Idealog's Most Creative: ice cream connoisseur Giapo talks creativity

Auckland-based ice cream chef Giapo Grazioli won the People's Choice award for the hospitality category in Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People, and for good reason. He has spent the last few years pushing the concept of what could be understood as an ice cream as far as possible, incorporating 3D printing into his creations (chocolate colossal squid, anyone?), commissioning research on whether spores can be created in chocolate and collaborating with AUT to explore the relationship between music and ice cream. Here, he discusses creativity, finding inspiration and resilience.

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity is the art of creating something new. If there is nothing new, there is no creativity.

What do you think it is about your nature/habits/interests that makes you creative?

My team and I have formed a special mindset, where creativity is the drive not the talent or the skills needed to do the task. We are spiritual about it and when it happens we feel the heaven. 

What first drew you to your chosen field?

It happened by chance and misadventure, it is now my dream.  

What was your upbringing like, and how do you think that led you to where you are today?

I now understand the work my family did with me by raising me up with values like resilience, generosity, curiosity.  I give it all to mum and dad. 

My team and I have formed a special mindset, where creativity is the drive not the talent or the skills needed to do the task. We are spiritual about it and when it happens we feel the heaven. 

Where do your best ideas come from?

They are always an evolution of something that went wrong prior. I never have an 'AHA' moment. I don't believe they exist. 

What does inspiration look like for you?

I spend little or no time looking to be inspired. I know if it comes, it will find me working. 

Is there an ethos/motto you abide by in your work? 

If you have seen it anywhere else in the world, we will not do it. 

If there were a secret to success, what would it be?

Try and try and try and try and try and try and try.....

What were some of the challenges that you faced early on? What went wrong? Any regrets?

No regrets. I was naive. The good news is that none of the challenges i had when i started are here with me today. 

Do you work a lot?

Yes I do. It is what I do. I cannot be creative through somebody else.

Do you have an obsessive part to your personality?

Yes. There is some OCD in me, due to the fear of not being ready. I have that.   

What’s the secret to resilience?

Quitters are the only losers. It doesn't matter how many times you try, the only losers are the quitters. 

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

I don't see them. 

What do you think New Zealand is like for creativity? Is there something about ‘Kiwiness’ that helps or hinders?

I love New Zealand! 

What would be the advice you’d give someone who wants to turn their creative passion into a full-time gig?

It is harder than you think, it will work only if you are prepared to give everything in it.  

Giapo and his wife and business partner, Annarosa Petrucci Grazioli

What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

1. We should not fret, everybody else is as scared as we are. 2. We can not win the fears but we can learn to dance with them. 3. Inspiration is overrated. 4. Being lonely is good, lone wolves don't work in groups. 5. Have faith in your own human potential. 6. Enjoy the moment, not the destination. 7. we only compete with ourselves. 8. Family first, nothing else matters.    

Where to next? Do you have a goal you’re working towards?

I want to see New Zealand at the centre of the world for ice cream. 

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