The relevance of relevance for creativity. (Episode 105)

The relevance of relevance for creativity. (Episode 105)

Interview with Tom Kindermans, Managing Director, Central and Eastern Europe at SAP.

Relevance is, arguably, one of the most underestimated powers of the creative process.

You see, creativity needs relevance. If something is not relevant to you, it’s not possible to be creative about it. Because when there is relevance, there is care, and if you do not care, then how can you even be creative?

Well, ok, perhaps you can be creative to a certain extent, but it is easier – by order a magnitude (!) – to be creative if what you are working on has relevance.

Relevance to you.

I learned about the connection between relevance and creativity from Tom Kindermans, Managing Director, Central and Eastern Europe at SAP.

Before taking his current job, Tom had actually retired. He spent months traveling the world ticking off places he had always wanted to visit from his bucket list: Machu Picchu, Bhutan – he went everywhere. But he did not feel satisfied with his new life. Something was missing: he had lost his relevance. After a life of making an impact working within organisations he now felt irrelevant.

Tom decided to get back to work. Or as he put it to me: “The impact you have on society when you work (in a senior position) is far, far higher when you are professionally active than when you are just enjoying life.”

Having experienced relevance, irrelevance and relevance again Tom has gained an interesting perspective on the connection between relevance and creativity.

Tom: “Creativity without relevance is just a hobby. Creativity with relevance is impact.”

Back in his new senior role at SAP, Tom is now using his sense of relevance and his creativity and putting them both to good use, be that helping his team reach their goals or getting involved in projects such as using “SAP Business Network” (an SAP system for buyers and suppliers to handle the procurement process) to help facilitate the shipments of aid to Ukraine.

His sense of relevance is fueling his creativity.

“Relevance” is simply the noun form of the adjective “relevant,” which means “important to the matter at hand.”

If you do not, in your body and soul, feel that that which you are creating is “important to the matter at hand”, then you will not invest your full creative capacity into it.

Want to be more creative? Want your creativity to flourish? Want to create on a higher level?

Then stop whatever creative project you are working on right now and ask: “How is this relevant to me? What is the relevance of this to me?”

When you hear your own answer to these questions, your creative force will take off.

And if you do not feel the answer, then that is an indication that something is wrong with what you are working on.

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