Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 57 seconds
I am wondering is the environment that we are in responsible for our creativity? I am a maker, a creator, a doer. I am an impatient one. I always was. If I want to change something, I go for it. As far as I can think back, as I child I made everything I could dream of myself. DIY was the way to go. I used my room to experiment. Every once in a while I needed a big change. I was bored of my room quite fast. I would just start changing furniture and decoration around. If I wanted to hang a frame I would hammer a nail into the wall. Even though the nail would probably end up being in an inclined position. I was never patient enough to wait until an adult could make it happen. Yes, my mom had to fix it afterward. Was this because I was not thinking about the consequences or was this because I simply gave it a try? I don’t know, but I do miss this straight forward attitude sometimes. Companies need makers and doers in the meaning of crafters but also in the meaning of people who step up and take action. Long and complex processes stop makers from making. What happens if you stop makers from making? You stop their drive. You stop their passion. You stop their curiosity. You stop their creativity.
This short film shows impressive how society or the environment we are in can destroy creativity. At some point, the freedom of childhood ends and real life happens. There are different rules. There are conditions. There is a right and a wrong. And there are people who tell you how to do things because there are a certain process and way to do it. Not everyone fits in this grid and that’s the way it should be. Human beings are not standardised products.
From my own experience, I know that my creativity level does depend on the environment I am in. For example, I cannot get any work done at my student accommodation, I feel like there is no space for my thoughts. I never use my desk at home for working, it is more a storage furniture for me. If I go to a coffee shop where people come and go I get more things done. If I’m in the silent area of the library I have good and bad phases. I change my seat every now and then and as crazy as it sounds it helps. Personally, it is the change of location that keeps my inspiration alive and the decision where to work is an essential one relating to my performance.
When we grow older our environment changes. From kindergarten to school, from the school to university and from universities to a workplace. Robinson (2006)
explains we grow out of creativity. This has a lot to do with our surroundings but also with the rules of society. I believe I lost part of my maker attitude while being in strict environments. My master’s degree MA Communication Design & the Creative Economy (MACE)
at Kingston University London is hands-on. We ask for forgiveness rather than for permission. I wish everyone could experience this kind of creative freedom during their masters. I feel we learn a lot more because we are allowed to make our hands dirty. There is no right or wrong, there is just your way and 100 others ways of doing something. Being aware of what is fuel for my creativity and what blocks it, gave me more trust in my abilities and more control.
So now, it’s time to make something. I currently attend a sculpture class, just for fun and just for the change of the environment. It is so great when everything around you is dusty and you can make your hands dirty.
I am grateful that I now know, which aspects are relevant for me to choose my (work) environment in the future. Companies need makers. Makers need companies that allow them to make.
Robinson, K. (2006). TED Talks. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
(Accessed: 21 April 2017).