The Company We Keep is a column on the CN&CO blog that profiles some of the most interesting people in our networks. Here we share the details of the lives of people we know, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of our society and proving that people truly are at the heart of everything we do.

Joshua Nuttall, an associate of CN&CO, recently caught up with the team at Creativity Wake-Up. We got to know Nina Pearse and Celia Falkenberg through Nina’s husband Justin, who works at EasyEquities where CN&CO’s Carel Nolte is the CMO. A couple of our team mates also did a one-day creativity workshop with Nina and Celia last year.

Creativity is becoming an increasingly essential and sought-after skill. As the fourth industrial revolution marches on, with AI beginning to fulfil programmable work in all industries, the use of our creative brains is becoming one of the most valuable tools of our humanity.

Creativity Wake-Up works with teams to begin a process of recovering a creative mindset and re-igniting the ability to use and develop creative thinking in all spheres of life.

Here’s a quick note and update from Nina:

There’s no doubt in my mind that what the human race needs now, more than ever, is to develop our creativity.

Nina Pearse

The creative mindset is designed to find a way. The creative mindset sees possibilities where others see dead ends. It imagines a future that doesn’t exist yet. Creativity perseveres when things go wrong. It asks good questions, such as: ‘What if…?’ and ‘How might we…?’

Using our creative skill of association, we can connect things that were never connected before and come up with new products, new marketing channels, new ways of seeing and doing things, new and better ways of being.

We are really excited about the feedback we are getting from our students, which makes us even more committed to working hard and carrying on doing what we are doing. We’ve developed a practical step-by-step process to help people develop their creativity. Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen it work with our clients. In our new online course, 5 Day Wake-Up course, we take people briefly through this process, and we are so pleased with the results. People are telling us that they have experienced major shifts how they view the world and how they view themselves. They are changing their behaviour. They are feeling more positive and optimistic. They are seeing a future they couldn’t see before. What I find so encouraging is that people who felt stuck are now motivated and clear on their next steps.

Celia Falkenberg

Nkosini Ngwenya is a senior researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He was feeling stagnant in his work and unable to move forward on his doctorate. After the course he wrote to us: “Thank you Nina and Celia for a such a wonderful course. I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. For months I have struggled finding motivation to work on my doctorate and thanks to this course I realise now that I have allowed a lot of bad habits and procrastinating to put me off my studies. Now that my creativity has awoken, I am excited and cannot wait to get going again. Thank you for arming me with so much positivity.”

Another person told us that prior to doing the course she was quite depressed. Working in the travel industry, her entire livelihood has been wiped out and she had hit a wall. She explained that coming out of the course, she’s felt an internal shift. She has had new ideas, a fresh energy and is looking at her situation with a more solution-oriented mindset. She feels she has new power.

We can’t call ourselves Creativity Wake-Up and not take our own medicine. We keep having to pause and ask ourselves: Are we being creative here? We keep pushing boundaries and doing things that scare us. Like our first WhatsApp workshop. Yes, a workshop over WhatsApp! This was actually a suggestion by a brilliant entrepreneur and world-changer, Thabiso Sebata owner of Start Media and founder of AlexBiz.

Thabiso founded Alex Biz to support and help develop entrepreneurs in his local area, Alexandra. He has about 100 entrepreneurs in his group. Earlier this year, we had worked with Thabiso to set up a pro-bono workshop with a group of around 25 of his members in April. Once the Lockdown prevented us from getting together, Thabiso indicated that a virtual workshop over a platform such as Zoom wasn’t feasible for his group owing to the prohibitive cost of and access to data. He suggested that we do the workshop via WhatsApp over an eight-hour period, using voice notes, images and text.

It was a strange but incredible experience. We got a great response to our posts throughout the day, with lots of questions and input from people in the group. The feedback at the end of the day was very positive. A huge benefit is that the whole history of the interactions through the day is recorded in WhatsApp so that anyone who missed anything could go back and relook at the content.  

Here’s some feedback from that session (the many emojis not included!):

“I took many screenshots so I can revisit and practice these ‘life hacks’ you’ve shared with us today, and mostly thank you for instilling hope. This was exactly what I most needed during this Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing is impossible and it’s all in the mind.”

“I joined in late in the session, but it seems I was right on time. Because the minute I read about <doing a creative activity that I love> and having to envision myself doing it, it gave me such an amazing feeling I have not felt in a very long time. Wow! My sleeping part of the brain has been awakened!”

If you are keen to explore your own creativity, heard over to the Creativity Wake-Up website. You can join a free online lessons or take the 5-day challenge.

Here are a few blogs other blogs that you may enjoy.

Catch a Creativity Wake-Up

I wish someone told me NEVER to underestimate the work of a designer

Podcasts Of The People – stories of every day South Africans

We <3 the creative economy