Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing

Alfred Portale Creation Courtesy of New York Insider

Creativity. What is it? And, why is it important? What is the spark that makes one person become a giraffe and stand head and shoulders above all the others?

We tend to think creative people are great artists and musicians like Picasso and Mozart, not those who build things like Alfred Portale’s awe inspiring food pyramids.

When we come to praise famous men, we might have forgotten their names, but not their creations.

Are not Jell-O, SpaghettiOs and Oreos of equal importance to the invention of the tuxedo, Trivial Pursuit and tea bag infusers?

Tea Bag Infuser

A creative genius is one who doesn’t stop with salt and pepper, but marches on to discover the delights of salt and caramel and sea salt brownies.

A creative person challenges conventional wisdom, though, admittedly, this is very risky business. Through the ages those who challenged established beliefs were persecuted.

Mao Tse-tung controlled the world’s most populous country. After years of suppressing all new ideas, he seemed to do an about face in a new program he called, “Let a thousand ideas bloom.” He encouraged opinions to be voiced by the people. Those, who spoke up, were promptly imprisoned or executed.

This cynical approach can be compared with employees, who are encouraged to express their ideas but their suggestions are customarily ignored, and those, who dare to make them and are routinely demoted or terminated. They are viewed as trouble-makers.

We all see things differently: three people walk past a tree. The first is a gardener. He knows the botanical name of the tree. The second person is a poet. He writes a sonnet to the tree. The third one is a logger. He cuts down the tree.

Hard times bring about interesting solutions. It was during an economic slump in 1997 that a group of restaurateurs got together and came up with the concept of the $19.97 prix-fixe lunch. The idea caught fire, and continues to attract new business.

There are architects who build buildings, and artisans who paint them. There are those, who invent clocks while others are capable only of telling the time. There are those, who know the difference between an idea — and a big idea.

It is said: “The organizations that survive are not the ones with the deepest pockets, but with the ones who use their workforce to become nimble.  Statistical evidence reveals the climate for creativity in organizations is directly attributed to the behavior of the leader.”

A creative person sees a problem and recognizes it as an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done before. Often the inventor is described as a crackpot or a visionary, which is perceived by some to be more or less the same thing. Their idea is orphaned until it works, and suddenly it has a thousand fathers. (Remind me again, who invented the Internet?)

Creative food served with warm hospitality results in the sweet smell of success.