It is no surprise to anyone that different cultures think differently.
I recently came across a piece of research which aimed to look at several countries’ perspectives on creativity, especially creativity in the workplace.
Advertising agency Crispin Porter Bogusky surveyed 806 people in 8 countries in 2016 about their attitudes towards creativity, together with Vlad Glaveanu, Associate Professor at Aalborg University’s International Centre for the Cultural Psychology of Creativity.
The results are in their report: What does Creativity Look like in different Cultures?
And some of the outcomes were unexpected.
For example, this was the breakdown for the question:
In my work, I am a creative person. Agree?
- India: 75%
- Brazil: 72.3%
- Turkey: 71%
- USA: 68.3%
- China: 66%
- Germany: 56%
- UK: 54.9%
- Russia: 48%
What is interesting here is that there appears to be a link between countries with high economic growth rates (the likes of India, Brazil and Turkey at the time) having more creative confidence in their work, with lower scores in more established economies of Europe.
The three lowest scorers also responded worst to the question: Most people I work with are creative. Agreed? where only 51% of the UK, 40% of Germany and 27.5% of Russia agreed.
Is everyone creative?
Another set of questions asked Is creativity innate (does everyone have it)?:
- India: 59%
- USA: 51.5%
- Turkey: 50%
- China: 38%
- Russia: 35.5%
- Brazil: 24.7%
Are only a few people creative?
- India: 70%
- China: 56%
- USA: 49.5%
- Turkey: 47%
- Russia: 45.1%
- UK: 41.2%
- Brazil: 36.7%
- Germany: 32%
Apart from the apparent contradiction with India, it seems in a lot of countries, especially Asian countries but also the USA, there still appears to be a belief that only certain people are creative. This goes back to the outdated notion of the lone genius whose single individual creativity is what brings large scale change, instead of the work of many people, all of whom are creative.
When it comes to the idea that people are more creative as individuals or while collaborating in a group, the answers were all more positive though.
Are people more creative together than individually?
- India: 81%
- USA: 75.3%
- Brazil: 74.3%
- Turkey: 71%
- China: 70%
- Russia: 61.%
- UK: 58.8%
- Germany: 57%
Here the bottom three are again the UK, Russia and Germany, which may be correlated with them also saying that the people they work with are not so creative (above), and so collaboration may not be seen as being as valuable.
However, there was one question where every single country agreed, and that is what is required to enhance our creativity.
We have a responsibility to develop our own creativity:
- Brazil: 92.1%
- USA: 86.1%
- China: 86%
- India: 83%
- Russia: 80.3%
- Turkey: 79%
- UK: 70.6%
- Germany: 68%
So there you have it. Every country believes that each one of us as individuals has the responsibility to develop and enhance our own creativity.
While it may be interesting to see the link between creative confidence and economic performance, as well as how strong the myth of the creative genius still appears to be, it is also refreshing to see how people are taking the development of their creativity more seriously.
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