The other day on Twitter, I accidentally nailed down what I’ve been trying to say on this blog for the past 18 months:
We so easily associate creativity with creative thinking that they are often treated as synonymous. Whereas, in fact, you can do a hell of a lot of creative thinking (brainstorming, lateral thinking, daydreaming etc) without creating anything at all.
On the other hand, if you start with creative doing – i.e. rolling your sleeves up and trying to actually make something amazing, the ‘creative thinking’ bit tends to take care of itself. If you’re hammering away at a prototype in the garage, or the first draft of your novel, or the first iteration of your website, it’s hard not to obsess about it, and keep thinking about it – even when you’re supposed to be relaxing out of working hours.
And as we all know, it’s when you’re in the bath/on the golf course/on the dancefloor at three in the morning, that that brilliant idea is most likely to strike. It’s not the bathing/golfing/clubbing per se that produces the idea – let alone any fancy creative thinking techniques – but the fact that your previous creative doing set the wheels in motion in your unconscious mind.
Creative thinking doesn’t (necessarily) lead to create doing.
Creative doing leads to creative thinking. More importantly, it gets results.