Mini Series: A Focus on Functional Creativity
Creativity comes in many forms. This week I want to focus on the ways functional creativity has impacted my life and the ways in which creativity can show up in all our lives in ways we may not expect. Functional creativity encompasses creative efforts that serve a working function - and we’re not talking about decoration. We are honing in on creative pursuits that produce a functional effect on the physical world or serve a purpose to a group of people we are working with.
My journey in functional creativity spans kinesiology and pedorthics. Within the realm of kinesiology, I was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Creating programs for individuals based on goals and ability, while keeping it fun and engaging is a challenge. I trained people with spine injuries that required special considerations in balance training and time in the pool. I trained a child with a movement disorder that made me find new ways to use classic equipment and forced me to find the fun in exercise again, treating it like a game rather than a program. In group fitness there is an added layer of creative challenge in bringing a room full of different abilities together in a common space and all feel comfortable and confident. Every decision from exercise selection to the playlist, to the equipment choices and my energy level had to factor into a functional program that worked with the clientele, the space, and the expectations of the labelled class.
When I stepped away from functional programming, I stepped into the world of pedorthics, marrying my love for assessment and biomechanics with creative, functional, practical solutions for lower limb pain. When we see a patient and complete an assessment we take into account their lifestyle, activity level, pain, biomechanics and anatomy. From this we put together a picture of pain and then have to draw on our knowledge of materials and fit them together in such a way that we address the issues found in our assessment that will functionally work with the client’s pain, shoes, and lifestyle. Of course we put our craftsmanship skills into it to make the product pleasing to the eyes, but at the end of the day, if it’s frankensteined together, but it works and functions for the client, helping to reduce their pain, that’s the bigger win.
Another fun functional moment of creativity in our daily lives relates to our kitties. We have a kitten, Rowena, who loves to play fetch, but she isn’t large enough to use a ball or stuffed animal. Instead we found large pom poms that she loves to chase and bat around. Now, when we take trips to the craft store, it’s simply to pick out the best sized pom poms for our Row to chase around.
Functional creativity id creativity with a purpose. Wanting to workout for your health is a great goal, but some people just don’t want to be stuck in a gym or take a class. For those people, we need to be creative in our approach to exercise, find ways for it to fit into their daily lives, benefit a current practice or become a fun activity they look forward to. That might look like running a session in the park, teaching them how to use playground equipment for a functional work out while their children play, or getting them involved in something like Barre fitness or Zumba; both of which are current examples of functional creativity.
Other examples of functional creativity include, but are not limited to:
DIY furniture/repurposing old things in new ways
Home improvement projects