Ben Kay on what it means to be a creative

Our advertising columnist reflects on the restrictions we tend to put on the activities ascribed to being a ‘creative’, and how if we relaxed those a little, it may lead to better work

Creative … my spellcheck still asks me why I insist on using it as a noun. But that use of the word is confined to a relatively small number of people, despite the fact that professionally creative people are almost everywhere, if you look hard enough.

I could start by insisting that human beings are inherently creative creatures, something that has surely led to our global spread and ceaseless invention. But I don’t just mean the people who first conceived of ships and novels; I mean farmers who work out what to do when the blades of their combine harvester stop spinning, or stoners who come up with ever more unexpected ways to inhale marijuana. Creativity really just comes down to the skill of problem solving, and for most of us that ability is required every day.