Many many CreativesAnyone know how many creative people there are out there? Current estimates put it at around 6,692,030,277

Huh?

Yup! That’s a massive figure right? How did I come up with that one? Given a simple assumption: everybody on the planet is creative.

Everybody.

Everybody is creative

I was first introduced to this preposterous notion at Vega (the brand Communications School) where I studied for my honors year (long story). At that time, around 2005, I thought that this claim had more to do with their broad-based marketing approach than scientific fact… anybody can study here!

Admittedly I still lack any actual evidence to support their theory. But I like it and… well hey, we all have a right side to our brain. The current educational, economic, political and philosophical status quo is definitely biased to the side of logic and reason (the proverbial ‘left side’) so we may not all have been in touch with our creative sides but they’re there and for many, they’re just waking up.

If we are capable of counting and tying our shoelaces or at least of blinking or burping, we can probably also have a creative thought even if it’s just a 9-word joke or a doodle. Most of us don’t carve out our careers in typical ‘creative’ industries but even doctors and pilots do the odd creative thing.

Lawyers and accountants have been known to be very creative indeed (think Enron). I like to think that the guys that swing past my apartment every day and pick up our trash are fairly creative too. If you could hear the names they call my next-door neighbor when she jogs down our street, you would probably agree.

Now remember: we have copyrights in everything we create, as long as it’s original, substantive and reduced to material form (see Myows’s definition of Original Work).

Creative Anarchy

And since 21.3% of the world’s population has access to the internet, you can expect a massive and growing body of original creative content, even if most of it is rubbish. (there were 5.3 billion videos streamed on Youtube this time last year). So here’s the deal (and then I’m done):

1)   Everybody is creative

2)   The internet has given millions of people a creative outlet, a broadcast medium and hence is at once stimulating and providing access to creativity on a ridiculous scale

3)   Since it’s extraordinarily easy to lift work off the net and publish it as your own, expect a period of anarchy and free-for-all-ism to follow shortly as we all adjust to a new creative paradigm (expect “narrowcasting”* too but that’s for a whole other article)

Our response is twofold

Firstly redefine what you see as a creative person. More or less 50% of every human’s brain sits on the creative/intuitive side so being a creative doesn’t make you special. Being a good creative (one that other’s want to follow and even pay) – now that’s a privilege. Expect some serious competition.

Secondly, start treating your creative skills and their fruits with the respect and caution they deserve. Things are going to get messy and confused out there so make sure if you make a living of creative work that you protect your rights as you work (you guessed it: Myows), that you keep up to date with what’s happening out there and that you constantly scan for similar work.

Final thought

Other than that, enjoy living on a more creative, expressive and colorful planet than any previous generation has ever had the privilege of inhabiting!

*More on narrowcasting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrowcasting