Paul Domenet: how modern creativity became the procrastinator’s refuge

If you had a drink every time someone mentioned the word ‘creativity’ during Cannes week, you’d be dead by Tuesday. For all the buzzwords that are dropped at that festival, creativity has to be the most over-used one – and this year is no different. As usual there are loads of seminars and workshops exploring creativity in the line up, from a Google talk entitled “Still I Rise: Discovering Depths of Creativity In The Unexpected’ to media agency PHD’s session ‘Creativity on the Couch: What Psychoanalysis Can Tell Us.’

Can there really be more to say about creativity? I’d be surprised if there is any creativity left in the world after all the probing, dissecting and analysis it gets from our industry. The word itself has been turned into a nauseating platitude. I still retch a little when I think of the slogan the Cannes Lions organisers chose to market the festival in 2016: ‘Thank You Creativity.’

There was a time in the not too distant past when no one really talked about creativity. They just got on with doing it. Picasso didn’t go to lecture halls and wang on for hours about the creative process. Likewise, in the past, business people didn’t label themselves disruptors or innovators, they just upturned industries or invented new ones without the same fuss or fanfare. Now almost every entrepreneur either calls themselves a disruptor or aspires to be one; often before they’ve even come up with a business plan. The internet of course has democratised everything – we’re all creatives now and we can all run our own businesses and be our own brands. And arguably that is a good thing. But if everyone is a creative or a disruptor or an innovator, then those terms become a bit meaningless, don’t they?

Let’s talk about the end results of creativity more and the notion of creativity less. Let’s make the same amount of fuss over the tools we use, like data and analytics, which help us to do great things if we want to. Pondering where creativity comes from could put you off ever sitting down with a blank piece of paper or giving yourself a challenge to come up with something new. It is the procrastinator’s refuge. Let’s get some of the mystery back and shut up about creativity.

Paul Domenet is creative communications director of free the birds.

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