Start the year ingeniously and get inspired during International Creativity Month

Learn from visionaries what it means to be creative during International Creativity Month this January.

When was the last time you did something truly creative? Along with January being the start of the New Year, this month has also been named International Creativity Month. A whole month has been dedicated to celebrating creative thinkers who have changed the world. This month can also serve as motivation to instill more creativity into your daily life.

Why is it important to try to be more creative?

New technologies in artificial intelligence, robotics and digital technologies are changing the way we work, the skills needed and the employment outlook in many industries. Creativity will be one of the top three skills needed by workers in 2020 according to a recent World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, just below complex problem-solving and critical thinking. Developing your creativity now could assist you in landing a job in your future.

Alarmingly, research published in the "Creativity Research Journal" also shows we are experiencing a creativity crisis. Using a large sample of 272,599 kindergarten through 12th grade students and adults, Kyung Hee Kim from the College of William and Mary found that “creative thinking scores remained static or decreased, starting at sixth grade. Results also indicated that since 1990, while IQ scores have risen, creative thinking scores have significantly decreased. The decrease in creativity for kindergartners through third graders was the most significant.”

What does it mean to be creative?

According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Heath, “Creativity is the ability to think up and design new inventions, produce works of art, solve problems in new ways, or develop an idea based on an original, novel or unconventional approach.” Dictionary definitions, however, only provide a brief and surface definition of what it means to be creative.

Creativity has been the starting point for numerous innovators and entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and Larry Page. Much can be learned from some well-known visionaries as they share their views on what it means to be creative.

  • “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” Pablo Picasso.
  •  Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein.
  • “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” – Albert Einstein.
  • "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." – Thomas Edison.
  • “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we are curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney.
  •  “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” – Erich Fromm.
  • “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou.

All these quotes present a unique message that provides insights on how to increase your creativity. Unlike what was previously thought, creativity is a skill and can be increased with practice. Celebrate International Creativity Month by making an effort to explore your curiosity and let your imagination go wild.

Michigan State University Extension entrepreneurship and 4-H youth development programs provide numerous opportunities to get creative by joining a club, volunteering, participating in a workshop or attending Exploration Days.

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