Friday, April 25, 2014

Many Faces of Creativity

 An essential aspect of creativity is the ability to challenge assumptions, beliefs, conclusions, and to be able to contemplate multiple, even conflicting views of a situation.

Generally speaking, creativity means the thinking process to create novel ideas. More broadly, creativity may be more than or perhaps only tangentially related to the making of something new. Creativity is a specific way one or some human brains process information that results in unusual combinations of ideas, metaphors, applications, procedures, insights, and sometimes 'things'. Creativity seems to be a cluster of cognitive behaviors that may or may not result in a product and not necessarily a novel product. Or to put simply, there are many faces of creativity:

Individual creativity vs. collective creativityIndividual creativity is comprised of domain expertise, creative thinking skills, and task motivation; as an ability to release emotional energy in response to a problem stimulus, thus initiating and converting into, creative thought (divergent followed by convergent modes) and action. This energy is expressed through the organization of material into symbolic forms (visual, verbal, kinetic, etc) which may be consciously or unconsciously organized. Collective creativity is formed by the inclusion and improvising of many, rather than the imposition of one, it is different from isolated or introspective creativity. There are some challenges that can benefit from individuals working separately while other problems require a collaborative effort because domain expertise beyond what any one person has is required. Working collaboratively requires trust and the ability to debate that isn’t required when working alone. These elements have to become part of a collaborative creative process. Hence, creativity can be either an individual activity or a team sport, when we experience the manifestation of a creative idea (the "eureka moment"), it is an individual act, we only have one mind. However, many minds can create many creative and different ideas, so working as a team can sometimes amplify creativity.

Creativity color spectrumSome say creativity is not different 'types' - it is a spectrum. Creativity is like a color spectrum. There are commonalities that are relevant to all colors which reflect the spectrum of light. Such a metaphor connects the dot back to the nature of creativity. There is a "purpose" to creativity. And there are some situations where the only thing that matters is those common characteristics. The color is color regardless of hue or saturation or density. But there are also factors that make each color unique. And there are situations where the unique attributes of each color are incredibly important and meaningful. Creativity is more art and less science. It depends more on empathy and emotional intelligence for its success rather than scientific knowledge and simple problem-solving abilities. As human beings, we do have a desire for the omniscient and the omnipotent. But all things made by humans have serious limitations in their applicability.

Multi-faceted creativityCreativity combines effective and cognitive factors where cognition serves effect. Creativity sometimes leads to tangible products which reflect the personality of the individual in their response to the problem stimulus and the means for its expression. Innovative thinking does not happen in response to knowledge. Innovators usually hunt for knowledge based on what they need to validate the innovative idea that they have, rather than develop an innovative idea based on the knowledge they acquire in the present. When the brain is able to seek out solutions outside of the domain knowledge and irrespective of the direct linkage that any knowledge might have with the concerned domain, there will be a greater probability of success in creativity. An essential aspect of creativity (individual or group) is the ability to challenge assumptions, conclusions, and beliefs, and to be able to contemplate multiple, even conflicting views of a situation.

Creativity is a flow, an abstract and an imagination. You can put creativity in a box and say it's "all just creativity", or you can pull it out of the box and look at it through different lenses. The root of our differences is in the different perceptions and the lenses we use, which we have with respect to creativity or innovations. The angle from which you view it determines how you identify and categorize the similarities and differences among the many faces of creativity.



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