Creativity refers to the capacity to come up with something new and innovative that has value to yourself or others.
In the definition of Kaufman (2016, p. 5), it contains two core elements, both of which need to be satisfied for something to be considered creative:
- Generativity: Creativity must lead to something that is “different, new, and innovative”.
- Value: Kaufman (2016) also notes that creativity must be “useful and relevant”. This could be the creation of something of practical usability, or something of value to yourself, or, something of social value – such as an artwork seen to be aesthetically beautiful or projecting a valuable social message.
The concept of cretivity is also held as one of the highest levels of human pursuit. Benjamin Bloom, for example, considers it as the highest level of knowledge in Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Here, creativity is seen as above and beyond all other forms of thinking, knowing, and understanding. It doesn’t just entail knowing something that already existed, but rather producing knowledge that was non-existent mere moments ago.
As such, creativity – simply, ‘to create’ – is at the core of human knowledge building and helps lead to human social, cultural, economic, and intellectual progress.
- Writing a Novel: Concocting a unique plot with engaging characters and vivid descriptions.
Creative Project Idea: Participate in NANOWRIMO, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, aspiring writers the world over commit to writing 1000 words of their novel per day for 30 days straight!
- Painting a Portrait: Depicting a person’s characteristics, emotions, and personality through a visual representation.
- Composing a Piece of Music: Creating a unique arrangement of melodies, harmonies, rhythms, and timbres.
- Choreographing a Dance: Designing a sequence of movements to express an idea or tell a story.
- Sculpting with Clay: Shaping clay into a three-dimensional artwork, either abstract or representational.
- Designing a Website: Arranging elements like text, images, and interactive features in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.
- Inventing a New Recipe: Combining ingredients in a novel way to create a new dish.
- Crafting a Poem: Utilizing words, rhythm, and imagery to express emotions or ideas.
Creative Project Idea: Use a special type of poem called a haiku to develop some structure around your poems to get you started. Write a haiku a day for 30 days!
- Fashion Designing: Conceptualizing and creating a unique piece of clothing or accessory.
- Photography: Capturing a moment, emotion, or idea through the lens of a camera.
- Filmmaking: Telling a story through the medium of film with visuals, sound, and editing.
- Architectural Design: Conceptualizing and drawing a structure that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
- Creating a Podcast: Planning and producing a series of spoken-word content on a particular topic.
- Developing a Video Game: Designing the narrative, gameplay mechanics, and visual aesthetics of a new gaming experience.
Creative Project Idea: Write down the theme and goals of your video game. Who would your game’s main character be, and what would be their major challenge they need to overcome?
- Interior Decorating: Arranging furniture, selecting color palettes, and designing the layout of a room to create a specific ambiance.
- Gardening Design: Organizing plants in a visually pleasing and sustainable way.
- Writing a Play: Crafting dialogues, developing characters, and designing settings for a stage performance.
- Building a Machine: Designing and assembling parts to create a functioning piece of equipment.
- Conceptual Art: Creating artwork that prioritizes the idea or concept over the aesthetic or material expression.
- Crafting a Comic Strip: Combining art and narrative in a sequence of panels to tell a humorous or dramatic story.
- Designing Jewelry: Using various materials to create unique wearable art.
- Developing a Mobile App: Coding an application for mobile devices that serves a particular function or need.
- Creating a Marketing Campaign: Developing an innovative approach to promote a product or service.
Creative project idea: Come up with a marketing slogan for a product in your line of sight right now – it could be a pen, computer, or the chair you’re sitting on! How would you promote it to catch people’s attention? Would you use logos, pathos, or ethos as your persuasion method?
- Writing a Song: Crafting a unique blend of lyrics and melody to convey an emotion or tell a story.
- Creating a Board Game: Designing the rules, game pieces, and board for a fun and engaging tabletop game.
- Building a Lego Model: Using Lego bricks to create a structure, vehicle, or scene.
- Landscaping: Designing outdoor spaces using plants, structures, and other natural elements.
- Origami: Transforming a flat sheet of paper into a three-dimensional form through folding.
- Writing a Business Plan: Conceptualizing a unique approach to delivering a product or service, and planning for its execution.
- Creating an Infographic: Designing a visual representation of information or data in an engaging and easy-to-understand format.
- Improvisational Comedy: Making up humor on the spot based on audience suggestions or random prompts.
- Teaching a Class: Developing a unique lesson plan to engage students and communicate complex ideas.
- Creating a Collage: Using various materials like photos, fabric, and paper to create a layered artwork.
- Writing a Blog: Expressing ideas, sharing experiences, or providing information in a written format on a personal website.
Creative project idea: Start a blog about your current projects or goals, be in personal (such as a fitness goal) or career-wise (such as your trials and tribulations of your job). Blogs are a great way to demonstrate that you’re a go-getter with a lot of creative energy.
- Directing a Theatre Production: Overseeing the performance of actors on stage, and making creative decisions about sets, costumes, and lighting.
- Graphic Design: Combining text, images, and colors to create visually appealing designs for print or digital media.
- Storyboarding: Visualizing the scenes of a film, animation, or advertisement in a series of drawn panels.
- Writing a Speech: Crafting a compelling oral presentation to inform, persuade, or inspire an audience.
- Developing a Virtual Reality Experience: Designing a simulated environment for interactive experiences.
- Designing a Logo: Creating a unique visual identity for a brand or organization.
Creative project idea: Instead of a logo, why not design a coat of arms for your family! What would be the animal on your coat of arms? And of course, you’ll need to find a latin family motto to go on it!
- Creating a YouTube Channel: Producing and uploading original video content for an online audience.
- Writing a Screenplay: Creating a written script for a film or TV show, including dialogue, descriptions of scenes, and character actions.
- Brewing Craft Beer: Combining ingredients like grains, hops, and yeast in innovative ways to create unique flavors.
- Creating a DIY Project: Repurposing or modifying materials to create something new and functional or decorative.
- Designing a Children’s Book: Writing a story and creating illustrations that are appealing and appropriate for children.
- Creating an Escape Room: Designing a physical adventure game where players solve a series of puzzles and riddles.
- Digital Art: Using digital tools and software to create artwork.
- Designing a Tattoo: Creating a meaningful and aesthetic design to be inked on skin.
A List of Creative Professions: If you love to be creative, consider becoming an artist, product designer, marketing professional, a musician, or a novellist.
- Creating a Stand-up Comedy Routine: Writing and performing a set of humorous stories, jokes, and one-liners.
- Designing a Magazine Spread: Creating a visually appealing layout for articles, photos, and ads in a magazine.
- Writing a Musical Score: Composing the music for a film, play, or television show to enhance the mood and atmosphere.
- 3D Modeling: Creating a three-dimensional representation of a physical object using specialized software.
- Developing a Fitness Program: Designing a sequence of exercises for specific health and fitness goals.
- Designing a Business Card: Creating a compact representation of professional identity using text and graphics.
Creative project idea: Create your own business card that shows your profession (or make one up) and that lists the key things you’ll be able to offer to prospective clients.
- Hosting a Radio Show: Planning and executing a program of music, conversation, and other audio content for radio listeners.
- Writing an Algorithm: Developing a series of steps for a computer to follow in order to solve a problem or achieve a goal.
- Creating a Social Media Campaign: Designing a series of posts and interactions to promote a brand, product, or idea on social media.
- Designing a Menu: Arranging food and drink options in an appealing and logical way for a restaurant.
- Creating a Virtual Learning Course: Developing a sequence of lessons and activities for online learning.
- Designing an Album Cover: Creating a visual representation that encapsulates the music and the artist’s identity.
- Writing a Grant Proposal: Creating a compelling request for funding that outlines a project’s goals, methodology, and budget.
- Designing a Personal Budget: Crafting a plan for spending and saving money based on individual financial goals.
- Creating a Comic Book: Combining sequential art with narrative to tell a longer, often serialized story.
- Designing a Garden: Planning the placement of plants, paths, and features to create a pleasing and functional outdoor space.
Creative project idea: Get a pen and paper and draw a blueprint of what your ideal garden will look like. Consider placement of your chairs, gardenbeds, and paths, and note exactly where each type of plant will be planted.
- Creating a Documentary Film: Telling a non-fiction story through film, often involving research, interviews, and on-location footage.
- Writing a TV Show Script: Developing storylines, dialogues, and character arcs for a television series.
- Stop-Motion Animation: Crafting a visual storytelling piece by photographing a series of slightly altered scenes.
- Designing a Banner Ad: Creating an engaging and clickable graphic to promote a product or service online.
- Event Planning: Organizing and styling a unique event, like a wedding or a conference, to provide a memorable experience.
- Coding a Website: Writing code to create a unique, user-friendly website.
- Crafting a Marketing Strategy: Creating a plan to promote a product or service effectively and attract customers.
- Creating a Mural: Designing and painting a large artwork on a wall or ceiling.
- Food Styling: Arranging food and accessories for a photo or film to make it look appealing.
- Designing a Mobile Game: Creating unique game mechanics, graphics, and storyline for a game on a mobile platform.
- Creating a Zine: Designing a small-circulation, self-published work of original text and images.
- Land Art: Creating an artwork or sculpture using natural materials in outdoor locations.
- Creating a Business Model: Developing a unique approach to how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.
- Writing a Stand-up Comedy Sketch: Crafting a funny and engaging performance script.
- Creating a Social Media Profile: Designing a personal or business presence on a social media platform, including profile images, descriptions, and post content.
- Designing a Pop-up Store: Creating a temporary, engaging retail space.
- Writing an E-Book: Crafting a digital book, either fiction or non-fiction.
- Building a Treehouse: Designing and constructing a house in the branches of a tree.
- Creating a Snapchat Filter: Designing a unique digital overlay for images on the Snapchat platform.
- Designing a Museum Exhibition: Planning the layout, informational content, and interactive elements of an exhibit.
- Crafting a Press Release: Writing an engaging and newsworthy statement to the media.
- Writing a Travel Guide: Crafting an informative and engaging guide for tourists.
Creative project idea: Create a travel guide for your hometown, letting visitors know the best place for coffee, the best free and paid attractions, and where to go for the best views.
- Creating a Font: Designing a unique set of typefaces.
- Building a Robotics Project: Designing and assembling a machine capable of carrying out complex actions automatically.
- Designing a Book Cover: Creating a visual representation that encapsulates the content and the feel of a book.
- Creating a Digital Magazine: Designing an online publication with interactive features.
- Making a Handmade Gift: Crafting a unique item to give as a present.
- Creating a Music Video: Designing a short film to accompany a song.
- Writing a Personal Essay: Crafting a written piece from a personal perspective, often involving reflection and exploration of a topic.
- Designing a Billboard: Creating a large outdoor advertising structure designed to capture the attention of motorists and pedestrians.
- Creating a Mixed Media Art: Using different types of techniques and materials to create an artwork.
- Crafting a Radio Advertisement: Creating a compelling audio message to sell a product or service.
- Writing a Scientific Research Paper: Designing a study, collecting data, and discussing the results in a clear and innovative way.
- Creating a DIY Home Decor: Repurposing or creating items to enhance the aesthetics of a home.
- Designing a Music Album: Arranging songs, designing the album cover, and planning the release strategy.
Creative project idea: Design the album cover for an imaginary upcoming album from your favorite artist. Consider how the image on the cover is going to reflect the tone and theme of the songs in your imaginary album.
- Creating a Performance Art: Designing a live presentation that breaks conventional theatre boundaries.
- Designing a Window Display: Creating an engaging visual display to attract customers into a store.
- Writing a Children’s Story: Crafting a narrative that is engaging, age-appropriate, and often carries a moral or lesson.
- Creating a Coffee Blend: Combining different types of coffee beans to create a unique flavor profile.
- Designing an Online Course: Structuring lessons, assignments, and assessments for an online learning platform.
- Crafting a Crossword Puzzle: Designing a grid and creating corresponding clues that challenge readers to fill in the blanks.
- Creating a Makeup Look: Using cosmetics to enhance or alter the appearance of the face creatively.
- Designing a Product Packaging: Creating the exterior of a product that serves protective, informational, and promotional purposes.
- Writing a Motivational Speech: Crafting a speech intended to inspire and motivate the audience.
- Designing a Theme Park Ride: Creating the concept, mechanics, and visual elements for an amusement park attraction.
- Creating a Home Brewed Beer: Mixing ingredients in innovative ways to produce beer at home.
- Designing a T-Shirt: Creating a unique graphic or text to be printed on a shirt.
- Writing a Political Speech: Crafting a persuasive narrative that aims to influence public opinion or policy.
- Creating a Gardening Layout: Designing the placement of plants, pathways, and features in a garden.
- Designing a Greeting Card: Creating an aesthetic design and a heartfelt message for a special occasion.
- Creating an Exercise Routine: Combining different exercises to create an effective workout plan.
- Designing a Skate Park: Planning the layout and features of a park for skateboarding.
- Writing a User Manual: Creating a clear and easy-to-understand guide for using a product or software.
- Creating a Hairstyle: Combining different techniques to style hair in a unique way.
- Designing a Public Park: Planning the layout, plantings, and amenities of a space for public use.
- Creating a Tattoo Design: Crafting a unique and meaningful design for body art.
Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, but is defined by the art of producing something new and valuable. By being creative, we can solve complex problems, innovate, achieve self-expression, and even improve our mental health (Gillam, 2018). Creativity is multidisciplinary, and as the creativity examples above has shown, you can apply it in a range of fields and contexts – from sitting at home painting, to being creative while coming up with a strong business plan for your new business.
Gillam, T. (2018). Creativity, wellbeing and mental health practice. London: Springer.
Kaufman, J. C. (2016). Creativity 101. Los Angeles: Springer Publishing Company.
Appendix: Bloom’s Taxonomy
|Level (Shallow to Deep)||Description||Examples|
|Remember||Retain and recall information||Reiterate, memorize, duplicate, repeat, identify|
|Understand||Grasp the meaning of something||Explain, paraphrase, report, describe, summarize|
|Apply||Use existing knowledge in new contexts||Practice, calculate, implement, operate, use, illustrate|
|Analyze||Explore relationships, causes, and connections||Compare, contrast, categorize, organize, distinguish|
|Evaluate||Make judgments based on sound analysis||Assess, judge, defend, prioritize, critique, recommend|
|Create||Use existing information to make something new||Invent, develop, design, compose, generate, construct|
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]