The Many Perceptions of Creativity

Our first interview of the four-part series is with Hadewig Boerman- Ux Designer at Artificial Industry

“Creativity is intelligence having fun”

As announced by the United Nations, 21 April 2019 will be another “World Creativity and Innovation Day”. A day to remind people and organisations that without creating and ideating new things every now and then, we would probably go insane. Furthermore, without a certain amount of creative work in your job, your position will most likely become automated in the near future. Alternatively, you could get stuck in a job doing the exact same thing over and over again, making you feel like a robot yourself.

For the individual, being creative is an important aspect of work, because creativity triggers our brain and stimulates self-expression. Indeed, it’s equally important for the company. Think of a business that you would consider to be successful. The first business that comes to mind most likely knew how to differentiate itself by coming up with a unique concept or idea.

However, ‘creativity’ is quite a broad concept, especially in the workplace. Being creative can mean something completely different to a hair stylist than to a web developer. It all depends on how an individual stimulates their own mind to come up with something original that benefits their work, their team, or possibly their entire organisation. We were curious about how creativity is perceived and deployed in our workplace, so who better to ask than our own employees? Today, Hadewig shares her views on creativity in her daily work!

Hadewig — UX Designer
“Hey, Hadewig! What does creativity mean to you in your daily work?”

“Being creative means that I’m able to see things from different perspectives as a UX designer. This gives my work endless opportunities and makes my work a playground. Creativity for me is ‘relative freedom’: The freedom will be limited and defined by ‘expectations’ or frameworks. Frameworks can come from a client, an end-user, fellow designers or other influencers that can impact the freedom in your project. The more complex a project, the more (conflicting) frameworks there are. The most difficult one is my own critical view that can sometimes destroy my creativity completely. When I am most creative I do not feel restricted by the frameworks but use them to overcome the obvious. Understanding a framework is like putting on a hat. For example, when I wear the hat of the end-user I see the project from their perspective. That helps me to understand their experiences, needs and expectations and to design something that makes them happy. I love doing that because for a moment you see the world through completely different eyes. I definitely can’t imagine a life without creativity. This would mean I wouldn’t be able to wear those different hats and only be able to see the world through my own eyes.”

“So, how do you get creative?”

“Creativity almost sounds like you can turn it on and off… I wish that was always true. When I start ideating, I have to get myself into the zone. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes very hard. To do this, I create my own personal setting where I allow creativity to flow naturally. I think a good space with a lot of light and a big white wall helps me the most in the creative process. I love to hang all my ideas on the wall, however crazy they may seem. I think it’s really important that your colleagues don’t judge your ideas during this phase and understand it’s a way to move forward. Not every idea will make it down the line and some will be completely unrealistic. It’s just a way to help me explore the context. You need to get all your ideas out so they’re not just stuck in your head, but instead start a conversation within your team or in the office. You definitely don’t need to come up with every idea yourself. I enjoy brainstorming with my colleagues to widen my personal framework. This doesn’t mean I always find the ideation phase the most enjoyable phase though. Sometimes you just get lost in all the ideas. It’s hard to stay patient, don’t let your critical mind take over and accept the absolutely unorganised flow of creativity. It’s necessary to first go through a total broadening of your perspective in order to achieve any kind of originality in your results.”

“It sounds like a struggle sometimes, kind of like the saying: “Creativity is a blessing and a curse”. Do you see it this way?”

“Yes, absolutely. During the concept phase of a project I sometimes go home with a super active mind. I keep ideating until late at night. I guess this has to do with all the open ends and unpolished iterations. At home, my mind starts trying to improve ideas, combining them and trying to get inspired by everything around me. I do my best to avoid this when I leave work but it’s still a challenge most of the time. A writing exercise helps me a lot to calm my mind. There are three rules during the exercise: 1) I agree with myself on a certain writing time (usually 5 minutes). 2) During this time I’m not allowed to stop writing. 3) I cannot read back what I wrote or correct it. This allows me to write down all the ideas, brain waves, crap and trash without judging it. After the exercise my mind (usually) is more peaceful.”

“Does creativity mean something else to you at work then at home?”

“Well, not really but what I enjoy at home is that I choose the frameworks myself. This works best for me during the weekends, when I can relax and be less self-critic. Sometimes it’s really relaxing to create something new without any expectations of the outcome: Dip a pencil in ink and see what the drop does on the paper. Sometimes such experiments result in an interesting drawing that keeps me busy, sometimes it’s a paper full of black ink drops and I enjoyed the sun and coffee more.”

We hoped you enjoyed our first interview! Like and share the post if you believe Hadewig’s perspective on creativity is worth the read for others as well. Keep updated for more interviews the upcoming days!