John C. Houtz, Professor of Educational Psychology, Fordham University, Graduate School of Education
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THE HAND OF CREATIVITY
The Hand of Creativity is a simple way to represent different sub-domains or related areas of study when one speaks of creativity research. Often, terms such as creative thinking, problem solving, or creative problem solving are used interchangeably in casual conversation. There are some differences, however, to the researcher in the field. Creative thinking or creative problem solving typically refer to situations where new ideas are called for, where both novices and experts do not know the right answers.
On the other hand, plain problem solving can be thought of as novices finding solutions to problems that the experts already know the answers to (as in typical teaching or learning situations), and social problem solving as a sub-field can mean creative thinking or simple problem solving but with the problem content being interpersonal behavior. Critical thinking typically refers to situations where a key element is that individuals must judge the worth of alternative solutions. Finally, gifted and talented refers to the study of individuals (children and adults of all ages) who are somehow judged to be exceptionally intelligent or who have developed and demonstrated outstanding talents and achievements in any area of human endeavor.
The Four (or Five) Ps of Creativity
Quite a number of researchers in the field of creative studies have referred to four or five sub-categories of research in the field. The first P stands for studies of the creative person and his or her personality, abilities, backgrounds, habits, styles, etc. The second P stands for studies of the thinking and feeling processes or sequences of steps or stages of creative work. The third P includes studies of the qualities or characteristics of the products (the inventions, productions, achievements, etc.) of the creative process, and the ways we attempt to measure them.
The fourth P stands for press and includes the study of all the environmental factors that influence creative development, from deliberate training efforts to general work or learning climate characteristics, from specific interpersonal behaviors among individuals and groups to broader, global cultural conditions. Finally, the fifth P, an outgrowth of press, stands for persuasion, or the study of factors that influence the acceptance of new ideas. It is not enough, obviously, that individuals come up with new ideas; new ideas often conflict with the status quo and meet with many obstacles to actual implementation. An essential step in the creative process is getting people to be open to and accept new ideas, to support them, to see the light, to get on the bandwagon, so to speak.
DEFINITIONS OF CREATIVITY
There are many, many definitions of creativity, some very similar in their emphases, while others clearly focus on different aspects of creative phenomena. I have selected a few below. For a more extensive list, see Treffinger, D. J. (1995). Creativity, creative thinking, and critical thinking: In search of definitions. Sarasota FL: Center for Creative Learning, Inc. (www.creativelearning.com)
Source: You and creativity. (1968). Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.
A. METHODS OF STUDY
1. LISTS OF CHARACTERISTICS
2. DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS
3. WORK HABITS
THE CREATIVE PERSONALITY
The Basic Theme is SYNERGY
Reference: Dellas, M., Gaier, E. L. (1970). Identification of creativity: The individual. Psychological Bulletin, 73, 55-73.
TEN POLARITIES OF THE CREATIVE PERSONALITY
Source: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper/Collins.
1. Creative individuals have a great deal of physical energy, yet they are often quite and at rest.
2. Creative individuals tend to be smart (in the traditional sense of knowing things) but also can appear to be quite naïve.
3. Creative people can appear quite playful and undisciplined, but also can be exceptionally hard-working and responsible.
4. Creative people can alternate between imagination and flights of fantasy on the one hand and a very down-to-earth, concrete sense of reality.
5. Creative people seem to harbor opposite tendencies to introversion and extraversion.
6. Creative individuals are both very humble and proud of their achievements at the same time.
7. Creative persons tend to escape the typical masculine and feminine gender stereotyping.
8. Creative people are thought to be rebellious and independent, yet they cannot create absent the knowledge, rules, conventions of their cultures. They have internalized the values of their domains as well as maintained their instinct for questioning the givens and assumptions of their domains.
9. Creative individuals are both passionate about their work as well as extremely objective about it.
10. The openness and sensitivity of creative persons exposes them to a great deal of pain and suffering as well as enjoyment
ADAPTORS and INNOVATORS
From: Kirton, M.J. (1976). Adaptors and innovators: A description and measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61, 622-629.
Kirton describes two different styles of thinking: adaptors and innovators. Both styles are ways of approaching change. Both types of individuals respond to needs for change with analysis and action. But, each style prefers a different form of action:
Adaptors try to make things better, using existing methods, values, policies, and procedures. They rely on accepted standards and consensus to guide the development and implementation of new ideas.
Innovators like to "reconstruct" the problem, think of it in isolation from its background and context of "prevailing thought". They are more concerned with doing things in a different way rather than in a better way.
In organizations of all sizes, innovators and adaptors may clash. Some ideas may be held back because adaptive supervisors and senior management may be uncomfortable with innovative types.
What is a WILD DUCK?
Other references: Kirton, M.J. (1991). Adaptors and innovators: Why new initiatives get blocked. In J. Henry (Ed.), Creative management (pp. 209-220). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
THE BASADUR CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING STYLE PROFILE
From: Basadur, M., Graen, G., & Wakabayashi, M. (1990). Identifying individual differences in creative problem solving style. Journal of Creative Behavior, 24, 111-131.
The Basadur Creative Problem Solving Style Profile describes four types of individuals: the generator, the conceptualizer, the optimizer, and the implementor. The four types come from the interaction of two factors: learning from direct vs. abstract experience and using knowledge for evaluation vs. ideation. Creative problem solving is not centered in any one type; rather, the special skills of each type come into play during the problem solving process.
Basadur suggests that his inventory can help individuals recognize their strengths and areas of weakness and use their profile results to improve areas where they do not score as highly. People can "gravitate" towards jobs and life styles which require or reward certain CPS styles.
His model of creative problem solving is described as a "pie chart", with eight slices. The slices are:
Quadrant 1: 1. Problem finding
2. Fact finding
Quadrant 2: 3. Problem definition
4. Idea finding
Quadrant 3 5. Evaluation and selection of ideas
Quadrant 4: 7. Gain acceptance of your idea
8. Take action
Generators have strengths in "slices" 2 and 2; conceptualizers do well in "slices" 3 and 4; optimizers are fine in "slices" 5 and 6; and "slices" 7 and 8 are for the implementors.
A. CLASSICAL THEORIES
1. STAGE THEORIES
2. LEARNING THEORIES
a. BEHAVIORAL--S-R BONDS, HABIT HIERARCHIES
b. GESTALT--PERCEPTUAL REORGANIZATION
3. DEVELOPMENTAL THEORIES
a. PSYCHODYNAMIC--CONFLICT RESOLUTION, COMPENSATION
b. HUMANISTIC, SELF-GROWTH THEORIES
4. SOCIAL LEARNINGMODELING
5. COGNITIVE--SKILLS, ABILITIES, STRATEGIES
B. PHENOMENOLOGICAL, INTERACTIVE, CONFLUENCE MODELS
1. SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE OF TASK AND DOMAIN
2. MOTIVATION, PERSONAL, STYLE FACTORS
3. SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
John Dewey (1910)
Phillip Merrifield (1962)
Graham Wallas (1926)
Alex Osborn (1963)
G. Polya (1945)
Kingsley & Garry (1957)
J. P. Guilford (1967)
Later CPS Models (Treffinger) (circa
A - Theoretical Stage Descriptions of the Creative Process
MODEL OF THE CREATIVE ACT
TYPES OF PROBLEM SITUATIONS AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS
|Problem||Method of Solution||Solution|
|Type 1 (MEMORY)||known||known||known||known||known||known|
|Type 2 (REASON)||known||known||known||unknown||known||unknown|
|Type 3 (IMAGINATION)||unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown|
Getzels, J.W. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1976). The creative vision: A longitudinal study of problem finding in art. New York: Wiley.
Getzels, J.W. (1975). Problem-finding and the inventiveness of solutions. Journal of Creative Behavior, 9.
Theories of the Creative Process
A. Traditional Learning Theories
B. Psychodynamic Theories
C. Social Learning Theories
D. Cognitive, Information Processing Theories
E. Humanistic Theories
A CHEAT SHEET OF THEORETICAL APPROACHES
Notes on Creativity by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
Setting the Stage
A. A creative idea or product arises from the synergy of many sources, not just one creative mind (the idea of field)
B. Its easier to enhance creativity by changing the environment than by changing the individual (again, the field)
C. A genuinely creative idea is NOT the result of a sudden insight, but comes after years of hard work
D. Creativity is mysterious and strange
E. We are more alive (fulfilled) when we are being creative
F. Everything of import is the result of creativityit is what really distinguishes us from apes
G. Creativity is the result of the interaction of three elements:
1. The culture or field
2. The domain of knowledge, techniquesthe symbol system of the culturewhat the experts think is going on
3. The person
H. Creativity is cultural evolutionthe cultural equivalent of genetic evolution
I. Define creativity as a process by which a cultural change (in the symbols of the domain) takes place
J. To improve creativity, we need to increase attention to change processes and lower the attention required, given to the contradictory instinct of conservation, self-preservationkeep it the samebasic survival
K. Interviews help us understand the process, so we can assist people involved in creative work directly and, indirectly, to help everyone benefit from creative enterprises
PRODUCTIVE THINKING SKILLS
From: Covington, M.V., Crutchfield, R.S., Davies, L., & Olton, R.M. (1960). The Productive Thinking Program. Columbus, OH: Charles Merrill.
I. Discovery and formulating problems
A. Being sensitive to problems and puzzling phenomena
B. Determining the real problem
C. Formulating the problem in workable terms
D. Reflecting on the problem
E. Keeping an open mind--not jumping to conclusions
F. Being planful--laying out systematic steps for problem attack
II. Organizing and making use of information
A. Getting the known facts well in mind
B. Classifying information
C. Distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant data
D. Deciding what additional data are needed
E. Inquiring--asking fruitful, fact-finding questions
F. Drawing inferences--reasoning and analyzing
G. Reviewing the facts
III. Generating ideas
A. Thinking of many possibilities
B. Searching by systematic scanning of problem elements
C. Searching by systematic outline of possible solutions
D. Using similarities, analogies, and metaphors
E. Thinking of appropriate but unusual ideas
F. Creating hypotheses that account economically for a puzzling set of facts
IV. Evaluating and improving ideas
A. Checking ideas against available facts
B. Experimenting--devising ways to test hypotheses
C. Decision-making: selecting the best ideas and plans
D. Seeing implications of ideas and considering consequences
E. Elaborating--bringing ideas to full development
F. Modifying--changing a good idea to make it even better
V. Creating new perspectives
A. Reformulating--looking at problems in new ways
B. Seeing problems and issues from the viewpoint of others
C. Combining ideas into new and surprising forms
D. Transforming unlikely ideas into productive possibilities
Some Suggestions for Increasing Your Creative Problem Solving
A. Make lists...of things that bug you, of unfinished tasks, of things to do, of ideas you have...any time, day or night
B. Think of alternatives...never stop at just one idea, just one way of doing something
C. Do something different: reading a different kind of book, visiting a different place, meeting new people, seeing a different kind of movie
D. Make time in your daily schedule to just think, to incubate, to relax and do nothing; practice meditation, take long walks, etc.
E. Try drawing or painting, creating music, writing poetry or short stories, taking pictures, acting, etc., to express an idea
F. Buy different kinds of gifts for birthdays, holidays, etc.
G. Ask what would happen if the rules were changed
H. Solve puzzles
I. Talk to someone about your ideas
J. Take a course, go to a lecture; get training in CPS
K. Learn a new dance, practice a new skill
M. Learn and use a second language