Why are non-creative people fundamental to generate the best ideas?

Pedro Alegria
4 min readFeb 6, 2019
Photo by Yoann Siloine on Unsplash

Firstly, the “I’m-not-creative” type of person, is essentially a type of person we love.

With more than 250 co-creation sessions across 15 countries, with participants from around 25 nationalities, for organizations that range from health to fast consumer goods, public organisations, NGOs, tech companies and financial institutions, among others, we’ve led creative processes with a wide range of profiles in the room.

Working with such wide range of people has taught us the true value of profiles’ heterogeneity.

And the ones who lack creative confidence are of great help in closing the loop of very fruitful creative processes, because they’re great at unveiling challenges that need a solution.

Challenges & solutions

On the other side of any challenge there will always be a solution. Even if not a desirable one.

The conflict between challenges and solutions is in fact very much responsible for the success of co-creation, it’s just like the conflict between the left and right side of the brain; on the one side we’ve those who are great at framing a problem which may lead to generating very strong insights, and opposite to them there are those who can’t stand still and just helplessly need to shoot dozens of ideas per minute. It’s in this intersection where the magic happens.

To think that creativity, and moreover, creative efficiency (because good ideas are the ones that solve problems) is only defined by ideas, is fundamentally wrong.

The creative process — not only in co-creation — is far more comprehensive and one may say it starts when identifying the problem, because the way it may be unveiled and framed under the light of a specific context can — and should — be considered as of a creative exercise as it is coming up with the idea to solve it. Ideas don’t arise out of nothing.

Throughout our experience, we’ve witnessed great insights coming from unexpected sources. As for instance from the Head of Compliance of a given organisation. Who would’ve bet on that? Probably no one. Not even herself.

And that was not an isolated case.

The moment of shift: “Maybe, creativity is not exactly just what I thought”

Those who work in creative industries understand the value of good insights, and by the way, a clear briefing to start with.

In addition to that, personally, I also understand the value of creativity across every industry, department and job role. In society at large. I know I’m not alone, and don’t even claim any ownership on this understanding. I just live by it.

But it does seem that for most people coming from more traditional industries and organisations, there’s an inclination to attribute creativity to specific industries, job roles and profiles. Well, at least until they’re proven wrong. And co-creation plays an important role here, as it helps reframing creativity through a shared, transparent and on-the-spot approach to it. Beyond witnessing it, you actually experience it, with all the left and right brainers together.

When during the process, the self-called-not-creative-type-of-person, come to understand how relevant their inputs are, and how together everyone goes from framing a problem to coming up with the ideas for the solution to be, their opinion about themselves and the notion of what a creativity is, tends to shift.

How rewarding is that? Priceless, if you ask me.

But more importantly, what is the impact of those small mindset shifts?

A shift in mindset, when shared by a significant sample of people of any given community or organization, is only a step away from a shift in its culture. Just imagine if those who lack creative confidence for problem-solving, start to better understand creative processes and where everyone fits and adds value to it. Magic will definitely happen more often.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Don’t trust just me, these are supposedly Aristotle’s words.

It’s precisely all the different personalities, perspectives and expertise together that make co-creation such a rich and powerful approach.

And that’s essentially why — contrarily to what most people may think — “non-creative” people are fundamental to generate the best ideas. So, if you’re looking for better ideas, don’t forget to bring them along.



Pedro Alegria

TORKE CC Founder & Innovation Ideator. Co-creator. Entrepreneur. Idealist on Mondays.