The key to Creativity is Diversity of Thought

ECD Ronaldo Tavares shares his thoughts with The Drum on how the best way to maximise creativity is to feed in a diversity of experiences.

Life’s rich experiences are the ingredients of all ideas. We can only imagine what we know to exist and only create what we can imagine. Why is this so important? Well, it means that the more diverse our lived experiences, backgrounds, and points of view, the more creative we can be.

At M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, we call this the ‘diversity of thought’ theory. It’s the bedrock of our creative thinking, rooted in the truth that similar people think similar things, but when we have diversity of people, we can achieve diversity of thought, which makes it a creative necessity. In a world where social media and modern culture strive to make people fit in, subscribe to the latest trend, and follow the crowd, difference and diversity have become more important than ever, especially in the business of creativity.

Punching through

In Brad Mirman’s emotional film, ‘Shadows in the Sun’, we see this truth played out. In one scene, we see an aspiring young writer asked by a legendary writer to describe the feelings of a punch in the stomach. The young writer aptly replies. We can all imagine a punch; he can describe the feeling and emotion, though he hasn’t experienced the pain.

The legendary writer punches him in the stomach and asks again. What follows is a beautiful demonstration of the need for experience to fuel creativity. The older writer re-frames the commentary, relaying a real and raw account of pain and discomfort. What Mirman brings to life at this moment is the product of lived experience; it enables understanding, empathy, and creative ideation. The same is true for creative work. If we want to reach new levels of creativity, we need to ensure that our creative thinkers carry a diversity of thought, experiences and perspectives.

You cannot be what you cannot see

Of course, a good creative should be able to step into anyone’s shoes, to imagine and empathize with the experiences of another. But nothing can replace the lessons learned from lived experience and we need to hold onto this when thinking about creativity and creative hires.

Real-life adds a depth that can’t be reached otherwise. Diversity of thought is our primary consideration when it comes to creative hires. It’s essential to recognize where diversity of thought is lacking and to ensure these gaps are filled with authentic voices to generate authentic work. If you’re speaking to young girls, are they feeding into the creative ideation? If they’re not, the likelihood is they won’t feel seen or heard within the work produced.

Hollywood is recognizing this truth in recent films; we’re seeing the freshest storylines celebrated. Take Parasite and Everything Everywhere All at Once, both winning best picture for non-traditional, occidental stories.

This piece was first published on The Drum.

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