A few weeks ago, the S1T2 team went out to dinner, then we bumped into some friends and their friends. After introductions, it’s almost automatic that the starting point of conversation went like.. “What do you do?” And for kicks, we asked them to guess what we did.
After a few glances back and forth at the team, somewhere between the variety of people we have in the team and perhaps the casual dress, they deduced that we were “creatives”.
Creativity is obviously a big thing for us
Which is why we’re starting a creative exercises portion on the S1T2 blog. As I started to write an introduction for it, I thought it was best to give a bit of insight into why we actually engage in these exercises. Hence, I started writing a snippet on creativity then realised it was very singular. So I voiced it out to the team to get a better grip on the picture since we all have very different functions.
Tash Tan (TT) is the Head of Digital, Jananathan Kandasamy (JK) is the Director of Business Development, Eve Burchfield (EB) is a Designer, and Chloe Uy (CU) is the Marketing Manager.
How do you define creativity?
TT: I don't think you can easily define creativity, partly because of what the word implies. It's easy to presume that creativity is only exhibited by artists but when I look across the diverse range of skills we have internally, I know I don't only see creativity in our designers.
My understanding thus stems from the belief that creativity can be witnessed anywhere. As a business though, creativity for us is more about solving problems. Thus for me, the definition lies somewhere between the inventiveness of problem-solving and the elusiveness of imagination and perception.
JK: I always thought creativity was for creative people, and agencies were all about cool ideas, hipsters in cafes etc.. Now I think that's all crap and anyone can be creative in their thinking and their ability to solve problems.
EB: To me, there are two parts to creativity:
Imagining (the romantic aspect) – The part lets your imagination run wild and asks why not, questions why things are, following curiosity and passion.
Creating (the practical aspect) – Putting ideas together and understanding the parameters of where you are creating.
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.
CU: I thought the same thing as TT and JK, there's a notion that creativity only exists in advertising agencies and artists. Being Asian, parents always say that it is not the career route to take since you'll go “hungry” – thus the push for medicine, engineering, and commerce.
That stigma is completely off, creativity is so much more than just being aesthetically pleasing. It's problem solving that involves seeing new possibilities and opportunities from a new perspective.
Why is it so important?
TT: On the simplest level, creativity allows for a better end-product. When I ask a colleague to draw an image, animate an object, or develop an application there are many possible ways to interpret the request.
Unless I set clear parameters then the end-product could be vastly different from what I had in mind, or what another person may do. Yet while there are many potential paths to take, there is usually only one right answer; right is just right, everything else is wrong. Creativity is important for this reason, it helps people get to the right answer.
JK: Everyday we face challenges that cannot be solved in a traditional sense. It could be as rudimentary as some code, set designs that need work around technical restraints. To solve these issues you need think outside the box to resolve them, to me, that's creative thinking.
EB: It asks questions, solves problems, changes thoughts and ideas. It’s in everything we do, it is vital to our progress, but most importantly it’s an addiction that is part of being human.
CU: It’s a lot to do with thinking and exercising your brain, wanting new possibilities, opportunities, and perspectives to arise. And our brains are sharpened to think laterally to accommodate for this.
Creativity can come from anyone and benefit anyone if you’re brave enough to pursue it. The fear of failure is probably the biggest obstacle in its path. Apart from the discipline and practice of exercising your muscle, you have to get over the fear hurdle.
Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
Is creativity limited to certain people?
The way we defined creativity is as an ability to solve problems, not just some romantic flossy thing. Great ideas come from everywhere, but failure and discipline are its biggest obstacles. Being creative is a game changer, and it allows for a better end-product, the right answer.
I’ve found that a creative thought is way too valuable in your life to come from someone else. Because I believe a creative thought is simply the identification of a new advantage from a new possibility.
That’s why we choose to be creative, and it’s why everyone should be creative, and not solely depend on “creatives”.