What is creativity?
Creativity is defined as a combination of abilities, skills, motivations and attitudes (Honig 2006). In other words, creativity is the capacity or ability of an individual to create, discover or produce a product, thought, art, process etc. Creative thinking is thinking ‘out of the box’ to produce new, novel or original unique ideas or solutions. The creative process uses divergent and convergent thinking. Facione (1998) describes creative or innovative thinking as the kind of thinking that leads to new insights, novel approaches, fresh perspectives, and whole new ways of understanding and conceiving things.
Creativity is complex
Creativity is a highly complex phenomenon. The creative process refers to the sequence of thoughts and actions that leads to a creative idea or a product. Creativity involves ideas, purposefulness, playfulness, exploration, problem solving, and artistic and imaginative invention. Creativity requires the interaction of four themes – people, context, method and outcome. In short, creativity is not a simple thing- it is multidimensional.
Every human is a creator
Every person is inherently creative. Expression of creativity in each person is only a matter of degree and frequency. Creativity is possible in all areas of human activity like arts, sciences, business, technology and daily life. Creativity has transformed our cultures, economies and life styles. Creativity is valued by human society. Creativity is a major driver of human evolution.
Creativity is a habit (Sternberg 2006)An eminent American psychologist Robert J. Sternberg conceived of Creativity as a habit – a routine response. Creative people habitually respond to problems in fresh and novel ways (Albert and Runco 1999). Creativity can be made into a habit. There are three basic factors that help turn creative thinking into a habit: opportunities (to engage in it), encouragement (to go after such opportunities) and rewards (for the demonstration of creative outcomes).
Creativity exists at all ages
The potential for creativity exists in all people and at all ages. In general creativity develops with age and experience. Creativity may changes in quality across the life span. Creativity is a function of knowledge, curiosity, imagination and evaluation. Creativity is bound to situations and contexts. Creativity is a state of mind that is fresh, alert and sensitive.Creative mind explores new possibilities, patterns and options. Creative individuals are typically “buy low and sell high” in the world of ideas (Sternberg and Lubart 1995).
Creativity exists in all domains
Creativity is found in many domains such as the arts, literature, sciences and everyday life. Creativity is often enhanced when one crosses domains. Creative people often transfer their knowledge and skills from one field and apply them to another. They have the advantage of seeing the new domain from different perspectives and of making significant changes. Creative people are really good at mixing and matching all sorts of seemingly contradictory emotions, ideas and personality traits to produce something truly original and valuable.
Creativity is making and breaking connections
Making is connecting –making connections is an important aspect of creativity (Duffy 1998). The acts of creativity usually involve connecting things together (materials, ideas or both) to make something new and novel. Creativity arises from the conceptual integration of other’s ideas. Conceptual blending is a creative thinking process that involves blending two or more concepts in the same mental space to form new ideas. Creativity is the ability to make connections between things that do not seem related. Sometimes creative ideas may come from new combinations of old ideas.
The first key to creative thinking is clarity. Creativity needs critical thinking in evaluating and improving ideas. Critical thinker thinks clearly, precisely and rationally. The second key is concentration. The creative thinker has to put aside and concentrate single-mindedly on focusing one’s mental powers on solving one single problem. The third key is open mind. The creative thinker tends to remain very flexible and open to a variety of ways of approaching the problem. The fourth key is inspiration. It means being inspired by oneself or by others. Creativity thrives on curiosity, fresh input and rich domains of knowledge. Another key to creativity is motivation i.e., having a purpose to do so. Motivation is what we need to add value to creative effort. Creativity needs encouragement of others. The sixth key to creativity is gestation i.e. allowing time for creative ideas to emerge. Insight and intuition are often associated with creativity. The seventh key to creativity is collaboration through the support of others or a community.
Creativity is the main driver of innovation
Creativity is about imagination and ideas whereas innovation is about actions and process. Creativity is largely cognitive and innovation is largely behavioural. Creativity involves only ‘thinking up new things’ and innovation is only ‘doing new things’ (Peters and Waterman 1982). Innovation is the end result of creative process. The ideas (creativity) can be capable of being transformed into successful action (innovation). Innovation requires creativity, but creativity does not always lead to innovation.
Creative power = Imagination+ Determination+ desire to launch
Creativity is a synergy of many personality traits
There are six personal traits essential for creativity: intelligence, knowledge, thinking styles, personality attributes, motivation and environment. Creative people possess a cluster of traits such as curiosity, originality, ingenuity and a willingness to challenge convention and tradition. Creative people are purposeful dreamers. Day dreaming is a healthful, problem solving brain practice. Dreamers always dream of change. They dream of better world, a better reality and a better future.
A creative person is a divergent thinker
Divergent thinking is a prerequisite for creative performance. Divergent thinking is one aspect of lateral thinking. Fluency, flexibility and originality are considered the primary components of divergent thinking. Divergent thinking involves processes like shifting perspectives, transforming or producing multiple answers from the available information and thus favours the production of novel and unconventional ideas.
Creativity is a process
Creativity unfolds as a process. In 1926, Graham Wallas described stages of creativity in which a creative idea is first prepared, then internalized through incubation, after which the creative individual uses the illumination or insight to finally go through the verification process of applying the idea.
Preparation à Incubationà Illumination à Verification (Wallas, 1926).Clarificationà Transformation àImplementation
Diversity is the mother of creativity
Cultural diversity breeds creativity. Culturally different people have different interpretations of the world. People have different ways of generating solutions to problems. Diversity in thinking looks for solutions from diverse perspectives of a problem. Teams can use diversity of techniques in order to generate more creative ideas. For example teams with racial diversity significantly outperform the groups with no racial diversity.
Creativity is tied to culture
Culture is what makes us who we are. It gives us strength; it is a wellspring of creativity and innovation. There are many different ways by which societies shape all aspects of creative expression ranging from the availability of resources to the provision of rewards.
Creativity is enjoyable
Creativity brings about a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and reward. It can also provide a sense of peacefulness and joy. There is a direct connection between fun and laughter and creativity. Freedom, democracy and tolerance encourage greater creativity.
Creativity shapes academic success
Educational achievement is closely associated with creativity and intelligence to a certain level. Creativity is more important than intellectual capacity- helping one to learn more effectively, efficiently and flexibly. In general creative individuals are achievement – oriented.
Creativity is valuable
The outcomes of creativity bring about benefits for individuals, groups and organizations. A nation needs creative scientists, engineers, technocrats economists, poets, painters, musicians etc. . Great inventions, scientific discoveries, all forms of artistic expressions –painting, literature, music, drama – have depended on creative thinking. Creativity is the central ingredient in human development. The function of creativity is to improve society, products and services become more convenient, cheaper, faster and better. Creativity transformed our cultures, our lifestyles and our daily life. Creativity is an essential skill for effective leadership and entrepreneurship. Creativity is critical to the performance and survival of any organization. Creativity is an ultimate economic resource. Historians of sciences have used “discoveries” as the bench marks of economic progress.
Creativity is a tool for survival
Creativity is one of the primary instincts and motivating forces of life. Everyone is born creative. Creativity is a natural part of being human. Creativity provides anyone with an intrinsic ability to face and respond to the uncertainty and mysteries of our existence. Creativity supports one’s drive to be more competitive, productive and effective. Creativity is a vital source for meeting the challenges and dangers as well as opportunities.
Creativity is 85% a leaned skill (Harvard study)
Creativity is potentially achievable by anyone, anywhere. Everyone can strengthen their creative powers with practice, persistence and patience. In order to develop creativity, one has to focus on creativity every day. He has to try something new every day. Creativity is more like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently give out best results.“Creativity stands out as an activity to be studied, cherished and cultivated.” -Silvano Arieti.