling.

There's no doubt that multimedia, faster computing power, the web, etc, etc, has changed the way we do business, but we still operate in a market. People have to sell 'stuff'. and whether we like it or not, that stuff is generally hard material.

People say in an off-hand way, 'we're turning in to a service sector economy so we won't need line production anymore.' Utter, utter rubbish - and dangerous thinking too.

Universities sell information to students (ignoring the cultural benefits here) but in the humanities, they are being groomed for positions in marketing, advertising, PR and HR. These are all services. They do not actually make anything, and I don't dismiss their importance, but they are adjuncts to the market.

What I do have problems with is the appropriation of the term 'creativity', especially by HR managers and university programs directors, when they are actually far removed from any creative pursuit at all. They treat creativity as one part of a cog which is thrown in to a machine and we'll produce 'creative people'. Rubbish.

Can I have $40,000 of HECS creativity please? Spare me.

Creativity is a mantra used by people who can't define creativity and can't explain what they do or make to people who are becoming suspicious of anything branded (!) 'creative'.

Posted by Cheryl, Sunday, 25 March 2007 12:05:59 PM
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Listening, hearing and feeling out creativity is key. I think the idea I wanted to make most was about the value of true listening.

I feel our creativity is about being individuals and about the ways we share that experience. Creativity is about building on the individual and our shared creative ideas, with others.

Can I say this is how creativity grows, inspires and becomes valuable as a commodity?

For example if we consider a point I got out of John Carey's article recently;

" The same part of your brain that allows you to enjoy a painting is also the place that processes, humour, joy, sex and, believe it or not: meditation and prayer!"

For me IF we say this it true – Then IT is tremendous – Why?

It means creativity comes from the same place as does our intelligence. So ALL the gurus were right?

I believe creativity connects us to each other through our inter-relations, in the ways we communicate, and the ways we capitalise on the values that makes this engagement transparent.

I.e.: For me a strong independent team that individually respects and acknowledges the creative ideas of others is bound to succeed over a team that is based on co-dependence, conformity, or straight jacket bias and denials.

Thank You Romany and Cheryl. I value your feedback - wholesale - TA
Posted by miacat, Sunday, 25 March 2007 12:13:40 PM
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