People often think that there is a creative type. This is a myth.
1. We can all solve problems.
2. We can all produce large sets of ideas, large numbers of novel ideas and large numbers of diverse ideas.
3. Idea generation is related to task competency.
4. Whilst there are assertions for creativity traits such as a tolerance for ambiguity and intolerance to conformity, such traits are hard to identify and are not stable or transferable across situations.
5. Motivation is more critical than traits ? this is like possessing high intelligence ? one must be motivated to improve and use it.
6. The exact number of ideas people come up with depends on a variety of factors such as i) the degree of frame breaking allowed, ii) the degree of experience with the problem, iii) motivation etc.
David Ogilvy, the renowned advertiser, said: "For sixteen years I have been trying to find some common denominator which seems to apply to all creative people. There aren't any. If I could find five or six characteristics I might be more successful at hiring them. I could make a list of curiosity, vocabulary, good visual imagery etc and then I could interview hundreds of people and hire the best. But I don't know of any common characteristic. We've got fifty copywriters and I suppose the good ones are judged at the end of the year, when we compare how many successful campaigns they have created. I don't know how I could be more specific than that."
An experiment in the British Journal of Psychology, probably gives the best practical example. Businessmen who had showed up as very dull on work association tests were asked to imagine themselves as happy go lucky hippie types, in which persona they were re-tested, and showed up as being far more imaginative.
These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com/
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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Kal Bishop is in the process of authoring "The Innovation Bible." He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com/