Seth Godin had a post today about creativity. In it he talks about how, for him, creativity is what happens at the edges of the normal routine. As such, what is creative for one person, may be rote routine for another.
Seth's post is a good reminder that creativity can take any form, and is not dependent on the tools or skills used in the process. It's easy to think of people with drawing skills as more creative than people with spreadsheet skills, but is that really true? I would contend that a photo-realist painting may exhibit extraordinary skill, but it may require less creativity than developing a spreadsheet for a new business model that disrupts an industry. And even then, the processes used to arrive at a finished product may require far more creativity than the uniqueness of the product may let on.
Every day, I see people making quick assumptions about creative ability based on initial observations. This is a good reminder to really engage people and ask how they arrived at their conclusions, why they made the choices they made or used the tools they used. I find that those answers usually change my initial perceptions, and I am able to find remarkable thinking in what superficially seemed mundane.