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Creativity and The NonProfit Organization: An Equal Opportunity Personality Trait

By Annie Kile

Creativity is our best resource when it comes to inspiring the innovative ideas, approaches, products, and services that grow strong, successful nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses.

The problem is that people tend to think that creativity is one of those “have or don’t have” traits. Creative people write the Great American Novel, paint masterpieces, conduct symphony orchestras, design beautiful buildings. Creative people are geniuses able to come up with solutions to complex problems such as figuring out what gravity is or those who create fantastical inventions that profoundly change the world.

You might think you’re just not the creative type – but we’ve got news for you:

If you’re human – you’re creative.

Remember having to run the 50 yard dash in grade school? Most likely all of your classmates had the ability to run. It is equally likely that many – even most – of your classmates ran faster than you. That experience may have caused you to think “I can’t run” – but, of course you actually could run. You just came to think of it as something you weren’t good at – and we tend not to pursue things we don’t think we’re very good at.

But most of us could train ourselves to run a 5 or 10K race – even a marathon. We might start off pretty darn slow – but, after awhile, we’d get better at it.

Just as you can train to run, or train to become an accountant, or train to learn how to type, or train to learn how to drive – you can train to release your creativity.

While some people tend to think of themselves as “not a creative type”, others have a tendency to compartmentalize their creativity. For example, you might be very creative when it comes to landscaping your yard. You visualized, researched, planned, and planted a front yard that is both envied and enjoyed by your neighbors (who, by the way think you are exceptionally creative.)

Now, you might think of yourself as fairly creative in the garden, but don’t see yourself as a creative problem solver or innovator at work. However, those “creativity skills” you use in the garden are equally available to you at work.

If your still have trouble thinking of yourself as “creative”, try taking a few minutes and think about things you enjoy doing “just for fun.” Visualize yourself engaging in these activities and you will find plenty of evidence demonstrating your creativity skills – and these skills are transferable.

29 WaysWhat inspired this post is coming across this great little video “29 Ways to Stay Creative.” The video doesn’t contain any earth shattering techniques to unleash your creativity. Instead, the video provides simple things we can do every day to improve not only our ability to think creatively – but increase our faith in our ability to be creative as well.

Strengthening our belief that we are capable of approaching challenges and opportunities creatively increases the likelihood of developing the innovative ideas, approaches, products, and services that grow strong, successful nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses.

Not to mention the joy living creatively brings into every facet of our lives.
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