Today is World Creativity and Innovation Day. As someone who has enjoyed a long career in the creative development process, what does creativity mean to you?
Ivan: Creativity comes in many forms. It can mean different things to different people. Ultimately, however, it’s about having the freedom to pursue the things that are most important to you.
No single profession can claim a monopoly on creativity – it comes from the passion, desire and courage to try new things. The term is conventionally associated with people who work in the world of art, such as illustrators, designers, musicians and actors. But the technological advancement of the 21st century has given some degree of creative licence to a whole host of different professions – doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and game developers are now among those whose job now demands creativity and innovation.
Do you ever find it hard to think creatively?
Ivan: Creative inspiration comes and goes. New ideas may occur to you at unexpected times– and on some days, not at all. At one time or another, we all get frustrated by the loss of creative output. All you can do is believe in yourself, work hard and never give up. Do that, and new ideas will come eventually. Inspiration may come and go, but creativity is the result of constant practice.
What other obstacles do you face during the creative process? How do you overcome them?
Ivan: The drive for discovery can be exciting and terrifying in equal measure. We all face fears – it’s part of being human. Whether it’s a fear of failure, uncertainty or taking the first step, everyone knows what it’s like to be afraid.
Courage, however, comes from the realisation that everyone else is scared, too. Understand that, and you’ll overcome your fears. Not every idea will prove successful, but nobody ever innovated by playing it safe and avoiding risk.
What is the importance of creativity for business?
Ivan: Today’s economy is defined by globalisation, interconnectivity and competition. That makes it impossible to stand out without thinking outside the box. Creativity is the driving force for innovation – and that’s what will make your company stand out from the crowd.
Here at Evoplay Entertainment, our hiring policy puts a strong emphasis on the creative process, rewarding those who are brave enough to try something new. That’s why our business prides itself on breathing fresh vision into an industry that, in many ways, lacks creativity.
What methods do you use to channel your creativity? Are there any rituals you use to decide on a game concept?
Ivan: At the outset of any game development process, I like to create a bank of ideas and fill it with anything I can think of. Imagination is a state of mind, and you never know when the next idea will arise – at work, eating breakfast, in the middle of the night, during exercise or even in the shower.
Of course, that’s just my personal method, and everyone has their own individual techniques. There are no right or wrong answers, but you must balance the free flow of ideas with logic, reason and reality. In our industry, for instance, it’s important to avoid focusing on concepts that do not match up to what players want.
Expertise means knowing the difference between a good idea and a bad one – and it’s built on years of monitoring industry trends, immersing yourself in developing technologies and constantly trying out the latest games. To produce a game that revolutionises the industry, it’s vital to understand which products are in-demand among players but do not exist in today’s market.
Finally, what advice would you give those trying to think of ground-breaking new ideas on World Creativity and Innovation Day?
Ivan: Never be afraid to fail. There is a far-Eastern expression that says, ‘losing is the mother of winning’. Throw caution to the wind, don’t be afraid to break a few rules and let your creativity overcome your fears.