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Creation & The Brain at Work

by Thandie Balfour

Generally when people talk about creating they assume one is referring to being creative. Creativity is usually associated with the arts or the entertainment industry. One can view a piece of art and wonder at the mind that conceptualised such beauty. Same applies to music or a great story telling session whether it be at the theatre or the movies. It is not uncommon for people to be moved to great heights of emotions by seeing a great work of art. That is the impact that creating has on human beings, it appeals to human beings at a level beyond logic. That is why one will cry when listening to a particularly moving piece of music or even just looking at a painting.


Throughout the ages it has been accepted knowledge that those who are able to create such works are rare and very special and at times even eccentric, leaving the rest of the people to feel somewhat normal and pedestrian. As a result it was hardly expected that creative people would fit in with the ‘normal’ corporate crowd. They have had to work in their own industries with other creative people who understand them. Unfortunately though, because the creatives have been considered to be so rare and specialised not many people considered themselves special enough to be creative. One would find this in many schools as well, where creativity was not encouraged much and students were rather encouraged to do really well academically and/or in sports.

This has however changed over the last couple of decades or so. This has coincided with advances in the study of the brain. The brain is divided into two hemispheres, the left side and the right side. The left side of the brain is associated with linear thinking i.e. your logic/rational thinking whilst the right side is associated with circular thinking i.e. seemingly random/irrational thinking. Creativity therefore has been associated with the right side thinking. People who activate the right side of the brain more tend to see connections that may not seem logical. They tend to see the big picture more and they conceptualise more. What brain studies are now showing is that creative people actually use both sides of the brain. The right side is used to conceptualise however the left side is needed to actually create or bring the concept into fruition. This understanding has opened up people’s perceptions of what creativity is in that it is no longer restricted to a few but is now a concept that many can tap into. Creativity is therefore now more than just what artists and musicians do but is open to anyone who wants to add some ‘flavour’ to what they are doing. So, one can be doing what is considered to be the most mundane of tasks and can still add some creativity to it. What is even more exciting is that people can be trained to use both sides of the brain more, meaning creativity can be learned. Schools have now tapped into this and creativity is encouraged for all students. It has also been found that students who embark on creative work actually improve the functioning of the left side of the brain as well. For example, learning to play the piano has been shown to improve a student’s mathematical skills.


What has this meant for corporates?

Well more and more corporate organisations are now open to employing people who have otherwise been considered ‘creative’. Organisations are looking for people who are visionary and can see beyond the obvious. They need people who can take the organisation forward into a world of work that may not exist at the moment. This require some not only creative thinking but also creating the future that to ensure the organisation’s longevity.


As the Shine team we also believe in the power of creating. CREATE is therefore one of our key principles and by that we refer to ‘creating, developing, planning and evolving with the intention to move forward and add value.’ As a result we endeavour to bring some creativity in all our works.

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