Boosting Creativity to Solve Societal and Planetary Challenges.

Humans are innately creative. Somewhere on the way though, many adults lose their courage to be creative. Convenience is easy and safe, but convenience rarely challenges the status quo! Creativity does! Creativity feeds innovation and innovation has the force to change the world for the better!

We need creativity to solve societal and planetary challenges to design spaces that promote human well-being and happiness 2022 and beyond.

I call this our creative intelligence, cf. emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence, and digital intelligence. You may exchange the word ‘intelligence’ with ‘literacy’.

In the scope of creative intelligence I’ve put together a few reflections on human development and learning in the times we live in.

We can create a better future. We are not victims to circumstances.

Humans thrive and are good at relationships, experiences and engagement.

Relationships: A trusting relationship is the foundation of what we can create together in a foreseeable future. With every human interaction you have, you scan the situation as safe or unsafe. That is socially safe, of course. We are not running away from lions and bears these days, but we want to make sure that the person in front of us is friendly. In a split second we read faces, we listen for indicators of friendliness in speech and we look at the body language. We search for rapport, are we on the same frequency level as this person, will this relationship be personally or professionally fruitful? A smile helps a lot, a joke even better. When we have fun together we feel safe, and creativity happens more easily. When you feel safe oxytocin is produced. Oxytocin is the neurotransmitter that is in our bodies when we feel safe, when there is love, when there is care.

Experiences: Humans learn best when we absorb experiences with all our senses. We get more motivated to learn and we learn better when we can connect our senses to what we are learning. We get more tempted too. Imagine walking past a bakery. The thought of getting some yummy cinnamon buns may instantly fly through your mind. Imagine walking into the perfume department at the airport. It smells cosmopolitan, it smells holidays, it smells of good memories! Imagine experiencing that special restaurant you saw on Instagram, the one with the special food. It’s mouth watering already before entering the restaurant. Imagine running and listening to your favourites songs. These songs can take you to an experienced moment that you loved, or even a desired moment that you would like to experience!

We have entered an experience economy. In our human illogical ways, we want both to be surprised by futuristic experiences, as well as being drawn into authentic lifestyles like the ones on eco-farms. When creating something memorable, create an experience! Think touch, smell, sight, taste, sounds.

Engagement: We like to engage H2H. This is something that the pandemic has clearly proven to us. Engagement comes when we find willingness to pursue on a purpose, a goal, we become driven and motivated to accomplish something.

If we look at the history of humans, one can see that we developed in small groups for the betterment of all in that group. When we are motivated and engaged to do something there is dopamine in our system and creativity flows easily. Engagement also inspires others to engage!

Collaboration. The future is not fixed. We can create it with our actions and non-actions. Humans are good at collaboration when it really matters. That’s how humanity evolved. The future is people, planet and purpose driven. When many things become automated we may be looking at the possibility of spending more time with what really matters to us. The question of purpose comes up. Something that humans always pondered.

A model like Ikigai can help you to understand your life purpose. Humans often feel that we are on purpose when we are at service for others, when we help and support our communities. It seems as we live longer too, when we collaborate with others and solve things together.

We need to collaborate in order to solve societal and planetary challenges. Wildfires don’t care about nationalities, wealth, religion and other things that may divide us. We are so small in universe. We live on a planet in a vast universe. Isn’t it about time we started unite in our humanity? Astronauts who saw earth from above come back to earth and wonder why we have wars. Borders are not seen from space.

New Success Formula. The new success formula is the balance of living healthily and living on purpose, which will feed prosperity and be more inclusive. The old success formula seems to have led us to the challenges we are facing now with a pandemic going on and climate change. We need sustainability for the planet first of all, and for ourselves as spices. I.e What is the point of getting a burn-out? Well-being needs to be enhanced at all levels. Without a good health, what are we?

Redesigning learning. Routine learning should be replaced with a focus on skills, concepts and interdisciplinarity: creativity, collaboration, ability to discuss, critical thinking skills, metacognition, multi – lateral problem solving/entrepreneurial learning, applied neuroscience, physical activity and well-being, individualised learning where everyone can develop themselves, a sense of belonging, student agency in age-neutral settings, a classroom without walls where authentic learning experiences happening within local and global contexts, for the betterment of many. You hear where I’m going. One fits all is utterly outdated.

Change. The pandemic has offered us a time to change, a possibility, an opportunity. We often change because of pain or love. The challenge with change is that humans innately wants to stick to what is known and are not so keen to change at first sight. We need to be convinced of its necessity. We need to be courageous. Change happens when there is motivation involved. Societal and planetary challenges become real when extreme weather hits your neighbourhood, for example.

Keep, develop bin. The reset and the possibility of the now. Through crisis, through chaos, comes creativity. We need the helicopter perspective to see what we need to keep, develop and bin. What serves us 2022? Which are the next stories of humanity. What will we write? How will we collaborate? What decisions are needed?

We believe what we tell ourselves. If we believe we can write a good future, chances are bigger that we do so.

Happiness. Happiness can’t be downloaded, it’s not an app. Aristotle said that happiness is the purpose of life, how to be happy as often as possible. If happiness is the purpose, then we need to do our inner work and know what makes us happy and do that often! Happiness comes when we can submerge into the moment and make it great. Aristotle also said that the quality of our lives is our capability to make the most of our now. This is another challenge for us humans, as we are wired for scenario planning of what could possibly go wrong.

Hmm, we are not so easy to deal with. However, there is a cure. We can practice our capabilities of being present in the now, by practising mindfulness.

People living in the so called Blue Zones live the longest on earth. Many reach the distinguished age of 100 years. What has been noticed amongst them, is the sense of belonging in a community, the focus on friendships, helping others, the closeness to nature, the daily physical activities, the plant based diet, the possibility to recharge. These are things to be inspired by.

Critical thinking skills. In the scope of creative intelligence we need to use our critical thinking skills and start asking ourselves if we are becoming the technology or if we are just simply using technology. That is a relevant and important perspective in 2022 and beyond. In addition: what does it mean to be human in a global age of technology? For example: Trip Advisor never had a nice meal, but have information about nice meals. Data + information vs. wisdom are two different things. We need to start thinking of what we value, what is real. How do we define real? Is a concert in the Metaverse real for you? Are designer clothes made for AR/VR real? Holograms and 3D boards exist already. How will we use them in mainstream culture in a nearby future? When will our smartphones be replaced? When will humans with computer chips be common in our society? When will designer babies be a reality? How will it all match with humans needing the human touch, hugs, kisses, being close to each other to feel well?

We also need to become more critical to what we see and read in news media. Deep fakes are already difficult to distinguish from real films. This is important to think of when it comes to understanding political ideas and the way they are presented to us.

Law & ethics. We need governmental decisions on how to use A.I, our data, and biological engineering. We need tighter laws that protect young people on social media, to fight against cyber bullying. This part here is an area that needs a blogpost of it’s own.

People know purpose, know passion and have values. Robots don’t.

We need to use our creative intelligence when redesigning life, to promote human well-being, happiness and sustainability 2022 and beyond.

Yvette Larsson,


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