This story was created for a conference presentation. Linda's goal was debunk the myth of creativity being some cosmic skill possessed by a few. Her approach was to connect the ability to solve problems to creativity. This is one of the stories used in that presentation.

A Condensed History of Creativity
by Linda Garbe

When the world began, there was no word for "creativity."
Actually there were no words at all.
It was a time of grunts and nonverbal clues.
Days were spent surviving.
Hunters hunted; gathers gathered.

Eons pass.

Gifted hunters and gathers invent new ways of hunting and gathering.

Others notice; grunt; and raise their eyebrows in admiration.

And thus the cycle began.

Innovate; Survive

Survive; Innovate.

An eon passes.

Thanks to many innovations, it takes less time to survive.

Spare time is spent turning grunts into words and painting on cave walls.

People are heard to say, "Nice painting. Love your use of line."

Half an eon passes.

Webster publishes a dictionary.

Innovation is defined:
      –To start or introduce something new;
      –To be creative

A quarter of an eon passes.

Creativity has become less about surviving and more about writing and painting. Creativity and innovation are no longer connected.

Innovation is about surviving and producing serious products.

Creativity is about the arts.

Time passes.

Global competition is a reality.

Corporations need to be innovative.

They want to survive.

Someone remembers the Innovate/Survive cycle of long ago.

In newspapers, magazines, and corporate memos we read:

In the new era of business taking shape around us, the single most important task of managers will be to harness the creative power of workers to advance the goals of the enterprise.

As we read, we grunt and raise our eyebrows.


©2006 The Garbe Creative Group • All Rights Reserved