May 26, 2020  
 
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Creativity and Barriers to Creativity

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

Creativity and innovation is a critical pair that should be embraced by any business that seeks to be successful in the modern global economy that is not only fast-paced but fiercely competitive. While not all creative entrepreneurial efforts will be a resounding success, sustained attempts at creativity will constantly result in equally creative solutions to a plethora of problems. The successful organization is one that proactively seeks to dissuade any barriers to creativity.

Creativity is, in no uncertain terms, a prerequisite for business survival in the modern day and age.

In this context we are referring to constant relentless creativity attempts as opposed to the generation of single successful creative solutions. Such solutions, however successful in the nascent stages, will hardly suffice to sustain business in the long term. For a long time the creativity school of thought held that people were either creative or not i.e. imaginative and entrepreneurial or logical and rigid. However, this position is fast being replaced with the realization that all and sundry can be taught how to become creative. Efforts should be invested to help people realize that they have an innate creativity that they can tap into.

In as far as barriers to creativity are concerned, the most potent of these are actually self inflicted i.e. the result of people entertaining the thought that they cannot be creative. The list of such barriers to creativity includes mindsets like:

  • The quest to find the single correct answer
  • Always wanting to be logical
  • Following 'the rules' blindly
  • Constantly trying to be practical
  • Dismissing play as being frivolous
  • Tending to become over-specialized
  • The avoidance of ambiguity and doubt
  • The fear that you'll appear foolish
  • The fear of making mistakes and failing
  • A self belief that you are not creative

All these barriers to creativity are conditioned and nurtured by society and the education system and people with such mindsets can be helped out through appropriate training. This training must however be supported by the individual's zeal to become creative.

Creativity is generated when people start questioning what the norm is otherwise. The following are some positions that are known to work towards instilling creativity:

  • The tendency to always seek a new and better way of doing things
  • Challenging the norm i.e. customs, traditions and routines
  • Becoming reflective while in deep thought
  • Trying to see a different perspective of issues by playing mental games
  • Welcoming the realization that there are more 'right' answers than one
  • Regarding failures and mistakes as brief pit-stops on the way to success
  • Trying to relate a problem's unrelated ideas in a bid to fashion a solution

These are indeed some of the things that have been noted of successful entrepreneurs who have emphatically scaled the heights of business.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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