The Post It Note was a creation of Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M who wanted an adhesive that would only stick lightly to surfaces.
A fellow scientist at 3M, Art Fry, was frustrated that the pieces of paper he used to mark music in his hymnal while singing in the church choir would fall to the floor, He needed something that would stick without damaging the pages.
And Voila! Between the two of them we have Post It Notes which became an overnight success. Today 3M makes 50 billion a year.
At 3M, employees, researchers, and scientists are allowed and encouraged to spend up to 15% of their time pursuing new ideas and being creative.
Creativity is something we all have. It’s a spark within us that ignites the talents, interests, and skills we have or want to pursue. The creative things we do are unique to each of us.
My grandmother was a quilter and a gardener. And extremely accomplished at both. She always had a couple of quilts in some stage of completion. She made her own quilt design piece patterns. Rooms in her house were filled with boxes of fabric remnants she got from the local shirt factory. She would cut the small design pieces and then stitch each piece together by hand.
She had a large quilting frame in her house. Every time I visited the first thing she would do is show me what quilt she was working on.
Her yard was a living canvas of color and fragrance from spring to fall. It was nothing like the expanses of green grass we think of as a yard. She had very little grass. She filled nearly everything with flowers and shrubs of all kinds. Colors were everywhere! Her yard was a work of living art.
My dad liked to do small woodworking. I have numerous things he made and gave as gifts each Christmas. My favorite are his hand painted wooden candle holders. The art designs he painted on them are intricate yet perfect. Not stenciled; painted free hand.
Neither of them were people one would immediately think of being called creative. But the number of forms of creative expression are as vast and unique as the number of people.
Like Heidi Hooper who creates art from dryer lint. Her works have been exhibited in museums. I particularly like her lint rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Or Gerry Kulzer from Minnesota and Linda Christenson from California who both make sculptures out of butter. Or J.C. Payne who created the largest ball of twine, at 13 x 41 feet in diameter.
These are the works of creativity by people most of us haven’t heard of. But each is an “artist” in his or her own way.
What are your forms of creativity?
Sometimes I think our society doesn’t put enough importance on creativity. We measure value in productivity instead.
The real value in creativity isn’t necessarily the end result. It’s the drive, the energy, and the satisfaction each of us derives from any creative endeavor we choose.
For me planning and preparing meals is a creative endeavor. But I know lots of people who think of that process as a chore they dread.
For some people their creativity is used to develop original ways to do something or fix something.
Others use their creativity to explore and observe. The results of their creative process are new discoveries they can share.
Too often we think of creativity in only the most obvious ways such as being an artist, designer, inventor, architect, or writer, when the actual root of creativity starts with thinking.
As an artist, for example, the creativity starts with thinking about what to paint or draw; what colors to use, what style or technique will be done with the brushes or tools used. The actual art eventually takes form but the entire process evolves from thinking.
I’ve heard people say they don’t have a creative bone in their body. Not so. We are all creative. But that process manifests itself differently to each of us as. For some it’s rooted intellectually, for others visually, or through music, science, nature, and even through our work. We need to recognize it.
Creativity solves problems. It spurs people to think differently. It unlocks originality. It gets people to develop new products before we know we want them. It’s what motivates people to find new uses and purposes for common objects like the 25 uses for baking soda, or massive ones, like re-purposing buildings that might otherwise be destroyed. Creativity helps us think of time-saving ways of doing tasks.
For each of us the creative things we do are what fill us with a sense of accomplishment and success. There’s pride in the knowledge that we have value to contribute.
When what you do gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, embrace it as the uniquely creative person you are.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”Maya Angelou
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