A. recognize that creativity is not a talent that you either get or not, but a skill that can be developed;
B. learn a few techniques and tools that they can use to improve their creativity.
The idea of creativity may be really confusing - who exactly is creative and why are they creative?
It's easy to recognize the creative giants whose contributions form the basis of our culture like artists and musicians that we can all name, or people who provide a scientific discovery or technological explanation that enable us to understand ourselves, our world or the cosmos. But where do we fit into all this? How can our creativity be compared to that of the people who shaped our understanding and experience of the world?
Time needed to review this content: 20 min (excluding the video examples)
James Kaufman, Ronald Beghetto (2009) provide us with a neat framework which they call the 4C model of creativity, that enable us to see that we are part of a continuum. These authors refer to:
- 'Big-C' creativity that brings about significant change in a domain;
- 'Pro-c' creativity associated with the creative acts of professionals or other people with expertise who have mastered a field;
- 'little-c' creativity - the everyday creative acts of individuals who are not particularly expert in a situation and
- 'mini-c' the novel and personally meaningful interpretation of experiences, actions and events made by individuals.
Central to the definition of mini-c creativity is the dynamic, interpretative process of constructing personal knowledge and understanding within a particular socio-cultural context i.e. learning!
Can creativity be learned? The short answer is yes, and the 4C model also helps to answer this question. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed. The Big-C of course assumes a basic talent, and also a lot of hard work, but "c-type creativity" (mini, little, pro), which is essential to everyday life, can also be developed. In this section, we look at some tools to achieve this.
First, let us have a more thorough look at the 4C model presented in the introduction.
The mini-c level of creativity
Creativity is inherent in learning. Any time one attempts a new task, there is a level of creativity involved. At the mini-c level of creativity, what one creates might not be revolutionary but it is new and meaningful to them.
Example: Jacob brings home his first painting from school. It is his first attempt to be appropriate to the task and it is new and meaningful to him.
The little-c level of creativity
The little-c level of creativity reflects an aspect of growth from the mini-c level. With appropriate feedback, advancements are made and what was created might be of value to others.
Example: Jacob’s parents love the new painting Jacob brought home today. They place it on the refrigerator because they think it is good and they get enjoyment out of seeing it. It’s on its way to becoming art.
The Pro-c level of creativity
At this level, one has the ability to be creative at a professional level and in a professional venue. At this point, one would have had many years of deliberate practice and training. Not everyone at the Pro-c level can make a living with their creative pursuit however; it is generally the goal of those at this level to support themselves by doing something they love.
Example: Jacob majored in art in college and his pictures now hang in galleries. His paintings are recognized by art experts and critics as being creative. His paintings hang in the homes of others - not just his friends and family, but people who do not know Jacob personally but who appreciate and are moved by his art.
The Big-C level of creativity
Those at the Big-C level will be remembered in the history books. The Big-C level includes an evaluation of one’s entire career and entire body of work and then evaluates the entire body of work against other great contributors and decides where one fits in.
Example: Over the years, Jacob’s paintings have been bought by people who have tremendous collections of artwork. His paintings hang in famous galleries and are regularly discussed by experts.
It can be seen, that c (mini, little, pro) type creativity can be improved, and its improvement is quite important from success point of view. Although Big-C type creativity is rare, but there is a fair chance, it may often show itself when built on pro-c creativity. Very often, the composers who composed the most pieces of music, were also the greatest, Mozart or Beethoven composed hundreds of pieces during their lifetime.
Below therefore we discuss tools and ideas aimed at the development of creativity.
Small “c” creativity is often inspired by our surroundings, which may include the people we talk to, the places we go, the things we read and forms of day-to-day stimuli. You may be talking to a co-worker, and suddenly something he or she says triggers an idea on how to improve a process or task that is part of your job responsibilities. That’s “small c” creativity in action.
How can you cultivate “small c” creativity? Here are a few ideas:
• Use your daily environment as a source of inspiration and stimulus for creative ideas. When you do get ideas, be sure to record them immediately, so they don’t get away.
• Develop your “insight outlook” — the habit of becoming more aware of the implications or deeper meanings of the information that fill your day. Developing an insight outlook means not been satisfied with considering things superficially, but digging down deeper to discern the connections, associations and insights that lie within the information and stimuli we receive each day.
• Get in the habit of asking yourself open-ended questions, like “Why does this have to be done in this way?” or “What impact will this development have on the future needs of our customers?”
• Don’t be blinded by the desire to come up with one “killer” idea. Chances are, your brain may be serving up several or even dozens of “pretty good” hunches or insights each and every day. Take these “idea seeds” seriously; write them down; add them to your idea file or personal journal. You never know when they might come in handy!
Remember to cultivate your “small c” creativity and you will almost certainly enjoy greater success in all areas of your life!
There are many other ways and tools to boost creativity. One of the most known methods is brainstorming.
Prior to the brainstorming event, it is important to:
• Define the topic and the goals of the process.
• Gather various ideas from different minds and point of views.
• Get inspired. Meet people, share views. There might be important and interesting links, connections between the ideas, which can help to move the company forward.
• Don’t exclude the weirdoes. The point is not to evaluate or label the ideas of the others. The key word is “possible” so not all weird ideas will provide solution, but you have to carefully investigate them before throwing them into the bin.
• Leave enough time to the ideas to mature.
• Choose the idea you would like to realize, and then do the necessary calculations for the realization process. The final complex solution can be created by using the most promising ideas.
Finally, here is a short summary of the things you should avoid, as they for sure will set back the creative process:
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the book ’Eat, Pray, Love’ has a very interesting approach on creativity. The message of her lecture perhaps is that we should carry on working persistently and hope that inspiration will be the reward of our perseverance (19:32 min).
Julie Burstein shares with us four lessons or stories about how creativity is born. A violin string will only be able to produce wonderful sounds when it is appropriately tautened thus creativity needs a bit of tension as well (17:21 min).
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Some ideas to make everyday life easier:
• Be curious; don’t get scared if you see something you haven’t seen before. Take it as an opportunity
• Think positive. No one is perfect. Get to know yourself to get familiar with the things you should develop in yourself, and what are your strong points.
• Build relationships, work together with others and other companies. Through cooperation surely some new ideas, new knowledge new points of view will be shared.
• Count on your colleagues fields of interest. Everyone has their personal interests (even you, and your co-workers). Try to involve them in the processes, so they can develop the company with their good ideas.
• Leave time for things to happen. You don’t need to hurry.
• You can test your ideas in many ways and platforms. You can also create a Facebook group for your end users, where you can get rapid reactions about your new ideas, concepts
• Use the advantages of social media, and the possibilities of the internet. There are many things offered on these websites (consciously or unconsciously) that you can use to develop your creativity.
• Check the webpages of the concurrent companies, or those websites which share content you are interested in. You might get some new ideas while browsing.
• Don’t forget to implement your ideas.
We frequently think, that some people are creative and others are not, and if we are not then there is nothing we can do, so we have to live our lives. This lesson shows us that this is not the case, creativity, at least the everyday professional creativity can and should be improved, and there is a number of methods and tools to achieve this.
Pick an important issue from your life or the life of your enterprise, which is on your mind. Take a blank sheet of paper you, and write the question on the top, then write 15 answers underneath, whatever comes to your mind. Repeat the process for 7 days. You will probably have many interesting ideas among your answers, that prove that you are creative already.