What does creativity mean? If you were to ask 10 people to define creativity, you are likely to get 10 unique and different perspectives. There are a number of creativity theorists who have made a career trying to define and study creativity. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at the Quality of Life Research Center, suggested that exceptionally creative people are described as individuals who work hard for long periods of time with a clearly set intention in a domain in which they have a deep interest. Keith Sawyer, author of Group Genius, agrees that creativity consists of a lot of hard work but added that creativity is enhanced by consistently engaging in practices that develop good ideas. Eva Hoff, Lund University, positions creativity as the combination of two or more elements of reality in a new way with the intention to do something original. Thomas R. Fisher, Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, relates creativity to the thought process; however, Mark Runco, Professor at UGA, links creativity to bringing something new into existence, such as an invention, design, or work of art. Some theorists characterize creativity as a state of mature emotional intelligence, mental flexibility, and field independence (not relying on information provided by others).
When defining creativity, should it be characterized as personal creativity in order to consider individual differences? Does a child’s style preference (selfish vs. altruistic), attitude, level of curiosity, imagination, emotional maturity, stress tolerance, and self-efficacy impact creativity? Do birth order, extracurricular activities, cultural background, peer pressure, socioeconomic status, parental style (rigid vs. relaxed), and school culture influence creativity? How do all these individual differences work together in group creativity? Christophe Mouchiroud and Frank Zenasni, René Descartes University, have studied the individual differences in the development of social creativity, and determined that novel thinking can lead to behaviors which have a benefit to efficiently solving problems occurring in groups.
What role does imagination play in creativity? Are child paracosms (pretend play and imaginary worlds) a precursor to adult creativity? Eva Hoff stated that pretend play is a “necessary” part of the creative process in both adults and children. Marjorie Taylor, Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, studied the perspectives of a variety of theorists and found conceptual agreement that “imagination is a multifaceted capacity that emerges early in life, develops substantially during the preschool years, and continues to be fundamental to human thought throughout life.” Jerome and Dorothy Singer, Yale University, highlighted that “our human capacity for mental imagery representations, reenactments, and anticipatory constructions, which are all elaborations of our direct sensory experiences, may well be a defining characteristic of our species.” Another benefit of imagination is future thinking: the ability to contemplate the future, including theory of mind and inhibitory control.
As you can see from above, imagination and creativity are necessary for child development and success. I believe that imagination is the foundation for a creative mind. Programs, like Destination Imagination, enhance creative behavior and enable students to be flexible and adaptive in their thinking. Destination Imagination is unique in that it strives to teach the creative process from imagination to innovation. What do you think when you “imagine” a creative mind?
'However, while many people define genius differently, most agree that Richard Feynman was one and there is probably no better example of his brilliance than his famous talk, There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom. It not only launched a revolution in physics and engineering that is still being played out today, it shows us how a true genius really thinks.'
By slowing things down, you can enhance your own health, happiness, and creativity, as well as your kids’. Getting started can be as simple as taking a deep breath or making time for reflection, or as dramatic as taking a sabbatical.
A large sampling of the most eminent creators in history had to develop their own, unique processes to support creative production. How might we grant this latitude to those creative minds who haven't yet developed into producers - children - to undergird their growth in creative expression?
Creativity takes guts Hoping that your next idea is the next big idea is silly. Yet we so often find ourselves working on, or seeking out, ideas that are perfect, ideal, better than anything else out...