18 January 2011

What is creativity? A Blog Off Post

What is creativity?

This is a 13,000-year-old spear point and it's an example of creativity.

John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

This is a 5,000-year-old, Elamite bronze figurine and it's an example of creativity.

This is a 3,500-year-old Babylonian Cuneiform tablet and it too is creative.

More than 2500 years ago, the Greek mathematician Pythagoras proposed a theorem.

You guessed, it's creative.

This is an example of Roman opus reticulatum and it's around 2,000 years old.

Opus reticulatum was an earthquake-resistant stone construction technique that was creative.

This is 1,200-year-old Chinese paper money, the world's first. It's creative.

This is an 800-year-old Gothic arch from the Cathedral in St. Denis.

It's creative.

This is a 500-year-old Gutenberg bible.

It's creative.

Antonio Stradavari hit his violin-making prime some 300 years ago.

He was a creativity machine.

152 years ago, Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species.

It was and is creative.

106 years ago, Albert Einstein proposed his Theory of Special Relativity and it ushered in the era of modern science.

It was creative.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7034 and established the Works Progress Administration in 1935.

It was creative.

Neil Armstrong took his One Small Step 42 years ago.

It was creative.

A little more than 20 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunited.

The Cold War was over and bringing about its demise was creative.

Ten years ago, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launched Wikipedia from St. Petersburg, FL.

It was creative.

Six months ago, four people solidified something called a Blog Off.

It was creative.

Creativity is problem solving, something human beings are uniquely wired to do. Whether it's forging a bronze plow, walking on the moon, composing a symphony or composing a grocery list. Any time somebody uses his or her critical thinking skills, that person is being creative.


  1. I am glad to see that some other people included items that are outside of the traditional arts on their list of what is creative. I think creativity is all about how you think, not actually what you create.


  2. What? Did my blog just not rise to the level of creativity on par with Gutenberg, Stradavari, Darwin and Wales and Sanger? I see how you humans roll :-)

  3. This is an interesting take on the subject. I do think there is a great deal more creativity going about then people give themselves credit for. And the thing is it does not have to be anywhere near as spectacular as your examples to be creative and fun to do. In the early years I derived enormous satisfaction from nothing more “creative” then simply refinishing a desk!

  4. Great post...it shows that creativity is all about the way you approach tasks, not the end result.

  5. A visual time-line of creativity - very cool!

  6. you know... someone needs to make wallpaper with a cuneiform print.. (yes, random thought, but I'm only having my first coffee of the morning)

  7. Excellent post Paul! I always felt 'creativity' is a process of adapting.

  8. Last thing written on the Berlin Wall was "Last one, switch off the lights." But seriously, where did you find these photos? Amazing!


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