The art and business of turning your ideas into gold

Maria Brito is an award-winning contemporary art consultant and curator. She has written for publications such as Huffington Post, Sheand Forbesand his projects have been presented in the New York Timesthe the wall street journaland vogueamong others.

Below, Maria shares 5 key insights from her new book, How Creativity Rules the World: The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold. Listen to the audio version – read by Maria herself – in the Next Big Idea app.

1. Creativity is your most valuable skill to develop.

Every breakthrough, in every industry, comes from people who have used their creativity to think differently. Developing your unique ability to express your ideas while generating value for customers, the public or the people you serve will take you far.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, artist or employee, your creativity helps transform the mundane into the extraordinary. This is the most crucial skill to have on your path to success. Creative people come up with relevant and innovative solutions for today’s world.

For many years, LinkedIn has been scanning the information shared by approximately 800 million professionals, looking for the most in-demand skills in relation to its offer. The number one skill in demand turns out to be creativity. During the pandemic, the World Economic Forum called creativity “the only skill that will secure your future in the job market”. Interestingly, Adobe also surveyed 5,000 adults in the US, UK, Germany, France, and Japan, which showed that only one in four people believed they were living up to their creative potential, and four in ten said they did not. have the tools or have access to the tools they need to become creative.

This creativity gap between what industries, businesses and societies are asking for and what people think they can provide is just plain wrong. Everyone is and can be creative, and the tools aren’t hard to find or expensive. In fact, they already belong to each of us.

2. Creativity is innate.

In 1968, an Arizona scientist, Dr. George Land, along with his partner and wife, Dr. Beth Jarman, conducted a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children, ages three to five, who were enrolled in a Head Start program. They developed the original creativity test at the request of NASA, which wanted to select the most innovative engineers and scientists and assign them to their toughest problems.

“The path back to our five-year-old selves is to respect and nurture our fertile imaginations, the ideas that seem silly and wacky, and allow them to come to the surface and become concrete creations.”

The test involved examining a problem and coming up with new, different and innovative ideas. 98% of five-year-olds achieved the highest level of creativity. Land and Jarman retested the same children at age ten and then at age fifteen. The results were quite different; only 30% of ten-year-olds and only 12% of fifteen-year-olds reached the highest level of creativity. When they gave the same test to 280,000 adults whose average age was 30, only 2% scored highly creative.

The findings of these studies were and continue to be staggering. According to Land, the problem stemmed from educational systems that push children towards what think rather than How? ‘Or’ What to think. Land proved that creativity is a normal part of every human being, and that it gets suppressed as we learn more “indisputable” rules, facts and theories, as well as standardized tests that insist on a single correct answer for each question. Based on Land’s findings, the path back to our five-year-old selves is to respect and nurture our fertile imaginations, the ideas that seem silly and wacky, and allow them to come to the surface and become creations. concrete.

3. Creativity is for everyone.

There is a myth that perpetuates the idea that creativity is only for artists, or that it only belongs to geniuses who come to this Earth once in a blue moon. It hurts us as a society because it puts creativity in the hands of only a handful of people. Everyone is capable of coming up with great ideas that can be materialized to positively serve a group of people.

Creativity is the use of known or old information and ideas to produce something relevant and new. It’s your unique ability to come up with valuable ideas, and it applies to everything Industries. Neither is creativity a single thing; it is an amalgamation of habits and states of mind nourished by will and purpose. Creativity is what allows artists and entrepreneurs to move, shake, invent, disrupt and transition as often as necessary to meet the challenges of our convoluted world, where change is the only constant.

People tend to think that the creative process is different for artists and for business people, but science has proven that the creative process for people in fields as far apart as math, engineering, and the arts is the same. After examining 2,277 university students in Germany, researchers from Maastricht University and the University of South Australia concluded that creative thinking does not differ much across fields and disciplines. other. While it’s true that CEOs, programmers, and artists create different kinds of work with different intentions and outcomes, the skills and attitudes they use to get there are very similar.

“While it’s true that CEOs, programmers, and artists create different kinds of work with varying intentions and outcomes, the skills and attitudes they use to get there are very similar.”

I was once a miserable corporate lawyer working at a large law firm in New York, confined by restrictive rules and environment. After much soul-searching, I left that high-paying, stable job to start my own business in a totally independent industry with no connections, no clients, no prior training, and no formal education in the art field. If I hadn’t learned to develop my own creativity, I wouldn’t have come to this. It has been thirteen years of immense joy, entrepreneurial effort and hard work, but above all my ability to generate thousands of ideas and relentlessly pursue and execute the most original ones.

4. Creativity is fueled by crisis.

Creativity and crisis are linked. The greatest human developments, major industrial advances, greatest inventions, and most important artistic movements happened after great crises. The Italian Renaissance followed the Black Death in the late 1300s. The Bauhaus, modernism, surrealism and art deco movements emerged in the 1920s after the Spanish flu ravaged the world and the devastation of World War I swept is being felt around the world.

We wouldn’t have a Picasso Guernica, painted in 1937, had it not been for the Spanish Civil War. The Great Depression brought Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” between 1933 and 1939, and with it the creation of several agencies that engaged artists in public art projects all over the United States. The era of “content creators”, the spread of digital images and videos, driven by the social media revolution, came after the economic collapse of 2008. When we find ourselves with limited resources, faced with conditions difficult or need to figure out how to respond to difficulty, creativity thrives.

In 1959, in the midst of the Cold War, the United States began to take seriously the ideas of “creativity” and “free-thinking” to differentiate itself from the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. Between the 1950s and 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency used Abstract Expressionism as a weapon of the Cold War. By funding Abstract Expressionism, the United States would show the world that this new movement was the quintessential expression of creativity, intellectual freedom, and cultural power. Russian art, muffled and communist, didn’t stand a chance next to the exuberance, energy and dynamism of its American counterpart.

“It’s a common sentiment among the greatest thinkers and creators in history: creativity takes work, but more importantly, it takes action.”

Science has even proven the link between creativity and crisis. Marie Forgeard, an American psychologist, conducted the first empirical study (on 373 participants) proving that there are increased levels of creativity in people who have faced crises and adversity. Forgeard calls these peaks of creativity resulting from severe challenges “post-traumatic growth.” That doesn’t mean adversity is necessary for creativity – you don’t have to suffer to be creative. But if you find yourself in the middle of a crisis, know that it can be a catalyst for progress and originality.

5. Creativity requires action.

You must take the time to understand that creativity is a series of actions that produce the desired results. The key word is “action” – creativity eludes those who sit and wait for it to come. Your ability to respond quickly to change and come up with new and realistic ideas will determine your survival and long-term success in any endeavor. And I believe everyone is an alchemist who can turn ideas into gold.

We can look at Picasso’s life and learn from him. It is no coincidence that he still holds the top spot, certified by Guinness World Records, as the most prolific visual artist in history: 13,500 paintings and drawings; 100,000 prints and engravings; 34,000 book illustrations; and 300 sculptures and ceramics. What was his secret? He worked every day, obsessively, and pursued the solitary goal of his art to the exclusion of virtually everything else.

Picasso’s friend, Brassaï, asked him: “Where do you get so many ideas from? Picasso replied: “Ideas are only starting points. . . As soon as I begin to work, others spring up in my enclosure. To know what you are going to draw, you have to start drawing. Picasso, one of the greatest geniuses in history, painted one and sometimes two canvases a day and told his friend, in his own words, that creativity is a “doing”. It’s a common sentiment among the greatest thinkers and creators in history: creativity takes work, but more importantly, it takes action.

To listen to the audio version read by author Maria Brito, download the Next Big Idea app today:

Hear key information in the next big idea app

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