The Creativity Gap

Creativity defies prediction.

In fact, as far as arb phenomena go, creativity itself is more the domain of art than it is of science. It is sweaty and red-blooded. Tempestuous. Irrational. Stranger than fiction.

To make creativity a little more intelligible, ‘The Creative Question’ co-authors Albert Rothenberg and Carl Hausman adopt the view that ‘creativity is both determined and undetermined at the same time.’ Rollo May, an existential psychologist, takes it a step further by suggesting that ‘it [creativity] must be the totality of ourselves that understands, not simply reason.’

The truth is that no one decides when––or even, how––creative ideas are born. As an employed creative whose teeth are cut on the ideas they sell, it’s unsettling to think that the creative process remains a prosthetic limb.

Of course, we can peer in and dissect it, and put it under a lens to try and understand it, but at some point creativity leaps from A to B to X to Y to everything in-between.

So, where does creativity come from?

Many years ago, researcher Graham Wallis set down a description of what happens as people approach problems with the objective of coming up with creative solutions. The ‘Wallis Model of the Creative Process,’ the result of his efforts, broad strokes it into four stages: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

At its core, it suggests that creativity is high-level alchemy –– the art of turning raw material (information, experience and knowledge) into blue ribbon ideas. To its credit, famed polymath Michael Polanyi attempts to explain creativity through a concept of personal knowledge, which forms a bridge between the subjective and the objective, and a bridge between the explicit and implicit.


It is creativity in terms of a meeting of the conscious with the unconscious.


The networked knowledge and combinatorial nature of creativity is something The Fort has always been passionate about, and for close to a decade now, it has translated theory into practice for businesses, brands and household names operating in real, complicated and imperfect industries of every kind.

However, while the theory from a book is always useful, there is little to no incentive or opportunity to offer an opinion and receive a response. It’s simply a one-way flow of information. As social creatures, others’ work and experiences resonate more with us when we have the opportunity to engage with them, making shared knowledge platforms an important part of understanding creativity.

The Fort Review, our attempt at closing the creativity gap, aims to strike a finer balance between timely and timeless ideas through monthly thought leadership pieces written and researched by members of The Fort team to better connect theory with practice. It hopes to add value and relevance to creatives of varying disciplines and those in the sometimes unfortunate position of managing them by addressing a topic which is both critical and sorely overlooked into today’s crop of journals, blogs and publications: how to create effectively.

Yes, everything is a remix, and all ideas are secondhand. As Mark Twain aptly put it, ‘The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.’


Welcome to The Fort Review: A Creative Perspective.

Auryn Hiscock is the Editor of The Fort Review.