Craig Davis
Jan 25, 2016

Creativity comes from space

Techniques, tips and processes won't help you if you are constantly distracted by your own commotion.

Craig Davis
Craig Davis

For many years I believed that creativity was a process that you could learn. I was an enthusiastic student of creative techniques, tips, tricks, models and processes and would happily teach them in my travels to agency folks and clients alike.  

My views and practices around creativity have changed radically since then. It’s not that there are not valuable creative techniques to be learned. It’s more that they are wasted on the unconscious, unaware and unthinking state we are in most of the time.  

How can we marshal our full creative facilities when we are so poor at marshalling our attention in the first place? Dr Jeremy Hunter wrote recently that training our attention is so necessary when so much is done in the mindless, automated and non-conscious nature of human perceiving, thinking, feeling and acting.

But frankly, our starting point for creativity is often even more compromised than that. We are overruled and overwhelmed by our emotions that we struggle to be authentic and show up to meetings and brainstormings as our true selves. 

There’s an old Zen story about a rider on a horse going past an old man standing by the side of the road. The old man asks the rider, “Where are you going?” The rider replies, “I have no idea, ask the horse.” We are carried around unconsciously by our emotions all the time.

I was in my 40s when I finally realised that I had not been paying attention and had instead been constantly distracted by my thoughts and feelings.  

Just imagine if you could make a little space away from all that commotion. Learning to develop that space through calmness and clarity of mind is the most important creative lesson of all.

Craig Davis is the founder of Brandkarma and the former CCO of Publicis Mojo, Saatchi & Saatchi Asia and JWT Worldwide. He is on the board of Conscious Capitalism and blogs at craigdavisnow.com 

 

Related Articles

Just Published

1 day ago

Behind Spotify's new Southeast Asia campaign

EXCLUSIVE: Campaign talks to Jan-Paul Jeffrey, Spotify’s head of marketing, on the streamer's latest regional campaign for Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines.

1 day ago

Tech MVP 2022: Sunil Naryani, Dentsu

MOST VALUABLE PROFESSIONAL: Chief product officer Sunil Naryani has been instrumental in elevating the product offerings from Dentsu and driving radical collaborations across market product leaders.

1 day ago

Why purposeful creativity is more important than ...

Why do we still rush to come up with a once-in-a-lifetime brilliant stroke of genius that had zero impact on anyone’s life or business, and then proudly stand on a stage receiving accolades for our achievements? MediaMonks' APAC ECD ponders this question and more.

1 day ago

Here's Google's plan to to help advertisers manage ...

David Temkin, senior director of product management, ads privacy and user trust at Google, who is leading the charge on preserving ad targeting and measurement while tracking restrictions loom, discusses these shifts.