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Some Informing Statements This lecture is informed by a number of thoughts and ideas: That’s one of them (SLIDE)…here are some others…. 1. We like the idea of creativity but we don't really understand it. 2. A lot of what we like to think is 'creative'…. isn't. 3. Creativity isn't a form of white (or black) magic, but is something real and tangible that we can understand and, through understanding it…we can enahnce our own creativity.
However the organisational climate and culture and environment plays such a vital role - particularly in education - that it deserves recognition. Therefore Barron's statement could be re-formulated as follows: 'a creative person engaged in a creative process within a creative environment producing a creative product'.
The Creative Person There has been much research into the characteristics of creative people. A list of the most commonly described characteristics (see Table 1 below) reveals that they are a mixture of attributes and personality traits, 'givens' and things that are acquired. However, whilst they provide a good baseline against which to consider the creative individual, they are not easily measurable. Also the consequences of some of them e.g. unconventionality, challenging authority, originality etc. clearly have the potential to pose challenges to any organisational system that is based on those Classical standbys of order, structure, rules, harmony etc.etc.
The Creative Process The creative process receives the most attention by far of writers and researchers. Most of the work focuses on the mechanisms and phases involved as one partakes in a creative act. As with the actual definition of creativity, there is a wide and divergent range of opinion. This has led to the development of dozens, if not hundreds of models of the creative process. However, many are adaptations, variations and developments of the influential four-stage model of the creative process developed in 1926 by Graham Wallas: 1.Preparation 2.Incubation 3.Illumination 4.Verification In the preparation stage, the problem or challenge is defined; any data or resources the solution or response needs to account for is gathered; and criteria for verifying the solution's acceptability are set up. In the incubation stage, we step back from the problem and let our minds contemplate and work it through. Like preparation, incubation can last minutes, weeks, even years. In the illumination stage, ideas arise from the mind to provide the basis of a creative response. These ideas can be pieces of the whole or the whole itself, i.e. seeing the entire concept or entity all at once. Unlike the other stages, illumination is often very brief, involving a tremendous rush of insights within a few minutes or hours. In verification , the final stage, one carries out activities to demonstrate whether or not what emerged in illumination satisfies the need and the criteria defined in the preparation stage.
Based on Plsek’s Directed Creativity Cycle
Several clear themes emerge from the various models of the creative process:- that the total creative process involves purposeful analysis, imaginative idea generation, and critical evaluation. that the total creative process is a balance of imagination and analysis, divergent and convergent thinking, that the total creative process requires a drive to action and the implementation of ideas. The act of imagining new things must be combined with the ability to make them concrete realities.
The creative environment A great deal of creativity research concentrates on the '3P's': people, process and product. However, the organisational climate and culture deserves some attention of its own. Unless one is working in, or is able to create a climate and culture that is conducive for innovation, (which includes democratic and participatory structures; openness to change and challenge; encouragement of risk taking; a playful approach to new ideas; and a tolerance of vigorous debate) then one is on a hiding to nothing. According to Amabile (1983) the following enhance organisational creativity: Freedom (especially operational autonomy) Good project management Sufficient resources A climate that prizes innovation (and allows for failure) Pressure (within limits)
Whilst the following act as inhibitors or blocks to organisational activity Evaluation Constraint Formal rules Respect for traditional ways of doing things Indifference Competition Time Pressure (when too high) Amabile makes the point that many of the organisational factors considered to be inhibitors of creativity operate by restricting people's freedom to work in the way that best suits them.
The creative product The criteria or characteristics of creative products are of particular importance because it is the basis of any performance assessment of real world creativity and may provide a window on the other aspects of creativity. Of course the creative product - whether it be an actual, physical object or an expressed idea - is the proof or evidence that creativity has occurred. And because it is a product and therefore tangible - is also the easiest element to assess. We use product-based assessment in selection and recruitment - portfolios of work, audition tapes, recent papers, full list of publications etc.