This is the first of a series of posts on Creativity.
In Understanding Creativity by Jane Piirto, she explains that creativity as a noun doesn’t consistently appear in standard dictionaries until 1988 when Webster’s defines it as, “creative ability; artistic or intellectual inventiveness.” In fact, depending on the school of thought, there are a variety of ways to consider creativity. Psychoanalysts have long viewed creativity through the lens of mental illness. Charles Darwin thought of creativity as a life-long process rather than a lightning bolt of brilliance. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (Chic-sent-me-hi) believes there is “little c” creativity that occurs with everyday people going about their daily lives, and “Big C” creativity that results when an eminent individual changes the field in which he or she works. Still others believe that one’s life is a creative production.
Piirto explains that we continue to ask the questions, “What makes people creative? Is creativity an ability? What are the conditions for creative production?” No wonder many of us still view creativity as an intangible, mysterious process. It is true that the muse can be elusive and some days we may feel creativity flows through us and on others we are completely blocked. There are a lot of things we do know about creativity, though, and I’ll write about some in the coming weeks.
For now, let’s try to make it simple and use the definition of Donald Treffinger who has helped to shape and refine the Creative Problem Solving process. Creativity is novelty that is useful.
Piirto, J. (2004).Understanding Creativity. Scottsdale: Great Potential Press.