Hegarty on Creativity
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Hegarty on Creativity

There are No Rules

John Hegarty

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eBook - ePub

Hegarty on Creativity

There are No Rules

John Hegarty

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About This Book

We're all creative, but only some of us will be lucky enough to earn our living by it. Creativity isn't an occupation. It's a preoccupation. It invents, perfects and defines our world. It explains and entertains us. But what drives creativity? Inspires it? Sustains it? Written and delightfully illustrated by one of the leaders in creative thinking, 'Hegarty on Creativity' is insightful, stimulating, amusing and radical. This is one of the few books that can change your life.

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Information

Year
2014
ISBN
9780500771921
Ideas
Every day we have ideas. They are the most profound of products that we as humans generate.
Big ones, silly ones, funny ones – the irreverent to the groundbreaking. Ideas are the driving force of human progress. From the discovery of the wheel to the internal combustion engine, for better or worse ideas are mankind’s contribution to our planet’s development. Some are good and sadly some are bad. Like peanut butter. Disgusting stuff.
And, of course, ideas are the building blocks of creativity. Whatever you create, from writing to filmmaking to painting to composing, you start with an idea. Without one, you have nothing.
An idea can be defined as ‘a thought or plan formed by mental effort.’ I particularly like that phrase ‘mental effort.’ It implies you’ve done something of substance. And that’s what interests me: ideas of substance. Not whether you should go for pizza tonight as opposed to sushi. As ideas go, coming up with an answer to that might resolve the immediate question but it isn’t exactly going to get you headlines around the world. And surely that’s what we want to do. We’re after
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ideas.
It’s important to add that having ideas is the most democratic of all the activities that we undertake. You don’t need special permission or a certificate to come up with a good idea. This can be done anywhere, at any time, without any special equipment or prior practice. It can be done sitting down, standing up, or lying down. Indeed, often the right idea will come to you when you’re not even thinking. That’s how brilliant we are at generating ideas, whatever our race, creed, color, gender, or age. Ideas are always there for you, waiting for you to think them up.
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And if your idea is profound enough, it could change the course of history.
Not bad, is it?
So let’s remember to celebrate our freedom and ability to conjure ideas from nowhere. Just make sure you share them with the world.
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OK, let’s get it out of the way.
There is no such thing as originality
‘Original’ is one of the most inflammatory words a creative person can use to describe a creative work – ‘fake,’ of course, being the other. It’s also one of the most meaningless words in the creative lexicon. By definition, nothing can be truly original.
It is said that God was the last originator and the rest of us are just copyists. And the truth is that everything we create is based on something that’s gone before. It has to be. Nothing happens in a vacuum, least of all creativity and ideas.
Ideas borrow, blend, subvert, develop, and bounce off other ideas.
So it’s an arrogance to say your idea is original. In fact, the value of an idea is in how it draws its inspiration from the world around us and then reinterprets it in a way we haven’t seen before.
Being different and daring is important, but original?
No.
Now blatantly stealing someone else’s idea is wrong. But thinking that your idea is original is also wrong. Your idea only exists in relation to another idea. We all stand on each other’s shoulders and in doing so hopefully see further.
A cynic would say that originality is dependent on the obscurity of your sources. But as you’ll learn on page 51, I don’t like cynics.
So rather than original I use a much better word:
FRESH
Creativity has to question, explain, and inspire our view of the world, so when reaching for freshness ask yourself these questions:
Does this piece of creative work stop you? Would you notice it straight away? It’s not for nothing that we say no one ever bought anything while they were asleep.
Does this work make you look at an issue in a different way? Does it awaken your interest in the subject, leading you to reassess your opinion of it?
Has the work and its process of creation made you understand the world in a different, more moving, inspiring, or thoughtful way? Does it move you to action?
These questions will take you to the heart of the matter. Getting to the point when you can answer yes to all of them is the difficult bit.
Fearlessness
A researcher at our advertising agency once asked me a seemingly simple yet very complex question:
What does it take to be creative?
I replied that we are all creative and that’s what makes humans so interesting: We all come up with ideas. Question answered.
Or so I thought, unt...

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