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Mini Series: Celebrating Cerebral Creativity

Jumping from our functional creativity discussion of last week, we are moving ahead into cerebral creativity. We are classifying more intellectual forms of creativity in this category. This type of creativity belongs to many creatives who do not see this as creativity because there is no making with their hands or classical artistic lean to it. These are the planners, the quiet problem solvers, the marketing team, analysts, and innovators.

My encounters with cerebral creativity usually happen around the written word. Reading is my go to activity when I want to relax - and by relax I mean be taken on an emotional rollercoaster and sit in a variety of uncomfortable positions while I do so. This has been my favourite activity since the beginning of my life. It engages the brain in such a wonderful way - we make words out of chicken scratch on a dead tree, create visual images in our minds, gain meaning and comprehension from those words and narratives, and become emotionally invested in the characters. And do you know who we have to thank for this blissful experience? The creative behind the pages - the authors! Notice they never really get lumped in with artists? That’s because they are engaged in cerebral creativity.

This is the second path on my cerebral creativity journey. My appreciation for the written word extends beyond reading the work of others and has morphed into writing them myself both in novel and blog form. Above the language and the narrative, writing is a mental exercise. Creating story though, that is another level of cerebral creativity that requires depth and layers and motivation and character arcs and plot points all strung together in such a way that it both conforms to and plays with the rules of storytelling. Writing is an incredible tool for communication in any form it may take, but for me writing story is a wonderful expression of creative energy.

In my everyday career, Iuse cerebral creativity to solve patient’s pain problems. First through assessment techniques I gather information relating to their pain, biomechanics, history, past treatments, and daily activities. Then I sit with all of that information and plan out a course of treatment. This includes pulling from different modalities and clinical devices to address areas of pain. When it comes to constructing a custom made orthotics or modifying a shoe, before the functional creativity of making the thing comes into play, we have to think through the application of materials in relation to the patient, their daily life, and how it will manage their pain.

In addition to these examples, cerebral creativity also has a place in the land of fun and freedom when it comes to playing games. From playing make believe as kids to game night as adults, the kind of creativity we access is decidedly cerebral in nature. It is problem solving and strategic thinking. Yes, we follow rules, but operating within them takes finesse too. Creativity applies to all kinds of games from video games to board games and card games, to table top role play (you know I’m talking about D&D) games, creativity is the necessary ingredient to make game night a fun night for all.

The Short list of cerebral creativity



Dungeons and Dragons - in terms of campaign and character creation

Problem solving

Brain teasers


Strategy games


Data extrapolation

Engineering (the planning phases)

Marketing strategies

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