What for some is an instinct they are born with may for others be a torment, something extracted by force like an inflamed molar, an apparently unattainable ability that can cause one to break out in cold sweats or, who knows, unwanted palpitations. We’re talking about creativity — we meaning us, along with Maria Moura and Filipa Sobral, who a year ago realised that being creative does not come naturally for everyone.
“It is creativity for non-creatives, since we do not believe there are people who are not creative,” Filipa explains. “Rather, it is a question of personal development, although many people are trapped in the mindset that they can only develop workplace skills. We're talking about very simple behavioural changes, an awareness of what you can explore on that side, even if society discourages it. When we're eight or nine years old, we are pigeonholed as being more suited to the arts, humanities or mathematics. Consciously or unconsciously, we follow a path where we condition ourselves and do not allow ourselves to be as stimulated in other areas,” Maria adds.
Filipa and Maria are long-time friends, but they are not only friends. 16 years ago they founded Etc&co, a design studio that focuses on branding. Now they have a new joint project - through School&Co they visit companies and challenge professionals working in all areas (yes, all areas) to encourage individual creativity. “Because creativity is not limited to areas like ours. It's important for lawyers, doctors, engineers. It can form part of the communication between people,” Maria continues.
The training lasts a day and takes place in a “light and friendly” environment. “It works particularly well with people who don't think they're creative,” says Filipa. At some point, exercises require paper and pen, although training does not involve developing artistic skills. “We want to focus on generating ideas, which is where people tend to have a mental block. Being creative means being inquisitive, but people are always looking for the right answer and are afraid of being judged by others,” she adds.
Creativity as a tool for solving problems is part of the course the pair have prepared. Up until now they have been holding in-person sessions at companies the length and breadth of the country, but this is about to change. In February, School&Co (or the academy of creativity) will offer training to private individuals. Because creativity, when it appears, is for everyone.