In my work with Richard Florida we often discuss the fact that all human beings are creative. The trick is finding the right environment and tools to free their creativity; this benefits that person, society, and the economy.
I found an interesting post over at the Freakonomics Blog that touches on the above concept. Its tells of a the guy who stocks soda in the cafeteria at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. From the post by Stephen J. Dubner:
(picture from Dubner — likely taken with an iPhone)
As it turned out, the man responsible for the display was standing nearby, and we fell to chatting. His name is Derek (if I remember correctly). He is in late middle age, grew up in Hyde Park, and is himself an artist. When I mentioned Mondrian, he smiled, but said it was really Warhol that he was going for with the soda display.
It was fun to talk with someone who took such pride and interest in a work task that many people would not consider worthy of pride and interest. (Alas, Derek wasn’t interested in being photographed with his work.)
When I attended the U of C, the school was in a set of gorgeous, but old buildings in the center of campus — our cafeteria couldn’t have held Sierra Mist, Sprite, and Sprite Zero (is that what that middle beverage is?). (Here is a tour of the new buildings — which I have not yet visited)
The author and many of the people who make comments on the Freakonimics blog talked about pride as the motivator of this act. Perhaps it is not so much pride as the creative person being selfish and proactive and using their environment (with its constraints and assets) to flex their creativity. This to me, this is the bigger story here: any person can be creative within their environment. Entrepreneurs, who are often resource constrained, should remember this as they face challenges both big and small.