What Ricky Gervais Can Teach Us About Creativity

Fareeha Khan


What do a slapstick British comedian, a media agency, and government bureaucracy have in common? Answer: The need for creative problem solving!

Creativity is hugely important to the work we do here at NJI Media. And staying creative takes practice. Who better to learn about how to keep those innovative juices flowing than to take tips from everyone’s favorite “Office” mate, Ricky Gervais?


Gervais is an expert on creativity as a successful comedian and producer, which requires out of the box thinking on the job. He has written extensively on his methods, providing us with invaluable insight. His theory is that creativity comes from play. If you don’t allow yourself to play around, you’re stifling potential ideas from reaching fruition.

“Let me explain. Scientific studies of creativity have basically concluded that [creativity] can’t be taught, as it is a “facility” rather than a learned skill. Putting it very crudely, creativity is the ability to play. And, to be able to turn that facility on and off when necessary…Everything I’ve ever written, created or discovered artistically has come out of playing.”

Ricky Gervais

What Gervais can teach us here is that allowing yourself the freedom to play around with ideas and learn from your mistakes will give you the edge you need in any industry.

To put this into practice, here are some tips on how to pump more creativity into your business:

1. Start with a brainstorm session. You can use our best brainstorm tips to get you started.

2. Make sure to write every idea down on paper — not matter how seemingly random or silly. Allow yourself to play with anything that comes to mind!

3. Then, tinker with each one, choose your favorites, and mold it to see how it can fit into your needs. If they don’t work, then we have the valuable experience of learning from our mistakes in the process. 

How will this help your business? If you’re in a large corporate setting, it will mean coming up with innovative solutions to refresh the system. If you work in PR, this could help you come up with a creative campaign that would set you miles ahead of your competitors.

When you’re stuck for fresh, new ideas – allow yourself the freedom to play around instead of waiting for inspiration to strike. That might be the most important take away advice from one of our generation’s most successful comics.

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