A few weeks ago, I attended The Creative Expo at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. It was a business show specially geared towards the creative industries, and I found it an excellent event, although it could have done with being better attended.
At the same time, it was mainly (though not entirely) focused on what would traditionally be thought of as “creative” sectors: artists, designers, musicians, theatre, even one or two writers. Not entirely. There was also input from a few marketing companies, for instance, but it left me wondering about how creativity should be defined.
I wear two hats. Actually, I’ve worn lots of hats over the course of my life, both literally and figuratively, and some of the literal ones have been fairly silly. Two figurative ones at the moment, though. In one, I write blogs, newsletters, webpages and other content according to the client’s specifications. In the other, I write fiction purely out of my own imagination.
Many people would regard the second as being more creative than the first, but to me they’re equally creative, and I use much the same toolkit for both. My copywriting calls on me to weave narratives that will engage readers and draw them in, just as much as my fiction does. The narrative may be a thrilling adventure or advice on insurance, but the story and the creativity are much the same for both.
Creativity is a much more slippery and amorphous critter than it’s sometimes assumed to be. People all around you are being creative every day, and it’s certainly everywhere in business. Anyone’s who’s used their vision and imagination to build a business, or to contribute in building it, can certainly be called creative. It doesn’t matter whether you design websites or you’re in construction: you’re a creative person. Even accountants can be creative — though they tend not to advertise that.
So next time you think of “creative industries” as something out there, something that doesn’t involve you, stop and think about what your business really is. It’s not just “what you do”. It’s something you’ve brought into being, perhaps from nothing, perhaps from existing raw material, but most of all from the imagination, application and determination which is your personal toolkit. And that’s creativity.