Types of Creativity
There are different types of creativity, which makes it difficult to define. People often limit their definitions of creativity to art, but this is too limiting. Creativity comes in the form of original thought, divergent thinking, problem solving, inspiration and imagination. In order to improve creativity, it is essential that you understand the definition of creative thinking and what steps you can take to improve your own thought process.
Divergent thinking moves away from the traditional, convergent thinking, which is linear and analytical. It is looking for the right answer. Divergent thinking, on the other hand, is nonlinear and spontaneous. Rather than finding a single correct answer, the divergent thinker discovers multiple options for addressing problems. Brainstorming, predicting, and imagination activities are all examples of divergent thinking. It is possible to increase divergent thinking by implementing open-ended questions when addressing problems rather than closed questions. We will discuss open-ended questions in a later module. Moving toward divergent thinking may not be comfortable for analytical thinkers, but practice will soon help creativity develop.
It is possible to improve the problem solving process by implementing creativity. This requires looking at each problem as a unique situation rather than applying the same principles to every similar problem.
Steps to Creative Problem Solving:
- View the problem in different ways.
- Do not make assumptions that all similar projects or problems are the same.
- Be open to different problem solving options.
- Look at the big picture when addressing problems.
- Keep looking even when the solution is not easily found.
Inspiration and imagination
Inspiration and imagination are essential for creativity. Webster defines imagination as the ability to “recombine the materials furnished by experience or memory, for the accomplishment of an elevated purpose; the power of conceiving and expressing the ideal.” In the modern world, it is easy to ignore the development of the imagination, but this is done to your detriment. Exercising the imagination is necessary to improve creativity.
Ways to Improve Imagination:
- Read stories.
- Expose yourself to new experiences and influences.
- Get enough rest.
- Daydream and meditate.
Inspiration is what prompts creativity. Inspiration provides the motivation that helps people believe that they can or should do something creative; or inspiration can be an idea that comes suddenly. Inspiration is different for different people. There are ways to improve inspiration, which we will address in a later module.
Many people have pointed out that it is not physically possible to create something out of nothing. The idea of creating something out of nothing is creating something new or original. True creativity does more than take from the creativity of others, which is why we value originality. Although, it is possible to find creative ways to improve on what already exists. There is no single method or setting to create something new. From art to science to the office, you can create something in any area as long as you have the imagination and inspiration to develop new ideas.
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