Pablo Picasso painted a rare portrait of Gertrude Stein, his patron and friend, in 1906. Despite some 90 sittings, Picasso completed the painting largely off-site, ending up with a figure with simple masses, and a face that bear more resemblance to an African mask. It was a visionary work that pre-empted his radically-abstract cubist phase. When someone commented that the painting did not resemble Stein, Picasso famously replied, “But… she will”!
Creative people alter the way we see the world. They introduce the surprising, even shocking, alternative to the things we take for-granted as permanent and unchanging. It must be said that it does not always work, but when it does, our world gets turned on its head. Suddenly, we wonder how we had put up so long with the bad and the ugly. Often, we even cry, “Why didn’t I think of that?”, or, “I could have done that!”. But the sad fact is that we did not, and the truth is that creativity is much harder than it seems.
Creative designers are reconfiguring our world everyday. They constantly re-visit old problems — such as the way we live, our furniture, clothes, and the tools we use — but frequently re-frame new ones — such as our response to climate change, the ageing population, and security; all striving to make our world a better, safer and happier place.