The Creative Footprint: Reflections on #CreativityChat

The students in #CreativityChat have been studying principles of creativity and lessons from top creative business leaders. In the weekly reflections, Janice Pearce (@janopoly) compared the notion of one’s digital footprint, which we studied in our Social Media Marketing course, to that of a creative footprint. She recognized that just as the Social Technographics Ladder illustrates common online behaviors, those same behaviors could be thought of as levels of engagement in other aspects of life as well, including creativity. Drawing from her analysis of top creative leaders,  Janice writes,

Why was I ‘reflecting’ on this you may ask?  Even thought the Social Technographics ladder is applicable to participation in social media I think it can be generally applied to the way people contribute to society too. Think about it, some people go through life and do absolutely nothing to contribute or make a mark. Others watch what is happening around them, but nothing more.  Some people actively join in, others criticize the creativity around them, so forth and so on.  Then, there are a select few who make an impact on the world around them as a creator.  I don’t mean the great creators like DaVinci, Dickenson, Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa (not that they aren’t included). I mean, regular everyday people like you and me creating something to leave in the world.

Coming off of a week of soul searching and refusing to settle for mediocrity, I found myself considering my role in the world. As I went through this unit’s material and especially as I read through many of the 100 Most Creative People in Business and the 2013 Creativity 50 bios, I thought about my own creative footprint.  At first, I was excited to have developed a new term, but I was sorely disappointed after I Googled it and found someone beat me to it. Here’s how it happened. I started with the idea of the digital footprint, or the trail of posts, images, etc. that we share online that collectively represent us as individuals.  I was thinking that there should be a similar idea for creativity.  Someone else already thought the same thing. A creative footprint, “encompasses, explores and examines the ways in which we and other creatures leave marks on culture and community”(Dennis, 2013).  What kind of creative footprint am I leaving on the world?  Am I just a spectator, or a critic that comments on the works of others every week in my marketing creativity course?  Am I happy with the answer? What about you?  What does your creative footprint look like?

Ultimately, as I reflected on the work of Christy Burns (my top 100 forum pick) and some of the others (Jill Applebaum and Megan Sheehan, Connie Britton, Shonda Rimes) I came to one conclusion.  These people are no different than me.  If I want, I can be on the Top 100 or Creative 50 list.  The only thing stopping me is myself.  I think we often limit ourselves by assuming we can only do so much with our creativity, but that isn’t true.  If creativity had a ceiling, we wouldn’t have amazing works of art, good movies, or best sellers on the NY Times. SOMEBODY has to be the creative who comes up with this stuff.  Why not me?  Why not you?  I am challenging myself to change my creative footprint right now.  I am going to expect more from myself for the simply fact that there is no reason not to!

Janice is right. We all make a creative footprint in this world and that footprint can be deep and expressive and go far… or not. Comments welcome on your creative footprints!


Dennis, M. (2013). Comic Books, FaceBook, Lady GaGa, and Sarah Palin. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from Creative Footprint:


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