As a manager of highly technical engineers, I used to do quite a bit of hiring. One of my favorite questions to ask was this: “Tell me about a time you used your creativity to arrive to a solution to a problem.”
More than once, the young hoping-to-be-hired adult with his or her newly minted computer science degree would look at me blankly. A few would bring up technical abilities, insisting that creativity was more for the artistic types.
How wrong they were!
While true that the engineers on my teams were technical, they also had to be incredibly creative to think about how to solve problems that nobody had ever seen before. Sure, there were plenty of times when customers would call with issues already seen. But it was also common to run into truly unique scenarios that required a creative approach to finding a solution.
Being creative isn’t always about applying paint to a canvas, placing pen on paper, or blessing the world with a beautiful singing voice. Often times it means thinking about something in a new way, coming at a problem from a different angle, and pushing through to a solution using a route never before considered.
It’s easy for those of us who aren’t blessed with talents in visual arts to say that we lack creativity. The fact is that’s simply not true. We all have the capacity to be creative in a myriad of ways.
It’s up to each of us to find our creativity in whatever it is that we do.