One Minute With: Alex Wadelton
Alex Wadelton is one of Australia’s most respected creative minds.
He is the co-author, with Russell Howcroft, of The Right-Brain Workout, was the mastermind behind the creation of a statue honouring indigenous footballer Nicky Winmar’s iconic stance against racism, is the co-founder of social activist group Future Landfill, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars with a range of charity campaigns, and wrote many of Australia’s most successful advertising campaigns.
Alex believes passionately that creativity can change the world, and he wants everyone to harness the creative genius laying inside every single one of us. Having only recently been onboarded into the ICMI family, we managed to pin down the creative powerhouse for some quick lessons & tips around the benefits of unleashing our inner creativity:
What do you mean by the word “creativity”?
There’s a misnomer that creativity is limited to art, music, literature, and the like. We need to break free of that sort of thinking. Because creativity is all around us, in every aspect of our lives. And it all stems from this amazing brain that we all carry around with us.
By being able to create things with our minds, the human race has been able to create all manner of things that have altered the course of our existence.
We have gone to the Moon, built incredible flying machines, invented intricate cuisine, constructed complex systems through cities with millions of inhabitants, produced cinema that moves scores of people emotionally, and written literature that inspires people all over the world.
And all of it stems from creativity.
Scientists being creative.
Engineers being creative.
Designers being creative.
Writers being creative.
Town planners being creative.
Humans being creative.
Can creativity be taught?
Well, I think it’s less about learning how to be creative, and more about unlearning being not creative. You see, we are all born highly creative. That’s not just my opinion- that’s a fact.
In the 1960s Dr George Land and his team investigated over a thousand five-year-olds and found that a staggering 98% of them were at genius levels of creativity in the way they solved problems. The researchers were so amazed they kept testing these kids over the ensuing years.
By age ten, 30% were highly creative. By fifteen, it was 12%.
And by adulthood, just two percent!
Which just proves that just about all of us have a little creative genius sitting inside of us just waiting to be brought back to life.
How can creativity help business?
I’m sure everyone has heard of the famous quote from Grace Hopper, American computer pioneer… “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’”
That’s why creativity is so important. Because, by its very nature, creativity is about creating something new. And when you create something new, you’re innovating, separating yourself from your competitors, and helping your business grow.
On a more granular level, the rise of robots and AI is seeing many of today’s jobs disappear at a rapid rate. So, you need to ensure you, your staff, and your business is constantly innovating and creating new ways of working to be future-proof.
And if you have kids? Well, it’s an absolute necessity to encourage and nurture their creativity. Because the ability to think creatively is never going to be more than important than over the coming decades.
How can people improve their creativity?
One aspect of creativity that can’t be overstated is this- being creative is FUN.
And with all the bad news that we are constantly bombarded with having a sense of fun and play in your day can not only be a great escape, it can be wonderful for your mental health, AND lead to amazing ideas.
There is literally no downside to unleashing your inner creative genius.
As far as improving it, it’s like anything. You just need to do it more and more each day. That’s why Russel Howcroft and I created The Right-brain Workout books. They’re a series of creative thought-starters designed to light a fire inside every person’s inner creature genius.
It’s like going to the gym. If you get a membership and never go, you’ll never get fitter. But if you put in the time over time you can achieve incredible things, and have a lot of fun as well.