What is creativity? Creativity is sought everywhere: in the arts, in entertainment, in business, in mathematics, in engineering, in medicine, in the social sciences, in the physical sciences. Common elements in creativity are originality and imagination. Creativity carries feelings of wide ranging freedom to design and to invent and to dream. But in engineering and science creativity is useful only if it fits into the realities of the physical world.

Creativity is an ability to come up with new and different viewpoints on a subject. It involves breaking down and restructuring our knowledge about a subject in order to gain new insights into its nature. Defining creativity is complicated because the concept has many dimensions. Two requirements for being creative.

  • To be creative is to be original
  • To be creative is to be useful Charles Cave defined ‘Being creative is seeing the same thing as everyone else, but thinking of something different’


    Logical thinking is a series of steps that extend what we know already, rather than being truly new.

    The need for creative thinking arises from the inadequacies of logical thinking.

    It is a method for producing insights that might not be obtained through conventional or traditional methods of logical thinking.


  • The need for creative thinking often becomes paramount when a paradigm shift occurs or is likely to occur.
  • A paradigm is a set of rules and regulations that guide our actions when solving problems.
  • Transport – train, airplane, spaceship


  • Challenge the status quo
  • Confront assumptions
  • Exhibit curiosity
  • Like to investigate new possibilities
  • Take the initiative
  • Are highly imaginative
  • Are future oriented
  • Tend to think visually
  • See possibilities
  • Are not afraid to take risks
  • Are prepared to make mistakes
  • Are adaptable to different environments
  • Are adaptable to changing circumstances
  • See relationships between seemingly disconnected elements
  • Distil unusual ideas down to their underlying principles
  • Synthesise diverse elements
  • Are able to spot underlying patterns in events
  • Are able to cope with paradoxes
  • Look beyond the first ‘right idea’

    There are two opposite personality traits that can contribute to getting good ideas. One personality trait is to be a lone wolf, a contrarian in your field. The opposite is to lead the pack of colleagues and competitors.

    Collective creativity

    Creativity is generally viewed as an individual pursuit, and of course, it can be, but groups can produce things which one person can hardly imagine. Spacecraft, cathedrals, good schools, parks, medicines and computers all result from group or “collective” creativity.

    Corporations today are using at least four approaches to embrace creativity (Coates and Jarratt):

  • Teaching and training creativity
  • Using creativity tools,
  • Setting up creative units that are isolated from the mainstream, and
  • Establishing a creative environment in the entire organization.
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