Nowadays, it is not only education and intelligence that are important, but also the ability to generate new ideas and find non-standard ways to solve problems. This skill helps to achieve high results in studies and positively influences career building. Let’s find out what creativity is, why we need it, and how to develop it.
What is creativity
Creativity, or creative ability, is the ability to think outside the box, find new solutions, and generate ideas. Creativity is intellect + imagination. Thanks to the intellect a person is able to think, analyze information, understand cause-and-effect relations, and draw conclusions. Imagination makes it possible to go beyond the usual patterns, reject stereotypes, and see new ways of solving problems.
The American psychologist and creativity researcher Ellis Paul Torrence distinguished the components of creative thinking by the level of development of which it is possible to judge the degree of creativity of a particular person.
Creativity criteria according to Torrens
Fluency is the ability to produce a large number of diverse ideas at great speed. At high levels of fluency, a person can come up with twenty ways to use an object, such as an ordinary pencil, in a minute.
Flexibility is the ability to evaluate a problem from all angles and apply different strategies in solving it. Flexibility helps one quickly grasp connections between different phenomena, establish patterns, and find commonalities in a variety of things and events.
Originality is the ability to generate unconventional or unexpected ideas and to deviate from conventional patterns. Originality helps one successfully get out of abnormal situations.
Elaboration is the ability not only to generate ideas, but also to deepen and detail them. A high level of detail distinguishes inventors and designers.
Resistance to short-circuiting – the ability to constantly perceive new information, not limiting oneself to one aspect or aspect of it, even if it seems most appropriate. Resistance to short-circuiting contributes to broadening one’s horizons and accumulating useful data for coming up with original solutions.
A high level of creativity makes a person more successful and allows him or her to achieve high results in any field of activity. Creative thinking is ranked third among the top ten most important agile skills of 2020 by the Davos Economic Forum.
How to develop creativity
Love the process of problem solving
A creative person finds pleasure not only in achieving the result, but also in the process of moving toward the goal – he or she likes to think, go over options, look for and find different ways out of situations. Faced with new challenges or unexpected difficulties, learn to perceive them not as problems, but as a challenge to your creative abilities.
Look for original ideas
Do not stop at the most obvious way of action, come up with at least a few options to achieve a goal, to solve a problem. Don’t put artificial limits on yourself.
Broaden your horizons
The more you know, the more food gets your imagination, and without imagination can not generate truly creative ideas. Read books, watch popular science and documentary films, gain experience in useful activities, and actively explore the world around you like a writer Кирилл Юровский.
Get creative in your everyday life
Try to be creative in every area of your life, not just when you study: think up new and interesting ways to spend your leisure time, pursue unusual hobbies, and offer non-standard solutions to everyday issues.
Even a trivial trip to the grocery store can be an exercise in creativity – think up new ways to the store, draw maps or overcome imaginary obstacles.
Learn to see the extraordinary in the ordinary
Even in the most familiar places, notice anything that looks special, differs from the standard, or doesn’t fit the patterns. Learn to see familiar objects from a new perspective and find unexpected ways to use them. For example, if you look at the branches of trees in early spring, you may notice that they look like the knotted fingers of some fabulous creatures.
Methods of developing creative thinking
British psychologist Edward De Bono, creator of the theory of lateral, or lateral (non-standard) thinking, has described in his books several techniques that help develop creativity and find original ways to solve problems.
Methodology 1. Synthetic Assault
Synthesis is the joining of incompatible elements. Synthetic storming as a way to solve problems was invented by the American researcher William Gordo. On the basis of his ideas, Edward De Bono created his own method of Synthetic Assault. It consists in the consistent use of direct, personal, generalizing, and symbolic analogy.
- Formulate the problem
- List the ways in which people usually solve the problem (looking for direct analogies).
- Think of ways you yourself would solve the problem (using personal analogies).
- Retell the problem in your own words, naming its characteristics (using a generalizing analogy).
- Imagine how familiar historical or fictional characters you know could have solved the problem (using a symbolic analogy).
Methodology 2. Six hats
Intended for work in a group, but it can also be used by one person. For this purpose, he or she will have to consistently try on various hats. The technique allows looking at a problem from different angles. Each hat symbolizes a certain approach to problem solving.
The white hat is informational. When wearing the white hat, you should gather and voice all the information about the problem (facts, figures, circumstances) and list the resources and possibilities for solving it.
The green hat is creative. Wearing this hat, you must generate several original ways to solve the problem.
The red hat is an emotional hat. Wearing it, you have every right to focus on premonitions, doubts, fears, and other feelings that arise when thinking of different ways to solve a problem.
The yellow hat is an optimistic hat. The wearer of this hat concentrates solely on a positive assessment of the ideas proposed.
The black hat is critical. It should consider all the shortcomings, difficulties and negative consequences of the various options for solving the problem.
The blue hat is an organizational hat. It should be put on last to summarize the discussion and draw conclusions.
Methodology 3. Going beyond
Often we cannot solve a problem or task because we limit ourselves to the framework of objective circumstances or our ideas about reality. The “stepping outside the box” method involves abandoning these limitations.
- Formulate a problem
- Imagine how you could solve it with inexhaustible resources and possibilities.
- Consider each idea that comes to your mind, and assess whether it can be implemented in whole or in part under the prevailing conditions.
Technique 4. Random Word
Can be used both in a group and individually.
- Formulate a problem.
- Say any word that comes to mind first.
- Try to relate it to the problem.
The more words you can associate with the problem, the higher your level of creativity will be. It is better that the words be as little related to the essence of the problem as possible.
What to remember
- Exercises to develop creativity help activate your brain and set yourself up for effective problem solving. However, the ability to create new ideas and make unexpected moves is also a habit.
- Every day set yourself creative tasks, look for new variants of solving intellectual and everyday issues – and creativity of thinking will become habitual and natural for you.