The favourite of all the many courses I have studied was the creativity and innovation module in my MBA. So it was interesting to read about a creativity roundtable of leading academics from innovation, psychology and creative writing backgrounds in a recent edition of the Open University’s Open Minds magazine. Here’s a brief summary:
What is creativity?
- Thinking laterally and making new connections
- It is about play and allowing yourself to perceive anew
- Something new but something apt
- Often about synthesis, the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate ideas
- A “yes and” mentality
What is the process of creativity?
- Flexibility, play, logic, motivation
- ‘a room of one’s one’
- The compulsion to create
- Research and preparation, pre-conscious cognition, incubation and deeper gestation
- Collectivism and serendipity
Is creativity the same in every discipline?
- Spending time asking the right questions
- For exceptional creativity, experience in the area is very important
- It is not a process and not repeatable
- Creativity is often about breaking the rules
- Pressure – too much unhelpful, too little problematic
Can creativity come from suppression and oppression?
- Too many constraints can diminish the potential for creativity
- Flexibility, freedom, licence and permission in playful terms is required
Is there a creative personality type?
- The type normally associated with creativity is an open minded non-conformist
- People interested in the big picture gather lots of different ideas – they may be less good with detail
- Incremental creativity – that builds on others’ work
- Learn to think outside the box but explore inside the box too
Can you teach creativity?
- In writing there is a distinction between art and craft
- You can create the conditions that allow a person to reach starting points
- You can facilitate aspects of it
- You can teach creative thinking and problem solving
- Provide environments and processes that encourage people to look at things differently