Big C and Little c Creativity
Big C creativity is defined as memorable, defining, and far-reaching outcomes that change the course of fields, disciplines, and industries. Stories and examples that permeate the news generally deal with Big C creativity. This is because such creativity can affect many people—communities, cultures, and other global groups.
An example of big C creativity is the invention of the steam engine, which revolutionized various forms of travel, energy production, and manufacturing: providing the basis for numerous industries. The invention of the steam engine had far reaching results that had an impact on much of society’s functioning.
However, there is another sort of creativity, which is described as little c creativity. This brand of creativity represents everyday life enhancements that can enrich human existence and improve lives. It may not lead to the creation of new products or mega deals between international groups, but it represents a heightened personal experience of creativity.
Life hacks is another term for little c creativity. These strategies represent human responses to simple, but pesky problems that individuals face in day-to-day life. Employing a life hack can make life a little easier as the hack is a response to a minor obstacle. There are thousands of life hacks described online. Included are ideas on how to keep the pizza warm on the way home: turn on your car’s seat heater. Another suggests that if you want to avoid hitting your thumb with a hammer: use a clothespin to hold the nail.
Another example of little c creativity comes from Canine Companions for Independence. This national nonprofit organization was looking for ways to solicit donations to help refurbish its residential dorm rooms at its regional training center in the Southwest region of the United States. A volunteer considered the idea of a gift registry (bridal/baby) where specific products are earmarked as desirable and friends can purchase products in various quantities and for a range of prices. Borrowing from the concept of registries, the organization adapted a registry at a local store to meet its need for donated goods. The idea was a success; products specified on the store registry were purchased and donated.
While it is tempting to suggest that there is more value to humankind in the activation of big C creativity, this outlook is limiting. Also, the comparison is moot. The ways to promote big C creativity and little c creativity are the same.