Dr Robert Muller

Creativity — a necessary prerequisite for success, or an over-rated concept that cannot be learnt? The debate rages on. However, in my work as an academic and in community-building, I have been fortunate enough to work with students and community activists who are truly gifted in terms of creativity.

So, what characteristics do they have that make them stand out from the rest of the population? From my observations (although I have not tested these assertions), there are five key characteristics of creative people that they use to plan, construct, implement, and maintain whatever it is that they have chosen to do. These characteristics are outlined below.


This is a key characteristic because it involves a mindset that suggests that there may be more than a single answer or solution to any particular issue or problem. Flexible thinkers are not hemmed in by being overly-focused on one way of doing things and tend to be open to innovation. They also have the capacity to understand when something is not working and then to change to an alternative solution/approach.

(image: blogs.psychcentral.com)

A sense of intense curiosity

Creative thinkers are fascinated with the world around them. They ask lots of questions, and tend to develop a very intense focus that takes them into almost a reverie as they try to discover how something works, or the detail of a beautiful structure, or anything else they set their mind on.

(image: bigquestionsonline.com)

Positive attitude

A positive attitude is essential for thinking creatively as it is this positivity that spurs the mind on to seek detail, wonder, and, indeed, solutions. This is linked strongly to my previous point about intense curiosity. A person who thinks negatively tends to block out possibilities, and not look at the world around them with such detailed wonder.

(image: readersareleadersngn.net)

Strong motivation and determination

This is where the hard work of the creative comes in. So, we can all have creative thoughts — but what use is creativity if it doesn’t actually show itself to the world in an act of construction or creation? From creating software solutions for major problems, through to creating social capital through community building, or painting a work of art, creativity requires the follow-through that can only come from strong motivation and determination. Without this, creative ideas will only reside within the mind of the individual without having the opportunity to influence society and/or the community.

(image: commonswikimedia.org)


This is an interesting characteristic because highly creative people tend to believe in the VALUE of the ideas they come up with. Remember, they are also flexible, so they are willing to change; however, they do not seem to be worried about whether their idea is right or wrong because they believe that their idea brings value to the field in which it resides, even if it may later be debunked.

Whether you work in the realm of the arts, or in business, or in community capacity building, it is important to recognise the creative people in your team, but also to cultivate these characteristics, because creativity can be learned.



On Kaurna Land; Research Fellow, Disinformation/Nation-State Resilience; Sociologist; Thesis Guide/Editor: https://drrobmuller.com/ & https://www.linkedin.com/


Aug 13, 2018


So … we have moved so far from nature — or have we?

I mean, I’m not a spiritual guy. I don’t believe in any higher being, and I certainly don’t believe God or any such concept. And yet … I walk into the forest and I feel peace. Let me fill you in.

I work from home — my work is in community building and education, but when I want inspiration, I head for the forest which is within a ten minute drive of my home.

(Image by Dr Robert Muller)

Give me the blue sky, the animals running…

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Aug 13, 2018


Community is one the major sources of resilience as it is within community that the person has the possibility of being nurtured and cared for. Let us unpack this notion of community to gain a better understanding of the precise ways in which strong community can support the building and maintenance of resilience.

(image: bulmerfoundation.org.uk)

Firstly, community itself is a source of resilience as when people come together, there is an inherent sense of always having someone with the skills, abilities or the desire to help when it is needed. …

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Aug 12, 2018


(Image: thequotes.net)

A vital part of the resilience toolbox is the notion of exploring the good life. This has been a major topic of debate over the centuries, starting with the ideas put forward by Aristotle and Epicurus, both great Greek Philosophers of the Classical Age of Athens.

Aristotle professed that the ‘good life’ could be attained through balance and moderation in all aspects of life, from eating and drinking through to doing business. Rather than an Eastern circular notion of ‘completing the cycle’ through balance, for the Greeks, balance and moderation was more of a pendulum in which the…

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(Image: classicalwisdom.com)

The philosophy of bourgeois society, after the rise of the middle-classes, was based on utilitarianism, which, according to Daniel Bell, is ‘a hedonistic calculation of pleasure and pain’. Such beliefs and ways of conduct partly paved the way for modern-day hedonism. Such hedonism is characterised by Bell as “the idea of pleasure as a way of life”. Furthermore, Bell argues that hedonism now provides the basis for the cultural justification of capitalism. Bell calls such hedonism ‘fun morality’.

In the contemporary era, if a person is not having fun, there is a period of soul-searching in which the…

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Aug 12, 2018


(Image: monipag.com)

Co-creation and the sharing economy are essentially about building a resilient community and a resilient local economy which allows the members of that community to become more resilient because of the opportunities it creates and because of the network of support it offers.

Basically, co-creation is the bringing together of two or more parties to create shared value which is mutually acceptable to both parties. If it is not mutually acceptable to both parties, then it is not co-creation.

The sharing economy is a form of collaborative consumption of resources, including ideational resources, to produce greater overall value…

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