Creativity is a quality that only human beings are able to achieve. It is the act of creating something from nothing. Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘create’ as “to bring into existence” or “to produce through imaginative skill” (create). Therefore, creativity can bring about the manifestation of things from the minds of people. According to Andriopoulous (2008), creativity is essential to society’s development, as it leads to the development of great works and great achievements in areas such as music, architecture, art, literature, science, medicine, or business. Creativity is also necessary for problem-solving and it usually follows along a creative process that includes four stages: (1) preparation, (2) incubation, (3) illumination, and (4) verification.
The preparation stage in the creative process includes gathering information from available sources through research. This allows for a broader view of a situation. The next stage of the process is called incubation, and it is a period of mentally processing information obtained through the preparation process. This is a time when initial ideas from the preparation stage have a chance to marinate in the mind. After this, the illumination stage happens. This is the stage in the creativity process that one gets a light turned on, so to speak, about their ideas and visions of success. This is a stage of awareness and the answers to problems often suddenly come to the mind of the creator during this stage. This is the stage where logic turns into novel solutions. Then, finally, the last stage is verification. This is where the creative mind evaluates the outcome of the process and innovation comes into play (Andriopoulous, 2008).
Creativity and innovation, as depicted in life via organizations, plays a crucial role in society. Creativity is revealed differently depending on the nature of an organization. For instance, businesses bring their creativity to life through innovating products and services that customers desire, hence partially satisfying the customers’ needs, generating jobs, and adding to the country’s economy. Similarly, a local government can use creative ideas to satisfy the desires of a community, thereby increasing the quality of life for the people of the community. Whichever the way, creativity and innovation play an indispensable role in serving the society, particularly in the area of humans and culture in business and personal life.
Although the world is made up of various ethnic cultures, the culture of humans is fundamentally on the same level. This is true because human nature is universal but humans behave essentially the same. The differences are only on the surface, such as language, style of dress, or rituals (Kanazawa, 2008). Human culture is, therefore, a collection of patterns of behavior by a group of people. People evolve in their cultures based on how their ancestors lived. Moreover, culture is learned and passed down. According to Wade (2010), human populations evolve from natural forces such as climate, disease or learned behavior such as learning about technology. In addition, culture continually changes and people adapt to cultural changes, and this is integral to shaping human evolution, which is also an important aspect of human cultural extensions as they relate to creativity and innovation.
How Humans Adapt to Change
According to Wade (2010), humans adapt to change through natural selection, which is specific to forces of nature. For example, over the milleniums humans learned to make clothing to protect their bodies from the cold and they also learned to farm to provide food for themselves. Additionally, culture is another force that allows people to adapt by natural selection, such as adapting genetically to cultural diet changes. This relates to the idea that genetics evolve with cultures as well as learned behaviors. For example, Wade (2010) points out research result findings that advanced lactose tolerance in many northern Europeans has been traced to their ancestors drinking raw milk, which evidently caused changes in their human genome line through evolution. This population of people received high nutritional values from the ability to digest raw milk which caused them to live longer. In addition, it is noted that today’s advanced research capabilities have allowed scientists to identify many instances of natural selection in the human genome, which explains how people adapt to change biologically. However, people adapt to change in other areas as well, such as in social situations, at work, in communities, in families, etc., and this is most likely through learned behavior, mentoring and modeling.
How Human Cultural Extensions Relate to Creativity and Innovations
There is a definite relationship between human culture and creativity and innovation. According to Sawyer (2012), humans have exercised cultural activities throughout history which includes creating things, and this is a part of human nature, and creativity is a major reason for the economic success of society because of innovation. Creativity is also integral to solving problems within society as well. In addition, creativity and innovation are expected to continually increase in a world where the demands of global markets, competitive industries, advanced technologies, and automation exists.
As it relates to human cultural extensions and innovation and creativity, group creativity processes are often involved. According to Paulus and Nisjstad (2003), group creativity is a large part of innovation within organizations through creative processes such as group brainstorming to generate ideas. Part of human culture within organizations is the promotion of teamwork, and this is essential in collaboration and working out solutions to problems and challenges to foster creativity and innovative ideas. In addition, social factors are connected to human cultural extensions which promote creative and innovative motivation through “mentoring, modeling, family influences, and social reward contexts” (p. 4). Social factors are important to social creativity within the organizational sphere for creative achievements. As it concerns innovation, group creativity is important for group innovation through organizational learning and the transfer of knowledge from person to person through brainstorming processes (Paulis & Nijstad, 2003).
Organizations exist with the sole objective of achieving a particular goal. In an effort to accomplish this, most of these organizations have devised cultures that define their principles, ideologies, and rules of engagement. Nevertheless, the work environment is relatively dynamic and triggers the need for the organization to periodically revise its culture by managing its cultural extensions. Edward Hall, an anthropologist, asserts that cultural extensions happen when human extensions exceed their current knowledge and they come up with new cultural forms. This could be in form of social and/or technological transformation. Creativity and innovation in any organization is directly related to the human cultural extensions.
Ashkanasy, et. al. (2010) states that organizational climate influences organizational culture, and it involves the perceptions and attitudes of the members of an organization which is a part of overall organizational behavior patterns. This relates to interaction between business managers and other members of the organization and how creativity and innovation is fostered. Business managers are often the main instigators of ideas for effective and efficient ways to run the organization, by producing a positive creative process, increasing knowledge diversity, and increasing innovative thinking toward changing old ways of doing things into new ways of doing things. This type of interaction is representative of the same set of values and actions seen in entire societies and human cultures.
Creativity for the of Future Business and Personal Life
As mentioned, creativity and innovation are integral parts of organizational success and they play a role in an individual’s personal life. Efficiency in business is also a main reason why creativity is important. Davila, et. al. (2007) highlights the importance of leadership-focused creativity in organizations, and states that innovation is a key driver to the growth and competitiveness of an organization. In addition, it is noted that creativity is essential to staying competitive and organizations foster creativity among their employees for this reason. However, employee creativity is tied to both personal and environmental factors of influence. An example of a personal factor that influences the creativity of employees is their own personality and how creative it is. Everyone is not a creative individual because everyone has a different level of thinking and problem-solving ability. However, managers can nurture less creative employees into being more creative, but this is related to environmental factors. An example of an environmental factor influencing employee creativity is transformational leadership, which stimulates the intellect of employees, considers them as individuals, and inspires them by encouraging them (Davila, et. al., 2007).
Creativity in one’s personal life is important for the future because it allows future generations an advantage because they reap the benefits of positive seeds sown from their predecessors and ancestors. Creativity results in progress and this is something that can be handed down to future generations who can carry on improved changes to various processes.
It is apparent that human culture is an important aspect of creativity and innovation as it relates to business and personal life. Creativity and innovation influences entire societies and are the driving forces behind progress and positive interaction, as well as the capacity for progressive change and evolution in cultures. In addition, the development of a society depends on the level of progress its people are capable of making. This includes their ability to adapt to change and to use focused creative ideas to implement innovative activities to foster improved conditions and better environmental functions. This also relates to cultural extensions and how learned behaviors are often passed down, and the idea that human populations evolve from natural forces.
Humans who have freed themselves from the confines of normal cultural dimensions to cultural extensions have experienced tremendous positive outcomes, as far as creativity and innovation is concerned. This is because they allow their minds and attitudes to focus on the untapped potential of their human nature. Social and technological aspects are most critical component of this new cultural dimension, and this holds true for both the individual in personal settings and organizations in business settings.
Andriopoulos, C., and Dawson, P. (2008). Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation. New York, NY: SAGE.
Ashkanasy, N.M., et al. (2010). The Handbook of Organizational Culture and Climate. New York, NY: SAGE. create. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster online.
Kanazawa, S. (2008, May 11). The Scientific Fundamentalist. Retrieved from Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200805/there-is-only-one-human-culture
Paulis, P. B., & Nijstad, B. A. (2003). Group Creativity: Innovation through Collaboration. Oxford University Press, Inc.
Sawyer, K. (2012). Explaining Creativity: THe Science of Human Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Wade, N. (2010, March 1). Human Culture, an Evolutionary Force. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/science/02evo.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0