by Liz Walter
Today’s post is about the language we use to talk about being creative. Creativity – being able to think of new and unusual ideas – is central to human life, and there are lots of great words to describe it.
Someone who creates something that has never been made before invents it. That person is an inventor and the thing they make is their invention. There is a nice phrase in English: Necessity is the mother of invention. This means that things often get invented when there is a real need for them:
Who invented antibiotics?
Gutenberg was the inventor of the printing press.
We made some great seats out of old sacks – after all, necessity is the mother of invention.
She has some really original ideas for furniture designs.
Some of these video games are really innovative.
If something inspires you, it gives you a good idea. We often talk about someone having a flash of inspiration. Slightly more informally, we could say they have a brainwave (UK), a brainstorm (US) or a bright idea:
Her designs are inspired by nature.
He had a flash of inspiration – why not use plastic instead of steel?
Adding a handle for carrying the chair was a brainwave (UK)/brainstorm (US).
How can we attach the pole? Does anyone have any bright ideas?
Someone who uses pioneering methods does things in a way they have never been done before. Something groundbreaking shows a big change from other things of the same type. This is a positive word, implying progress and improvement:
She used pioneering techniques in her operations.
Their research into nutrition was truly groundbreaking.
Blue-sky research/thinking is when people develop new ideas without worrying about how practical they are. To think outside the box is a nice idiom meaning to have ideas that are very unusual and not what people would expect:
We need some blue-sky thinking in the area of carbon capture.
The company likes to employ people who can think outside the box.
The first example of something that has been invented is known as a prototype, while if something is the newest and most modern version of something, we say it is at the cutting edge or use the adjective cutting-edge:
After two failed prototypes, they produced a working model of the machine.
These schools are at the cutting edge of educational techniques.
I hope you find these words useful. Use the comments to tell us about creative people and inventions from your country!