I was honored when one of my co-workers here at Hopeworks ‘N Camden reached out to me and asked if she could interview me for one of her Doctorate courses at Saint Joseph’s University. The interview was all about creativity and took me down a road that I was not expecting to be on when I first said yes to the interview.
True Creativity: Reflections from an Interview with Joe Pardo
September 13, 2017
Creative Problem Solving
Saint Joseph’s University
C.E.M Joad, an English Philosopher, is quoted as saying, “creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” This was a common theme throughout an interview with Joe Pardo, Web Director at Hopeworks ‘N Camden. Joe was selected because he has shown an ability to successfully master multiple creative avenues including web design, book writing, t-shirt design, music, blogs, podcasting, and videos. Throughout the interview, he would often reference this notion that true creativity is hard to achieve because so much of what we see is just a replication of something else that already exists. The discussion with him was helpful in understanding how to achieve true creativity as well as how to overcome obstacles to one’s creativity.
Before we can understand Joe’s understanding of how to achieve true creativity, we must first look at his early experiences with creativity. He feels his creativity was influenced early on by video games, cartoons, and fantasy play. At the age of six, he recalls hysterically crying to his grandparents about not ever wanting to work for his family business. It was this very moment that he was given permission to be creative and to unleash his creative potential. He talks about how people are often forced into submission which in turn interferes with creativity confidence. The experience of his creativity being validated by his grandparents was the key to setting the tone for his creative future.
For Joe, he feels that creativity is something that many people claim to be but there are very few things that he would consider as original. He talks about how a lot of what we think of as creative is actually more or a repackaging of something that probably already existed but was just introduced to an audience that had never seen it before. He works hard to avoid this. He shared that the ability to bring out different perspectives is one of the keys to his creative success. There are several things that he does to protect his creativity confidence. The first is that he tries not to take input from others as it is often the stories and feedback of others that creeps into ideas which then interfere with original thinking. He then shared that when he does take in input, either through watching/listening to something, he listens not for ideas but to analyze the composition. He highlights analytical thinking and curiosity as keys to creativity. Finally, he shared that the minute he gets and idea, he starts by googling it to see if it is truly unique. He feels that it is a waste of his creative energy to flesh out ideas that someone else has already done.
In conclusion, this interview has helped to reinforce the importance of self care, time, and support in order to unleash one’s creativity potential and confidence. There are several ways to respond to blocks in one’s creativity and it is important to find what works for the individual. But, it is most important to recognize what triggers the blocks and to ensure that the individual is creating an environment that is conducive to unleashing true creativity and not interfering with it.