Creativity defined

Creativity is applied imagination using intelligence and all kinds of mental attributes along the way in order to foster continuous learning. This implies a more open attitude to failure and distinguishing between competent and incompetent failure. In the first, when someone tries hard to succeed but fails, there is substantial learning going on which creates the foundations for possible success in the future.

It is 'thinking at the edge of one's competence, rather than the centre of it'. In complex urban problems, solutions are often discovered at the boundaries of what we know and when each specialist discipline works at its boundaries. The reason is that the shaft-like focus of a narrow discipline tends to reveal less and less and give less insight as we become clearer that things are inextricably interconnected. This is not to put down the specialist, but it asks them to operate in a different way.

The creative city idea is an ongoing process and way of going about things, not an end result. It is dynamic, not static, and it is concerned with the mindset predominant in a city. It suggests that a culture of creativity should be embedded into the texture of how the city operates, that is into its community members, its organizations and its power structures.

Legitimizing the use of imagination in the way the city operates generates an ideas bank of possibilities. This process of allowing divergent thinking to occur within the worlds of specialists and those who find this approach more natural generates multiple options, choices and a pool of ideas. It needs aligning to convergent thinking, which narrows down possibilities from which innovations emerge once they have gone through the reality checker.

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