The psychology of creativity

Posted on: February 22, 2013

I have studied creativity and innovation extensively in the past and admire the work of people such as Bird, Buzan, Cabral, De Bono, Doblin, Grundy, Hayes, Henry, Kirton, Kline, Perkins, Snowden, Sternberg, Thomke and Wallace to name a few.

Big C Creativity

The psychology of creativity applies empirical, scientific rigour to the study of pioneering creativity – which is sometimes called “big-C” creativity. Simonton (University of California) defines big-C creativity as “a person solving a problem or creating an object that significantly impacts how others think and live their lives”. He considers two aspects – originality and functionality.

Theories of creativity

In 1950, psychologist J P Guildford challenged the research community to study creativity and was the first to differentiate between convergent and divergent thinking. Many psychologists study “little c” creativity – the stuff of everyday life.

There are many creativity theory models including those from the realms of developmental psychology, psychometric, economic, stage, cognitive, problem solving, expertise based, evolutionary, typological and systems theory.

Six Ps of creativity

Sternberg called his theory “investment theory” – and notes that people buy low and sell high – they generate and pursue ideas and concepts that seem unusual and out of the mainstream which have the potential for the most growth. He also saw creativity occurring at the confluence of several factors. He considered the six Ps of creativity – Process (cognitive), Product, Personality, Place, Persuasion and Potential.

Personally, I prefer the six faceted snowflake model by Perkins (see above).

These and related topics are explored further in the occasional course that I run called “Problem solving, creativity and innovation” for the PM Forum. http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/index.aspx

 

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