Crucially creativity is a journey not a destination, a process not a status. Every creative output has a lifecycle and as time and experience of the innovation in action unfolds, it will itself need to be adapted and reinvented again. I felt that creative people validate multiple viewpoints and approaches -not only the linguistic, logical and scientific, but also the visual, the musical, the interpersonal and the spatial. They acknowledge the creativities of different age groups, women and men and people of different cultural back- grounds. This allows them to tap into a rich resource by putting together different capabilities and knowledge in new ways.
Creativity is also value-free. It can be used positively or negatively, or with mixed results. The purpose to which creativity is put is what determines its value – which is why the concept of civic creativity is central to this book. I have realised too that creativity alone does not necessarily lead to success. Creative qualities need to be allied to others to ensure a creative idea or product passes a reality check. A combination of other characteristics – testing, trialling, management, and implementation skills -have a role. Yet in observing many good ideas and intentions fail, I saw the dangers of limiting creativity to the ideas stage of projects. It must run consistently from first insight to implementation, consolidation, dissemination and evaluation. The world does not divide into creators and the dull doers and boring support staff.
I realised too that understanding cultural resources required a new form of consultancy working with local teams, with diverse backgrounds, in amore participatory way. Being the detached observer was not enough: to get a feel for the city you had to be engaged, to see the factories, speak to the new entrepreneurs; to look at the night clubs and the alternative scene.
I began to see the limits of reports, so often stuffed into a drawer largely unread. I saw that changing someone’s mind and their way of looking at a problem could be worth ten thousand words. But this is not an easy process. How do you change thinking about cities? I began to ask people about places they liked, about their dreams and personal utopias, and I incorporated this approach to personal visions into day to day work. It revealed the gap between aspiration and current reality and highlighted the obstacles to achieving the ideal. Three factors became critical. First, given deep-seated changes affecting cities, a new way of thinking was required. Secondly, we needed real models to show what is meant by the creative city (….) Thirdly, there needed to be training opportunities to reflect on and develop ideas and practice with a peer group: this has now taken place annually since 1997 at the Amsterdam Summer School.
Charles Landry The creative city.