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Our third faculty series blog posting from Sunil Gupta


(Mr. Sunil Gupta graduated in History from St. Stephen's in Delhi University, and in 1978 went on to obtain his MBA from FMS, Delhi University.)


Creativity, though its results may convey the impression of being something magical, is not the result of any magic at all.


What is Creativity? Many people equate it with ‘being different’. But one can be different for the sake of being different. Dressing outlandishly may make us stand out in a crowd, but perhaps not in the manner that we may want!


Actually, ‘creativity’ scares us as a concept. Many of us think that there are only some specially gifted people who corner the market on creativity.


And we cannot be more wrong.


All of us are, and must be, creative if we are to survive. Indeed the story of humanity is one of creativity, whether it be physical (striking two stones together to produce fire), or intellectual (inventing tools and weapons for hunting and farming), or even spiritual (creating religions and the concept of God).


So I believe that though Creativity is possible everywhere, we do not want to understand what makes it happen. I often ask the question: “What did Shakespeare/Mozart/Van Gogh have that we do not?” Were they super-humans, or possessed of magical powers denied to all of us, or born with innate talent that made them what they were and are?


And the answer is ‘of course not’. Talent they might have had, but surely that is not enough in itself to succeed! How often have we heard the term ‘wasted talent’? So what did they have that we don’t?


Think about it: Shakespeare had only the letters of the alphabet (as we all do), his historical knowledge and understanding of human emotions and relationships. Don’t we have all of these? And we even have the internet! The argument holds true for Mozart and Van Gogh and all the other icons of our world.


Then why can’t we write/paint/compose like them?


Creativity is simply how we combine our resources in ways that produce different, relevant, inspiring outcomes again and again. It follows that the more resources one has, the more combinations we can create, as any student of mathematics will tell you.


But to get more resources takes effort and time. To use them requires even more…Sachin Tendulkar, even though he might be blessed with abundant talent, still practices and trains regularly. Imagine if the first humans sat back after inventing spears and axes…would humanity be where it is today?


The difference simply is that all of them saw ‘Creativity’ as the relentless pursuit of ‘Excellence’. All stories of human Excellence, whether industrial, commercial, cultural or social are actually stories of Creativity in action. As they say, “the more one knows, the more there is to know”.


Indeed, it is no coincidence that both ‘Creativity’ and ‘Excellence’ comprise ten letters. For both are the two sides of the same coin, and both are infinite…the issue is how prepared are we to continuously leverage one to achieve the other.


But we must agree that ‘Excellence’ is a goalpost that we ourselves must keep shifting: only then will we understand that ‘Creativity’ is our only means of even reaching close.

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