1. Creativity can be defined as ‘power to create or bring into existence’.

Creativity is marked by the ability/power to create—to bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or “bring into existence something new”.

A product is creative when it is a)novel and b) appropriate. A novel product is original, nor predictable. The bigger the concept, and the more the product stimulates further work and ideas, the more the product is creative (defying the crowd—to “stand out” from the crowd, to “ex-sist”). Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. Out of the creative act are born symbols and myths. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness-ecstasy (Rollo May, The Courage to Create).

Creativity has two parts: thinking, then producing. Innovation is embedded in the creative process. It is the implementation of creative inspiration or new breath. Innovation is the introduction of something new or different. It is “the intersection of invention and insight, leading to the creation of social and economic value” (Necessity is the mother of invention).

Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries. Innovation arises from ongoing circles of exchange, where information is not just accumulated or stored, but created. Knowledge is generated anew from connections that were not there before. Innovation requires a fresh way of looking at things, an understanding of people, and an entrepreneurial willingness to take risks and to work hard. An idea does not become an innovation until it is adopted and incorporated into people’s daily lives. Most people resist change, so a key part of innovating is convincing other people that your idea is a good one, by enlisting their help, and in doing so, by helping them. Show the usefulness of the idea (post-it notes, steam engine, detergent, automobile).

Creativity and Genius (Myths about genius): Beliefs that only special, talented people are creative and you have to be born that way (for ex. musicians) diminish our confidence in our creative abilities and education. The notion that geniuses such as William Shakespeare, Pablo Picasso and Amadeus-Wolfgang Mozart were ‘gifted’ is a myth, according to a recent study at Exeter University. Researchers examined outstanding performances in the arts, mathematics and sports, to find out if “the widespread belief that to reach high levels of ability a person must possess an innate potential called talent”. The study concludes that excellence is determined by: *opportunities; *encouragement; *training; *motivation; and –most of all–practice. Few showed early signs of promise prior to parental encouragement. No one reached high levels of achievement in their field without devoting thousands of hours of serious training. A.-W. Mozart trained for 16 years before he produced an acknowledged master work. Moreover, many high performers achieve levels of excellence today that match the capabilities of a Mozart, or a God Medallist from the turn of the century.

Psychological Perspective: Behaviour is generative, like the surface of a fast flowing river, it is inherently and continuously novel. Behaviour flows and it never stops changing. Novel behaviour is generated continuously, but it is labelled creative only when it has some special value to the community… Generativity is the basic process that drives all the behaviour we come to label creative (Robert Epstein, Psychology Today, July/Aug 1996).

Generative research shows that everyone has creative abilities. –The more training you have and the more diverse the training, the greater potential for creative output. –The average adult thinks of 3-6 alternatives for any given situation. –the average child thinks of sixty. -Research has shown that in creativity quantity equals quality. –The longer the list of ideas, the higher the quality the final solution. The highest quality ideas appear at the end of the list. –Creativity is an individual process. –Traditional brainstorming has been proven ineffective because of fear of social disapproval. Groups are best for idea selection rather than idea generation.

The Age of Creativity: The Nomura Institute of Japan classifies four eras of economic activity: 1.Agricultural; 2.Industrial; 3.Informational and now through the evolution of technology; 4.Creative: constant innovation.

Innovation and Leadership: Daniel Pink expands on this idea in A Whole New Mind (2005): “Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age-ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion”.

It is the act of making something new. Although intuitively a new phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It can be studied from different angles: behavioural psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science, artificial science, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business and management.

Definition: Creativity (or creativeness) is a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts. From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent thought) are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness. An alternative, more everyday conception of creativity is that it is simply the act of making something new. Although intuitively a simple phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It has been studied from the perspectives of behavioural psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business, and management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative perspective or definition of creativity. Unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no standardized measurement technique.

Creativity has been attributed variously to divine intervention, cognitive processes, the social environment, personality traits, and chance (“accident,” “serendipity“). It has been associated with genius, mental illness and humour. Some say it is a trait we are born with; others say it can be taught with the application of simple techniques. Although popularly associated with art and literature, it is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in professions such as business, economics, architecture, industrial design, science and engineering.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the ambiguity and multi-dimensional nature of creativity, entire industries have been spawned from the pursuit of creative ideas and the development of creativity techniques. This mysterious phenomenon, though undeniably important and constantly visible, seems to lie tantalizingly beyond the grasp of scientific investigation.

“Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know.” (George Kneller)

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Definitions of creativity

“The problem of creativity is beset with mysticism, confused definitions, value judgments, psychoanalytic admonitions, and the crushing weight of philosophical speculation dating from ancient times.” (Albert Rothenberg)

More than 60 different definitions of creativity can be found in the psychological literature, and it is beyond the scope of this article to list them all. The etymological root of the word in English and most other European languages comes from the Latin creatus, literally “to have grown.”

Perhaps the most widespread conception of creativity in the scholarly literature is that creativity is manifested in the production of a creative work (for example, a new work of art or a scientific hypothesis) that is both novel and useful. Colloquial definitions of creativity are typically descriptive of activity that results in producing or bringing about something partly or wholly new; in investing an existing object with new properties or characteristics; in imagining new possibilities that were not conceived of before; and in seeing or performing something in a manner different from what was thought possible or normal previously.

A useful distinction has been made by Rhodes between the creative person, the creative product, the creative process, and the creative ‘press’ or environment. Each of these factors are usually present in creative activity. This has been elaborated by Johnson, who suggested that creative activity may exhibit several dimensions including sensitivity to problems on the part of the creative agent, originality, ingenuity, unusualness, usefulness, and appropriateness in relation to the creative product, and intellectual leadership on the part of the creative agent.

Boden noted that it is important to distinguish between ideas which are psychologically creative (which are novel to the individual mind which had the idea), and those which are historically creative (which are novel with respect to the whole of human history). Drawing on ideas from artificial intelligence, she defines psychologically creative ideas as those which cannot be produced by the same set of generative rules as other, familiar ideas.

Often implied in the notion of creativity is a concomitant presence of inspiration, cognitive leaps, or intuitive insight as a part of creative thought and action.[5] Pop psychology sometimes associates creativity with right or forehead brain activity or even specifically with lateral thinking.

Some students of creativity have emphasized an element of chance in the creative process. Linus Pauling, asked at a public lecture how one creates scientific theories, replied that one must endeavor to come up with many ideas — then discard the useless ones.

Distinguishing between creativity and innovation

It is often useful to explicitly distinguish between creativity and innovation.

Creativity is typically used to refer to the act of producing new ideas, approaches or actions, while innovation is the process of both generating and applying such creative ideas in some specific context.

In the context of an organization, therefore, the term innovation is often used to refer to the entire process by which an organization generates creative new ideas and converts them into novel, useful and viable commercial products, services, and business practices, while the term creativity is reserved to apply specifically to the generation of novel ideas by individuals or groups, as a necessary step within the innovation process.

For example, Amabile et al. (1996) suggest that while innovation “begins with creative ideas,”

“. . . creativity by individuals and teams is a starting point for innovation; the first is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the second”.

History of the term and the concept

Main article: History of creativity

The way in which different societies have formulated the concept of creativity has changed throughout history, as has the term “creativity” itself.

The ancient Greeks, who believed that the muses were the source of all inspiration, actually had no terms corresponding to “to create” or “creator.” The expression “poiein” (“to make”) sufficed. The sole exception was poetry: the poet was seen as making new things — bringing to life a new world — while the artist merely imitated. In Rome, this Greek view was modified, and Horace wrote that not only poets but painters were entitled to the privilege of daring whatever they wished. Unlike Greek, Latin had a term for “creating” (“creatio“) and for “creator,” and had two expressions for “to make” — “facere” and “creare“.[7]

Although neither the Greeks nor the Romans had any words that directly corresponded to the word creativity, their art, architecture, music, inventions, and discoveries provide numerous examples of what we would today describe as creative works. At the time, the concept of genius probably came closest to describing the creative talents bringing forth these works.[8]

A fundamental change came in the Christian period: “creatio” came to designate God’s act of “creation from nothing”. “Creatio” thus took on a different meaning than “facere” (“to make”), and ceased to apply to human functions. The ancient view that art is not a domain of creativity persisted in this period.[7] Another shift occurred in more modern times. Renaissance men had a sense of their own independence, freedom and creativity, and sought to give voice to this sense of independence and creativity. Baltasar Gracián (16011658) wrote: “Art is the completion of nature, as it were a second Creator…”. By the 18th century and the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of creativity was appearing more often in art theory, and was linked with the concept of imagination.[7]

The Western view of creativity can be contrasted with the Eastern view. For the Hindus, Confucius, Taoists and Buddhists, creation was at most a kind of discovery or mimicry, and the idea of creation from “nothing” had no place in these philosophies and religions.[8]

In the 19th century, not only was art regarded as creativity, but it alone was so regarded. When later, at the turn of the 20th century, there began to be discussion of creativity in the sciences (e.g., Jan Łukasiewicz, 18781956) and in nature (e.g., Henri Bergson), this was generally taken as the transference to the sciences of concepts proper to art.[7]

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, leading mathematicians and scientists such as Helmholtz (1896) and Henri Poincare (1908) had begun to reflect on and publicly discuss their creative processes, and these insights were built on in early accounts of the creative process by pioneering theorists such as Graham Wallas (1926) and Max Wertheimer (1945).

However, the formal starting point of the scientific study of creativity, from the point of view of the orthodox psychological literature, is normally considered to have commenced with J. P. Guilford‘s address to the American Psychological Association in 1950, which helped to popularize the topic[9] and create a focus on a scientific approach to conecptualising and measuring creativity through means such as psychometric testing.

In parallel with these developments, others have taken a more pragmatic approach, teaching practical creativity techniques. Three of the best-known are Alex Osborn‘s brainstorming techniques (1950s to present), Genrikh Altshuller‘s Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), (1950s to present); and Edward de Bono‘s lateral thinking, (1960s to present).

Creativity in psychology & cognitive science

The study of the mental representations and processes underlying creative thought belongs to the domains of psychology and cognitive science.

A psychodynamic approach to understanding creativity was proposed by Sigmund Freud, who suggested that creativity arises as a result of frustrated desires for fame, fortune, and love, with the energy that was previously tied up in frustration and emotional tension in the neurosis being sublimated into creative activity. Freud later retracted this view.

Graham Wallas, in his work Art of Thought, published in 1926, presented one of the first models of the creative process. In the Wallas stage model, creative insights and illuminations may be explained by a process consisting of 5 stages:

(i) preparation (preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual’s mind on the problem and explores the problem’s dimensions),

(ii) incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally to be happening),

(iii) intimation (the creative person gets a ‘feeling’ that a solution is on its way),

(iv) illumination or insight (where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness); and

(v) verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied).

In numerous publications, Wallas’ model is just treated as four stages, with “intimation” seen as a sub-stage. There has been some empirical research looking at whether, as the concept of “incubation” in Wallas’ model implies, a period of interruption or rest from a problem may aid creative problem-solving. Ward[10] lists various hypotheses that have been advanced to explain why incubation may aid creative problem-solving, and notes how some empirical evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that incubation aids creative problem-solving in that it enables “forgetting” of misleading clues. Absence of incubation may lead the problem solver to become fixated on inappropriate strategies of solving the problem.[11] This work disputes the earlier hypothesis that creative solutions to problems arise mysteriously from the unconscious mind.


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