Sharon Fisher started her company, Play With a Purpose, in 1992 when she saw a hole in the marketplace for fun. As chief idea sparker, she consults with companies and conferences to help incorporate interaction, play and hands-on learning in a way that’s beneficial to employees and organizations. Orlando-based Fisher also speaks at many meeting industry events on topics such as “idea leaping.”
We challenged Fisher, along with three other experts (Nathan Schwagler of The Dali Museum, plus two more coming in the next month), to face off on the topic of creativity. Where does it come from? How can you channel it? How can you put it to work to improve your events, your association and the greater good? Fisher weighs in.
What makes you imaginative?
I was always given permission to be creative as a kid, and I’ve always had a creative job. When you get to be creative, it leads to more creativity. I’m always looking 10 steps ahead. What can we do new? What can we do differently? That’s part of my personality. I took a strengths finder test recently, and my strengths all fell in new ideas and creativity.
Is creativity broken in today’s world?
I don’t think it’s broken; it’s suppressed. People in corporate offices in general are a little afraid to let people show their creative sides. The way business works today, we get immediate feedback on numbers, campaign results, etc. In a lot of ways, it keeps us from taking risks, trying new things, and staying the course on ideas that maybe would work with a little time and tweaking. We look at an idea and evaluate it on a two-day time frame. We don’t allow time to play out.
What is the biggest myth about creativity?
That some people are creative and some people aren’t. People assume the creative ones are the people in graphics, art and music, and nobody else is creative. When we are preschool-age, we all test highly creative. Then we do a lot in schools that teach us not to be creative. There’s one right answer in the back of the teacher’s book, and if it’s not the one you come up with, you’re wrong. We were all born creative. It’s all in there for us to use—we just have to figure out how to get it back.