Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Components of Creativity Part 2; Creative Thinking

Whilst Expertise provides the foundations for creativity, Creative Thinking facilitates the recognition of creative potential. Expertise means little if the employee lacks the creative capacity to combine existing frames of reference into viable solutions. Whilst it is impossible to highlight a set of characteristics that guarantee an individual’s capacity for creative thinking, an initial interest in creativity clearly represents proclivities towards such potentials. Such personal tendencies towards creativity are only likely to be recognised where organisational creativity is facilitated. It is important to note that unless the immediate organisational environment actively facilitates and encourages creativity, innovative expectations of the workforce will not achieve realisation. This will be explored more fully in the post ' A Culture of Creativity'.

Although Tan recognises that one’s theoretical disposition may influence creativity management perceptions, it is generally accepted that creativity can, to an extent, be taught. Clearly, knowledge can be enhanced through ongoing interactions within the domain. Further, many academics have sugegsted that creative thinking can also be encouraged through relevant training. This finding is consistent with Bharadwaj & Menon, who suggest that “creativity training for individuals will enable them to prove their problem-solving skills, leading to more innovative solutions” (2000, p. 430).

Clearly there is an expense in terms of both time and money involved in creativity training. Recognising the value of intangible capabilities is however consistent with the Resource Based View, and should therefore be acknowledged as an investment made towards improving workforce effectiveness. Creativity is not simply an innate phenomenon, but can on the contrary be inculcated, encouraged and trained.

Show the Rogue some Stumble love


  1. First of all Chris you are very loveable, rogue or not, and I thank you for your article. ;-)

    Anyone with an interest in creativity can find ways of incorporating their creativity into even the most stultifying of situations if they make that creative intention a priority. Indeed, I'm sure that would be their survival mechanism in such a situation!

    That said, you are of course right, that without a culture that actively encourages exploring and developing new ideas and improvements, most creativity is nipped in the bud before it has it's chance in the sun.

    Problem solving seems to be creative thinking within a context of managing and sustaining existing systems rather than innovating and creating new systems, ideas and ways of doing things.

    Many people employ creative thinking as a way of sustaining tradition, entrenched ideas or vested interests.

    I guess creative thinking can be backward looking or forward looking, about putting out fires or about creating new worlds to step into.

    Either way, there are many fires needing to be put out in the world today, and a greater need for visionary thinking to create an improved future... lets hope more people will see that creativity training is worth investing in, and the culture of creativity is worth cultivating.


  2. Wily,
    Thank you for you sharing your thoughts. Your comment concerning creativity as a mechanism for attempting to subvert environmental constraints is interesting; failure to engage such a situation creatively would invariably challenge the employee's sanity! The implementation of even the smallest of iniatives stemming from creativity represents such an outlet. As you correctly identify, unless the culture is conducive of creative it can expect little more of the workforce than minor amendments to basic work processes. As you suggest, this constitutes little more than fire fighting.

    Visionary thinking is an absolute must for challenging this 'fire fighting' culture. As I will be discussing in one of my upcoming posts, such vision needn't reside solely within top level management; it is equally likely to be present within the general workforce. In order to adequately recognize this potential, employees should be encouraged above all to challenge the status quo, with failure being accepted as a consequence of the risk associated with creativity.

    Creativity is an absolute imperative in the current climate, and organisations must accept the risk therein in order to adequately innovate within their field. I will be examining a number of these themes in my next few posts.

    As for being lovable, I try my best! Glad you liked the content, and I hope the next few posts remain equally as useful to you. Thanks again for sharing, Wily.