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World Creativity and Innovation Day: An idea to change the world

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After 17 years, United Nations will officially mark World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21 for the first time. By 2020, creativity will be one of the top skills employees will need to keep ahead of the curve. Pritha Banerjee looks at how creativity became mainstream

We all get bright ideas every morning in the shower but lose them by the time we step out of it. There is never enough space in our brain, amidst the chaos of daily thoughts and plans, for an idea that could possibly be a game changer. Creativity and innovation are the few things that make life interesting and fulfilling. Then, why is that despite having innate creativity, most of us have difficulties channelising it into something more ‘productive’?

Perhaps that’s why in 2017, the United Nations (UN) recognised April 21 as an official World Creativity and Innovation Day to encourage the inherent creativity in every human. Starting from April 15, 2018—as a buildup to the World Creativity and Innovation Day (WCID) on April 21—the UN will officially mark the WCID week to celebrate the creative human mind, and encourage people to be innovative about making the world a better place to live.


Add quirkiness and creativity to your footwear with customised canvas shoes

The history of WCID
The WCID week begins on the birth anniversary of the most famous creative person known on the planet: Leonardo da Vinci. According to the official WCID website, “On April 27, 2017, the United Nations resolved to include World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, as a Day of Observance to encourage people to use creativity in problem-solving for all issues related to achieving the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.”

WCID was actually born 17 years ago in Toronto, Canada, of an idea that Marci Segal got after she read a headline “Canada in Creativity Crisis: Study” in the National Post.

In a video lecture on [www.wciw.org](http://www.wciw.org/) , Segal can be heard saying, “Creativity isn’t what it used to be. Creativity used to be marginalised, now it is mainstream. Creativity used to be feared, and now it’s welcome.” In the same video, Segal who is a Canadian, recounts about the time she announced to her family that she was going to The State University of New York in Buffalo, she was met with a collective incredulity. But she persisted. According to her, World Creativity and Innovation Day exists because of Dr Sidney J Parnes, who co-founded the International Center for Studies in Creativity.

Chocolate-shaped diary along with other stationery

The not-so-blank canvas
We have all been creative about something or the other at least once in our life. But today the world needs its thinking inhabitants to be creative almost everywhere—be it business, economics, science and technology.

A boring task becomes fun when there is a bit of innovation to it. ‘Same old’ no longer cuts it. With this in mind—and a dream to spread happiness—a team of professional artists, creative designers, and leading innovators came up with Lazy Jojo.

This is a website—created to be something beyond ordinary—where you can buy quirky canvas shoes, which will have personalized print according to your choice. “We provide more than 300 designs on the website under eight categories that include Bollywood, Doodles and Patterns, Travel, High Life, Music, Cartoons and Superheroes, Sports and Romantic. And, that’s just for the people who are looking for readymade options. The USP is to deliver high quality funky, quirky and customised canvas shoes at affordable price,” says Saket Agarwal, founder and CEO of the company.

At Lazy Jojo, creativity and technology go hand-in-hand: Latest software and high-end technology help the team turn dream designs into reality. “It takes just 15 minutes for the customers to create a design and place the order. We ensure that the customers receive the products within seven working days,” claims Agarwal. “We’re planning to come up with superhero designs and add more to our collection of doodles, patterns and travel.”

Weird and wacky
Another instance of creative thinking turned a hobby into business for Ashmi Kothari. Her company Blue Tomato and The Quirky Company showcases out-of-the-box products that have quirk and use. It is a result of passion and hobby which encouraged Kothari to start an Instagram page dedicated to high-end, personalised quirky products. “At Blue Tomato, we create unique design solutions to enrich any event—birthday parties, weddings, baby showers—whereas The Quirky Company is dedicated for whacky gadgets,” says Kothari.

Imagine, a USB cup warmer in the shape of chocolate, and a pen that smells like cupcake. “There are products that you wouldn’t have imagined existed. Both these pages are currently home-based ventures in Mumbai that has grown through word-of-mouth and exhibitions,” says Kothari.

USB biscuit-shaped cup warmer

No one is ‘not creative’
Human beings are born creative; from an early stage, humans find innovative ways to navigate through life. While some people are more creative than others, it does not mean a person has no creativity. For children, especially, creativity is an important learning process.

“It plays a vital role in the overall development of a child. Thus, we have a piece of art, music or drama as a part of curriculum in every school. A child develops problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, and language through these extra-curricular activities. When a child has the opportunity to experiment or create something, the process and the information embeds itself into long-term memory,” explains Archana Sharma, a clinical psychologist.

“Creativity and generating ideas is a process in our brain. There are three parts of the brain that operates as a team: first generates ideas, second evaluates them, and third identifies which ideas are passed along between the two,” says Sharma.   India was one of the 31 countries that was listed to have celebrated WCID 2017—albeit only one company in Chennai was listed. It is, however, disheartening to see that the first ever UN-recognized World Creativity and Innovation Day will not be marked officially in India.