California State University,
What is creativity?
From Human Motivation, 3rd ed., by Robert E. Franken:
- Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or
recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful
in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining
ourselves and others. (page 396)
- Three reasons why people are motivated to be creative:
- need for novel, varied, and complex stimulation
- need to communicate ideas and values
- need to solve problems (page 396)
- In order to be creative, you need to be able to view
things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other
things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new
alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of
alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those
alternatives. the ability to generate alternatives or to see
things uniquely does not occur by change; it is linked to other,
more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility,
tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of
things heretofore unknown. (page 394)
From Creativity - Beyond the Myth of Genius, by Robert W.
- ..."creative" refers to novel products of value, as in
"The airplane was a creative invention." "Creative" also refers to
the person who produces the work, as in, ?Picasso was creative."
"Creativity," then refers both to the capacity to produce such
works, as in "How can we foster our employees' creativity?" and to
the activity of generating such products, as in "Creativity
requires hard work." (page 4)
- All who study creativity agree that for something to be
creative, it is not enough for it to be novel: it must have value,
or be appropriate to the cognitive demands of the situation."
From Creativity - Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and
Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
- Ways that "creativity" is commonly used:
- Persons who express unusual thoughts, who are interesting
and stimulating - in short, people who appear to unusually bright.
- People who experience the world in novel and original ways.
These are (personally creative) individuals whose perceptions are
fresh, whose judgements are insightful, who may make important
discoveries that only they know about.
- Individuals who have changes our culture in some important way.
Because their achievement are by definition public, it is easier to
write about them. (e.g., Leonardo, Edison, Picasso, Einstein,
etc.) (pages 25-26)
- The Systems Model of Creativity: (pages 27-28)
- the creative domain, which is nested in culture -
the symbolic knowledge shred by a particular society or by humanity
as a whole (e.g., visual arts)
- the field, which includes all the gatekeepers of the
domain (e.g., art critics, art teachers, curators of museums, etc.)
- the individual person, who using the symbols of the
given domain (such as music, engineering, business, mathematics)
has a new idea or sees a new pattern, and when this novelty is
selected by the appropriate field for inclusion into the relevant
- Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an
existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new
one...What counts is whether the novelty he or she produces is
accepted for inclusion in the domain." (page 28)
- Characteristics of the creative personality: (pages 58-73)
- Creative individuals have a great deal of energy, but they
are also often quiet and at rest.
- Creative individuals tend to be smart, yet also naive at the
- Creative individuals have a combination of playfulness and
discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.
- Creative individuals alternate between imagination and fantasy
ant one end, and rooted sense of reality at the other.
- Creative people seem to harbor opposite tendencies on the
continuum between extroversion and introversion.
- Creative individuals are also remarkable humble and proud at
the same time.
- Creative individuals to a certain extent escape rigid gender
role stereotyping and have a tendency toward androgyny.
- Generally, creative people are thought to be rebellious and
- Most creative persons are very passionate about their work, yet
they can be extremely objective about it as well.
- The openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often
exposes them to suffering pain yet also a great deal of