Creativity Is Not Just About Making Art

When we hear the word creativity, many of us think about artists, dancers or musicians. Those who have the ability to create something inspiring out of nothing. To make a blank canvas speak, or use the vibrations of a string to convey the deepest emotions. But creativity means so much more.

There is a blessing and curse to being a jack-of-all-trades. You may never become an expert at one particular skill, but it could make you an excellent problem solver. I have a degree in music, with some background in video and web development, and currently lead a team in technical production and creative arts. A veritable melting pot.

In my current position at a large church, we use live streaming to send a sermon from the main campus to satellite campuses. There is a long list of equipment involved with streaming, from Internet services, to video switchers, encoders, and more. If one piece of tech goes down, it can be hard to recover in the moment.

During the first year of streaming to a satellite campus, our video switcher died. We had no alternative and we were less than 10 minutes from going live. Running up to the room of wires and servers, we had to find a solution fast.

In those moments, you can chalk up the issues to equipment failure and no one would be at fault. A thing broke, there was no replacement or immediate fix, end of story. Or, you can look at the parts available to you, survey the equipment that does work, and say:

There is a solution here somewhere, I just need to find it.

In this scenario, I ended up pulling a direct line from one of our cameras and sticking it straight into the server that sent video to our campus. It was only one camera shot, no lower thirds or graphics, but they had something.

There are many people that probably don't see their abilities as creative, but actually use creativity every day. The car mechanic that is able to diagnose and solve any problem that comes his way is creative. The construction worker that manages to get the job done with 3 screws when everyone else said he needed 4, the street food vendor who found the best way to wrap a knish in record time, the customer service rep who actually offers sound advice; all these people are creative.

Creativity is not only about making art, or creating something from nothing. Creativity is also the ability to solve impossible problems. It takes a creator to push past the many voices yelling "it can't be done," and find a way to make it work.