Casey Muller: I am...Creative.
As the creative strategist for the LSU College of Engineering, Casey Muller is constantly exploring new ideas and finding new ways to incorporate creativity into his work. Muller explains that creativity is not something that needs to be chased after, but you have to just let it happen. “If I had to describe it, creativity to me is a process that leads to joining seemingly disparate ideas into a novel creation,” said Muller.
In his work at LSU, Muller instills creativity daily by keeping an open mind regarding the viewpoints of others.“I expose myself to different cultures and attitudes, philosophies and beliefs, and artistic mediums and scientific research,” explains Muller. “I need a rich bank of ideas to draw upon in order to combine [ideas] for the right creative solution to the design problem I’m working on.”
Muller enjoys encouraging his peers to indulge their imagination and he believes that this works wonders to achieve a high level of innovation in the work place. “I like to joke around with my coworkers. A sense of play can do a lot to unlock one’s creativity,” said Muller. Muller’s lighthearted approach has an extremely positive impact on the work that comes from their office.
Muller also emphasizes the importance of comradery and teamwork in fostering creativity in the work place. “I also like to take a collaborative approach to my design projects with my internal ‘clients’ and with my coworkers,” states Muller. “Different perspectives can often help generate those ideas that I wouldn’t have arrived at by myself.”
Muller admits that creativity can sometimes be a challenging thing to cultivate in one’s self. “One of the most challenging things I find about being creative is the pressure I put on myself to make everything bigger and grander than the last thing,” Muller shares. “Many times, I expect myself to reinvent the wheel for every project when most of the time, a more straightforward approach is best.”
Throughout Muller’s many years of experience in creative and design fields, he is a firm believer that imaginativeness is naturally born on its own and cannot be manipulated into action. “I think my best ideas happen when I’m not trying to force a good idea into the open. But a blank page is a scary thing, so I often have to resist the urge to jump ahead of the process and make things happen,” explains Muller.
Muller combines creativity with his work in the College of Engineering by focusing on creating problem-solving solutions. “I try to let the problem dictate the solution,” explains Muller. “Like in engineering, the key to solving a problem lies in correctly identifying the problem.”
Muller inspires others to think creatively through his own creative work as well as by encouragement. “The purpose of the design I do for engineering is to affect an audience in some way—to educate, to spur action, or even to inspire,” explains Muller. “I try to inspire others to think creatively by encouraging new ideas, not discounting things because they look like they might not work at first glance.” Muller has found that his support resonates with his peers and creates an atmosphere of innovation in his workplace, where no idea is stupid. “I just try to encourage open-mindedness in exploration and experimentation without pre-judging the ideas,” explains Muller. This imaginative approach fosters success in Muller’s own department and represents the creativity that is a central component of LSU’s identity.