The Creative Edge

There is a great discrepancy between what we know about the creative process, and our ability to use this knowledge to gain a creative edge. First, I would like to look at the ideal conditions that foster creativity in the individual. Then, I will focus on how I try to gain a creative edge in the real world.

According to Silvano Arieti, a noted psychiatrist and author of “Creativity: The Magic Synthesis,” there are five conditions that foster creativity in the individual: aloneness, inactivity, daydreaming, free thinking, and alertness and discipline.

Let’s take a look at the first, aloneness. According to Arieti, “Aloneness is recommended as creative work is in progress.” Certainly, corporate life argues against it. Imagine today’s perfumer, bombarded by telephone calls, beseiged by meetings of all kinds, pulled by conflicting requests from salespeople, evaluators, customers— begging for some quiet time to get inspired and experiment on a new accord! Not an ideal situation; yet we continue to create. In fact, the emphasis today is on teamwork. And while an original idea seldom is generated by a team, the team effort is useful and often necessary to finish a perfume, particularly when creators arrive at an impasse.

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