Creativity vs Originality

The other day, i was in my room browsing the web for a few pics about what to teach the students in my Maya class. My room door suddenly opened and two of my friends walked in, they saw me and said “…he..he..copy paste…and you call this creativity…”. As with most of the cases when i don’t want to get into an argument just to save my time, i gave them a perfunctory smile and continued with my work. No, it doesn’t end there, the misconception held by many “educated” people about creativity and originality really bothers me.

Sir Ken Robinson defines creativity as “the process of having original ideas that have value”. True. But the way i like to see creativity is – the ability to generate new ideas of value or manipulate existing ideas to produce ideas with a unique identity, where as originality is the ability to procure novel ideas of value. Elaboration required??

Okay, let us consider originality and creativity as two activities. Originality is an activity that no doubt, requires a lot of creative thinking to generate new ideas that did not exist previously. Creativity, on the other hand need not generate an idea from scratch. As an important scientist once said – I do not invent, I rediscover. Creativity inherently includes the manipulation of existing ideas to arrive at a new solution. The end product however is distinct from its mama, the original idea. Working an idea that originated from some one else is not plagiarism, unless you do not pour your brain matter into it. So if you sport the notion that creativity means to have new ideas, try it, lets see how many new ideas of value you can come up with! My intention is not to discourage you, but to urge you to see the point you are missing.

How many of you have played Mario? Is it original? Undoubtedly. A creation of the man Shigeru Miyamoto. Then came the Legend of Zelda and after a few original flicks, even Shigeru shifted from the originality gear to the creativity gear. Moon Mario, Mario and Luigi, Mario Kart, The unforgettable Zelda sequels, to mention a few, are modifications to their original ideas. If not, we would never have had all the classics that Nintendo proudly boasts about. And the last nail in the coffin – How many of you played Crush the castle? I know what you are thinking… was there ever such a game? Now, tell me how many of you have played Angry Birds? sounds familiar right? Well for your information, the idea behind Angry Birds was exactly what  CtC (Crush the castle) portrayed…Hit an object X with an object Y using a catapult! So, watcha gonna do? throw your iPhone away and swear never to play a game again? Let me give you a breather, Angry Birds is a creative modification of CtC. The vibrancy, the characters, the sounds, the colours all are unique to this game. The creativity put in makes the game deserve every penny it earned!

Originality makes the creator worry mostly about the way the idea is shaped up, where as creativity focuses on the way an idea is made ready for the final sale. Many a times original ideas lack a few important aspects that can be added in the form of modifications. Hence, creativity is not just the art of creating. I guess youv realized that creativity is far far beyond originality. If not, start at the top again!


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