Creavis Lounge III

How creativity arises

The third Creavis Lounge once again attracted participants in large numbers. The topic this time: How does creativity arise?

Creativity from the perspective of an artist was the central theme of the third Creavis Lounge. It was this perspective that the British painter Simon Zabell described to the 50 or so participants in Marl: What creativity means to him, how he approaches the subject of creativity, and how creativity can arise simply from an error of interpretation. Because every person, believes Zabell, interprets things differently; each one’s mental translation process is shaped by their own perception and socialization. These interpretation differences in the perception of the same object or situation hold out the possibility of creating something entirely new.

The artist, who lives in Granada, Spain, and teaches at the University there, supported his thesis with a simple exercise. The participants were divided into groups and asked to describe in writing the pictures shown to them. These descriptions were then given to other groups, who were asked to paint a picture on the basis of the description. Despite wide disparities in the participants’ artistic skills, one result clearly stood out: None of the pictures painted corresponded exactly to the written description of the original; on the contrary, many new creative ideas, and thus many new pictures, arose from one and the same situation. The lesson from both examples is that creativity lies within the creators themselves and blossoms when the restrictions imposed on it are kept to the minimum. This also has implications for researchers and developers—because, as Zabell shows, a different approach could ignite a creative spark in an entirely new direction.

The Creavis Lounge is part of Creavis’s cultural initiative, which aims at promoting collaboration and exchange and encourages exploration beyond each individual’s own boundaries. It is targeted at Creavis’s employees and external stakeholders. “The Lounge has been deliberately designed as an opportunity for visitors to engage in active participation, and is therefore also open to those outside Evonik,” confirms Prof. Stefan Buchholz, head of Creavis. The idea has been very successful: One third of the participants came from outside the Group—from customers, academic institutions, or industry associations. The Creavis Lounge is organized twice or thrice a year, on broad general topics concerning the future, sustainability, and creativity.