Creativity refers to the ability to produce work in a novel, original and unexpected way in an appropriately useful manner. It explores how the constraints can be overcome and value to the society. Creativity is a synonym to idea, invention, or breakthrough.
Creativity is the phenomenon of thinking beyond the set boundaries and attempting to resolve issues by original and unconventional ways. It is one’s ability to make new things, generate new ideas or unusual ways of doing things. Schumpeter suggested that entrepreneurs need ideas to pursue but ideas hardly materialize accidentally.
Learn about: 1. Introduction to Creativity 2. Definitions of Creativity 3. Concept 4. Characteristics 5. Nature 6. Components 7. Importance 8. Types 9. Process 10. Approaches 11. Constituents of Creative Abilities
12. Entrepreneurship and Creativity 13. Types of Thinking 14. Techniques 15. Factors, Need and Stages of Creativity and Innovation 16. Creativity in Society and Workplace 17. Applications in Entrepreneurship and Innovation 18. Uses.
Creativity: Introduction, Definitions, Characteristics, Importance, Process, Techniques and Uses
Creativity – Introduction and Meaning
Creativity is expressed and brought to life in terms of products and services through organisations. Creativity plays a critical role in the society. Individual/organisational creativity and innovation play vital role in fulfilling customers’ needs, creating jobs, and contributing to the economy. Even local governments solve their problems in a creative way to meet the needs of the community, and there by enhance the quality of life for the citizens.
Creativity refers to the ability to produce work in a novel, original and unexpected way in an appropriately useful manner. It explores how the constraints can be overcome and value to the society. Creativity is a synonym to idea, invention, or breakthrough.
Innovation is a process of generation, acceptance, developing and implementing a new idea, process, product, or service. It may be technical (process improvement) or social (quality circle). It focuses on taking a creative idea and bringing it to fruition in terms of profits or customer satisfaction, job satisfaction, lower costs and faster service.
In other words, for an idea to see the light of the day, or to bring the concept to market, its potential must be recognized; adequate funds must be committed and provided, a conducive environment is to be provided to overcome all the obstacles such as – technology challenges, competitive pressures, entry barriers, etc.
At every stage, several decisions have to be made and conventional decision making styles may not be adequate. Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand. Creativity without innovation has significantly diminished value. Innovation without creativity also has no relevance.
In other words, if there are no creative ideas, the innovation pipeline does not get enough feeding. Creativity refers to production of novel and useful ideas in every domain whereas innovation involves successful implementation of creative ideas within an organisation.
Creativity needs to be manifested in all the steps in the decision-making process namely identifying problems and opportunities, gathering information, generating new ideas, and exploring the validity of those ideas. To conclude, no innovation is possible without creativity.
Creativity is initiated and exhibited at the individual level and is manifested by personality, motivation and expertise. Also factors such as – organisational culture and climate, team dynamics, quality of leadership, employee engagement, empowerment, high-performance work culture influence these variables and therefore impact individuals’ behavior. The focus of creativity is primarily at the individual level where as innovation operates much more at the team/group and organisational levels.
You need creativity initiatives-for all business purposes. We all have a tendency to look for creativity in products and to forget about its importance in processes, practices, and perceptions. Such myopia can lead only to disaster. No business today can afford to neglect the need for continual renewal of its marketing, its recruiting, its accounting, its planning processes, and so on.
Ditto for pedagogic creativity, improvement in the methods by which a company passes on old skills to new employees and teaches new skills to old employees. Even the realm of corporate values should support a certain kind of creativity. Businesses are not traditional societies that, with involuntary efficiency, disseminate their values through, as it were, everyone’s mental DNA. The values that companies work by, and do business by, must be consciously and deliberately — that is, creatively or uncreatively — established.
Mr. P. E. Vernon says that creativity involves novel combinations or unusual association of ideas which must have theoretical or social values or make an emotional impact. Creative thinking has a theme, is rational and is problem-oriented. The problem, however, is not dealt within a routine manner.
Solution to the problem involves innovative thinking, which produces either better, more ingenuous, or more aesthetic results than usual, ‘originality’ in that original thought merely means something new or different, without the value or utility implied in creativity.
Creativity is seldom a single flash of intuition. Instead, it is a process that generally involves extensive analysis of a number of places of information and a separation of the irrelevant from the significant. Much creativity results from analyzing a variety of combinations and searching for new relationships. Ideas do sometimes come after a sudden burst of insight. Usually, however, the individual has been working on the problem for some time.
Recent research shows that creativity is also the ability to use different modes of thought. Howard E. Gardner, Co-director of a long-term study at Harvard University, on creativity development in children theorizes that humans have at least seven distinct capabilities – logical, linguistic, musical, spatial, sensitivity to bodily sensations, self-understanding, and the understanding of others. No one intelligence is intrinsically creative. Creativity requires honing one or more of these intellectual processes to a high degree.
Creativity – Definitions
Creativity is the act of seeing things that everyone around us sees while making connections that no one else has made. Creativity is moving from the known to the unknown. In addition, both innovation and entrepreneurship demand creativity.
According to Oxford dictionary, creativity means, “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.”
There is a popular saying that “creativity is a mysterious process”. However, performed by a gifted or brilliant mind. However, researchers over the past few decades have proved that creative ability is universally distributed but few use it to its full potential.
Use of creativity in entrepreneurship includes being independent and spontaneous, resourcefulness and processing a problem solving attitude. Therefore creativity can be defined as the process of developing an original product, service or idea that makes a socially impactful contribution.
Creativity and innovation are special breeds of planned change that organisations actively seek to promote in the system. Creativity is the process of developing a novel idea or a new way of approaching an old idea, is the spark of innovation, the transformation of creative ideas into products or process that fulfill customer needs.
“Creativity is marked by the ability or power to create-to-bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or bring into existence something new.”
“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being… creativity requires passion and commitment. Out of the creative act is born symbols and myths. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness— ecstasy”.
“A product is creative when it is- (a) novel and (b) appropriate. A novel product is original not predictable. The bigger the concept, and the more the product stimulates further work and ideas, the more the product is creative.”
The term ‘creation’ relates with founding and an origin. Creativity is concerned with the generation of new idea and innovation, translates new idea into a new product or an organisation. Innovation means doing the new things or the doing of things that are already being done in a new way.
Creativity – Concept
Creativity is a process by which a symbolic domain in the culture is changed. Creativity is the ability to make or otherwise bring into existences something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. Creativity is the starting point for innovation. Creativity is, however, necessary but not sufficient condition for innovation. Innovation is the implantation of creative inspiration.
Creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new. Of course, it is not the ability to create anything out of nothing, but it is the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing, or reapplying the existing ideas. Some creative ideas are astonishing and brilliant, while others are just simple, good, and practical, ideas that no one seems to have thought of yet. It is also a healthy attitude that helps people take a refreshingly fresh approach to everything—where all permutations and combinations are tested to find better and improved ways of doing things.
Creativity is the product of hard mental labour, going beyond the four walls and carrying out those gradual alterations and refinements over a period of time in order to find something that is better, improved, and readily accepted by millions of people all over the globe. It is a process of seeing issues from different angles and breaking away from old rules and norms that bind us to traditional methods of accomplishing tasks. It allows us to be different and helps us find new answers and solutions to problems, both old and new—in a creative way.
Creativity is the ability of a person to conceive something unpredictable, original and unique. Creativity is to generate new ideas, alternatives, solutions, and possibilities in a unique and different way. It is the mirror of how beautifully a person can think in any given circumstance. It can be genetic as well as non-genetic activity.
Creativity is the phenomenon of thinking beyond the set boundaries and attempting to resolve issues by original and unconventional ways. It is one’s ability to make new things, generate new ideas or unusual ways of doing things. Schumpeter suggested that entrepreneurs need ideas to pursue but ideas hardly materialize accidentally.
Ideas progress through a creative process, whereby, a person with vision germinates ideas, nurtures them and develops them successfully.
It can be developed if someone keeps on learning and comprehending things with a rare and exclusive perception. It must be expressive, exciting and imaginative. Creativity is a brainstorming and mind-blogging activity in which a person has to think beyond his imagination for bringing something worthwhile. It is an activity of unveiling something which was previously hidden.
Creativity – Characteristics of a Creative Entrepreneur
Following characteristics are indicative of a creative entrepreneur:
1. An entrepreneur adheres to rules and principles only when they add value to the organization and have a potential to attract more customers.
2. An entrepreneur experiments with his ideas as the first step, later converting ideas in to implementation.
3. An entrepreneur is less afraid to lose and is always keen to experiment in new ventures.
4. The entrepreneur is not afraid of creativity and believes that creative ideas will only help his enterprise.
5. A creative thinker will take inspiration from new ideas in every area directly or indirectly related to the enterprise.
6. An entrepreneur is not afraid to go beyond the industry and enter new markets. This opens a wide range of opportunities to formulate new niches.
7. Every product and service is not good enough and has room for improvement. An entrepreneur realizes that very well.
8. A creative thinker is interested in bringing totally opposite things together to create new products or services.
9. An entrepreneur develops better or new products for existing services and new services for existing products. .
10. A creative entrepreneur is not afraid to appreciate new ideas irrespective of who comes up with them.
11. An entrepreneur shares an idea and is open to feedback that improves and refines the idea.
12. A creative entrepreneur learns different things, whether they are related to the industry or not.
These indicators show that entrepreneurship and creativity go hand in hand with each other. Creativity is often seen as quintessential trait of an entrepreneur.
Creativity – Nature
There are many definitions each emphasising a different facet of creativity-
1. Approach of Outputs of Creative Efforts:
It describes creativity as “the discovery of something that is novel but also useful or relevant or economical or elegant or valuable.”
2. Approach of Novel Hypothesis:
It explains the gravity of a creative act. “The product or outcome of a creative effort must be both significant and strikingly different from the beaten track.”
However, Don Mackinnon has stated that mere novelty of a product does not justify its being called creative.
There are certain conditions for a product to be treated as creative:
(i) The product must be adaptive to reality.
(ii) It must serve to solve a problem, fit the need of a given situation and accomplish some recognisable goal.
(iii) The creative product must be produced, developed, evaluated, communicated etc.
(iv) Product is aesthetically pleasing.
(v) It significantly changes our view of the world.
3. Approach of Creative Process:
According to this approach, “creativity is divergent thinking, the seeking of relationship between previously unrelated concepts or frames of reference of exploring the underknown”. However, it may be possible that the result of this effort may or may not be creative but the effort indicates the important features of the creative process, for example wide search or exploration, leaps of imagination, incubation, developing fresh insight, etc.
Generally, routinised nature of the work adversely affect the imaginative capacity of the individual and consequently limits the scope of creativity. Due to this reason, science and arts are generally more creative pursuits than the factor work or vocational training programmes.
4. Approach of States of the Being:
Under this approach, “creativity is identified with openness in expressing feelings, receptivity to ideas, concern for others, desire to grow as a person and actualise one’s potential etc.” In this context, it is feasible to compare creative and non-creative persons from the same profession.
There are certain additional personality traits and abilities that distinguish creative person from non-creative persons like the greater love of complexity of the creative? Their more bizarre fantasy life but simultaneously a high degree of contact with reality their greater dependence of judgement.
The ability to come up with many varied and uncommon ideas or solutions also seems to distinguish creative from non-creative persons, as also their ability to notice anomalies, issues, paradoxes etc.
Thus, the above different approaches relating with creativity indicates that they are affected by different limitations. If we evaluate creativity only in terms of novelty and usefulness or elegance of a product, we will find that this creative product may have been discovered or produced either accidentally or by a non- creative process.
Now a days, innovation are highly institutionalised. Most of the researchers are based on individual/particular problem area and scientific methods are applied or tested to that particular problem area. Similarly, dreamer would be the champion creative if we judge the creative by the creative process instead of the creative product.
The dreamer is more concerned with the extent of imagination and divergent thinking, combinational play, the relating of remote ideas and these factors enable the dreamer of the creative process at their floodtide during dreaming.
If creativity is to be evaluated in terms of the characteristics of the creative person such as lack of inhibition, receptivity, curiosity, idea flows etc., the child who will be in a better position, leading scientists, artists, thinkers and poets.
So, we can say that creativity is concerned with the employment of a playfully exploratory rather than a mechanical process of problem-solving, by a person who is open and curious and imaginative rather than by a person who is inhibited and conventional to find solution or design that are novel (and yet useful) rather than merely run of the will.
Convergent thinking helps in this divergent thinking process where the thinker is supposed to make some critical choices like establishing an original line of enquiry or thinking.
Creativity – Several Components: Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, Elaboration, Sensitivity to Problems, Redefine Problems and a More..
Creativity consists of several components, such as – fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration, sensitivity to problems, and the ability to redefine problems.
Fluency Refers to the speed with which a person can produce a number of responses to an existing problem, e.g., how to using a pencil in different ways?
It is the ability to change focus and shift gears quickly. This goes beyond the common sense logic. For example, when asked to list the uses of cotton, the suggestions can be of making bed covers, pillow covers, carpets, etc. These solutions represent the use of cotton as a fabric. There may be other alternatives like cotton being used in surgical purposes, making wicks for kerosene lamps, for cosmetic use, etc. To be creative is to offer different solutions to the same problem in quick succession.
It is the most basic ingredient of creativity. It refers to a solution that is both novel and useful. Psychologists usually appreciate originality when the response offered is appropriate but statistically infrequent. For example, you may be asked to list the uses of a fan. Many would say – drying a wet floor, drying clothes, cooling a room, etc.
It is the ability to follow through on a general idea. It is the ability to think through an idea and list the steps to implement the same.
v. Sensitivity to Problems:
It is the ability to identify gaps in the knowledge in a given situation, separate the issues that need to be resolved, and list the missing or contradictory elements. When you are shown a picture of children playing an unknown game and asked to list the questions that come to your mind— you may raise a lot of questions when you are sensitive to the given problem. If you are unable to raise questions, you are said to be insensitive to the problem presented to you.
vi. Redefining Problems:
Refers to the ability to break up the problem into convenient parts and making it easy to find a solution. You are restating the problem in the simplest possible manner so as to find a clear way.
Components of Creativity:
1. Intrinsic Motivation:
1st and 3rd stage is based on this component.
(a) Processing diverse information
(b) Seeing non-obvious size of an issue
(c) Exploring alternative solutions.
2. Skills in Task Domain:
2nd, 4th and 5th stage.
(a) Knowledge of the problem area.
(b) Technical skill required in solving it
3. Skill in Creative Thinking:
3rd and 4th stage.
(a) See different uses of a single idea
(b) Visualise potential solution
(c) Generate a number of diverse alternatives.
Creativity – Importance of Creative Thinking
Creative thinking is the must have “skill” of an entrepreneur for the creation of new ideas. Creativity allows a person to devise interesting processes, which gives numerous advantages to entrepreneurs.
Creativity leads to success by:
1. Creating New Ideas for Competitive Advantage:
The whole process of entrepreneurship is rooted in creation and exploration of new ideas. When an entrepreneur is able to generate a new idea that is feasible as well as efficient, it gives him a competitive edge over competitors.
2. Developing New Products and Improving the Business:
Creativity helps develop new ways of improving an existing product or service and optimizing a business. There is always a room for improvement in the deliverables of an enterprise; it is the creative entrepreneur who can assess how to do it.
3. Thinking the Unthinkable:
Creativity requires imagination to produce the most obscure ideas. Imagination is needed to cross the boundary of “usual” and “normal” or to have out of the box thinking. It enables the entrepreneurs to think beyond the traditional solutions, come up with something new, interesting, versatile, and yet have success potential.
4. Finding Similar Patterns in Different Areas:
Sometimes, due to following a routine or a habit, the thinking process also goes along the line of those established processes. Creativity enables people to connect dissimilar and unrelated subjects and make successful entrepreneurial ideas. Merging different fields creates interesting intersections that develops new niches. Most people are afraid of bringing different disciplines together, but most interesting ideas come from colliding different fields.
5. Developing New Niches through Creativity and Entrepreneurship:
In entrepreneurship, it is important that new aspects of traditional business are explored. This can be in the form of changing the method of manufacturing the product or delivering the service or mechanism through which they are supplied to the users. All these areas can create a niche that has great potential in business.
6. It helps formulate the best possible idea.
7. It allows for exploring new horizons and seeing the big picture.
8. It enables an entrepreneur to evaluate and ask questions that have not been considered previously.
9. It helps in taking decisive actions.
Creativity – Different Types of Creativity as Suggested by Various Authors
Generally, quality of creation determines the types of creativity. Various authors have suggested different types of creativity.
These are as follows:
1. Abraham Maslow:
According to him nature of creativity deals with the following aspects-
(i) Primary Creativity- It deals with spontaneous creations. Spontaneous creations, as in a child belong to primary creativity,
(ii) Secondary Creativity – It is more deliberate and skilled as in the application of ideas and insight to inventions.
2. Ainsworth Land:
According to him there are the following levels of creativity-
(ii) Improvement oriented
(iii) Combination or syntheses of superior quality
(iv) Transformation (such as the emergence of a new approach or paradigm through the destruction of the old)
3. Iring Taylor:
Iring Taylor has suggested the following quality hierarchy-
(i) Spontaneous Creativity- It is similar to Maslow’s primary creativity. It deals with spontaneous creations,
(ii) Technical Creativity – It involves striking improvement in a process that increases the level of proficiency or efficiency.
(iii) Inventive Creativity – It involves ingenuous new combination of materials or ingredients. In this context, we can mention the Edison’s light bulb or Bell’s telephone.
(iv) Innovative Creativity – It involves far-reaching application of more basic ideas such as management applications of principles of psychology to develop a much more effective system for motivating staff.
(v) Emergentive Creativity – It consists of new revolutionary principles for an art or a science such as the psycho-analytical concepts of Freud or the relativity concept of Einstein or Picasso’s cubist ideas.
Generally, emergentive creativity is intrinsically not so much superior to expressive, technical, inventive or innovative creativity. According to Khandwala, these are simply different forms of creativity and each can vary enormously in quality. The quality or level of creativity is related to the level of novelty and appropriateness of the creative effort.
The lowest level -is where novelty is minimal and appropriateness (to a situation or a context) is marginal, the highest when both are exceptionally high. Moderate levels of either or both indicate intermediate levels of creativity. The implication in that we need not move from expressive to emergentive creativity.
Rather, to improve the quality of any type of creativity we need to move in two directions simultaneously, towards greater relevance or appropriateness of whatever we are trying to create. This means we should get better at both divergent thinking and also at acquiring a deep understanding of reality.
Creativity – Process (With Steps)
The process of creating interesting ventures is inherently dynamic and versatile.
A typical process of creativity goes through the following steps:
Step 1 – Preparation:
The first stage is the preparation of some basic ideas to hold onto. There has to be some inspiration that “forces” or “prepares” the entrepreneur to move forward. The creative process starts with identifying a problem and then researching for related information. This is done in an effort to start looking for a viable solution. An entrepreneur looks in every direction to solve the problem, be it inside the industry or outside the business domain.
One has to leave the comfortable arena, go beyond and take a risk. Rewards come with efforts. “Thinking outside the box” is an expression that has been used in the area of marketing, business and psychology since the 1970s. It owes its origin to a “nine dot” game that was once used as a test of creativity.
The puzzle was designed such that the person had to go beyond the dots to find the solution. However, psychologists say that this “external” factor is not really external; it is simply the existing solution to the problem. “External” is only how our brain tends to perceive it.
During the incubation stage, ideas that have the potential to solve a problem tend to flourish. This stage is characterized by the unconscious thought process of refining an idea. Apparently, there are many activities at work during this stage, but the overall goal is to find a solution. Evaluating existing projects can help to generate viable ideas. Some researchers even refer to the creativity process as re-creativity since it takes inspiration from existing ideas and molds them in an innovative way.
Incubation leads to clarity of ideas. This is the “solution finding” stage. Now the creativity process leads to the knowledge of some practical ideas that can be put to work. It is like a “light bulb” moment, hence it’s called illumination.
This stage determines whether the “found” solution even has the potential to work or not. The idea can either be accepted as such, modified with minor or major changes, or rejected altogether, requiring that the whole process to be done again.
Generating innovative ideas is a comparatively easy task. The major success of an entrepreneurial endeavour lies in critically examining the viability of an idea. Critical thinking enables an entrepreneur to self-judge in order to evaluate the idea. It is defined as a self- directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored and self-corrective process of evaluating an idea.
No one else is aware of the aspects of the problem as well as the proposed solution like the entrepreneur is. Therefore, a very honest opinion about the viability of an idea can come from the entrepreneur himself.
Therefore, the process of creative thinking that starts with brainstorming “ends” at the critical analysis of the idea’s viability. The resulting potentially viable ideas can lead to the creation of actual entrepreneurial enterprises or improvement of the existing ones.
Creativity – Four Different Approaches: Imagination, Improvement, Investment and Incubation
Creativity can be looked at from four different angles.
Let’s examine these approaches briefly:
Approach # i. Imagination:
Creativity is the ability to create something new, a kind of a breakthrough, even a totally different way of solving a problem. It may refer to a revolutionary idea or a unique solution. Disney’s theme parks or animated movies, Apple’s iPod and Macintosh computer may all come under this category of revolutionary thinking, which often changes the course of history.
Of course, creativity is not the ability to create out of nothing but the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing or reapplying the existing ideas in a novel manner. Some creative ideas are astonishingly different, refreshingly fresh and absolutely brilliant, while others are just simple, good, and practical ideas that no one seems to have even imagined as yet. The vegetarian toothpaste, the one-rupee sachets, all falls in this category.
Radically different solutions and revolutionary approaches generally emerge when people begin to think ‘out of the box’. For example, the evolutionary technology in fighting termites eating away at houses has been to develop safer and faster pesticides and gases to kill them.
A somewhat revolutionary change has been to abandon gases altogether in favour of liquid nitrogen, which freezes them to death or even microwaves, which bake them. A truly revolutionary creative idea would be to ask – ‘How can we prevent termites from eating the houses in the first place?’ A new termite bait that is placed in the grounds in a perimeter around a house provides one answer to this question.
Approach # ii. Improvement:
By improving the existing processes or functions, one might be able to come out with a new idea that might change the course of history. Many a time, new ideas stem from other ideas, new solutions from previous ones, and the new slightly improved versions over older ones. For example, someone noticed that a lot of people, when out on dates, first had dinner, and then went to the theater. Why not combine these two events into one?
Thus, came into effect the dinner theater, where people first have dinner and then see a play or enjoy some other entertainment. Ray Kroc bought a restaurant in San Bernardino, California, from the McDonald brothers and just by creatively changing the way hamburgers were made and served, he created the largest food service company in the world.
He did not invent fast food—White Castle and Dairy Queen had long been established—but he changed the process of preparing and serving them. By creating a limited menu, following standardized and uniform cooking procedures, ensuring consistent quality and cleanliness of facilities irrespective of the location and by offering food in an inexpensive way, Ray Kroc brought about a major revolution in the fast food industry through the McDonald’s brand.
The evolutionary or incremental method of creativity also reminds us of that important principle – Every problem that has been solved can be solved again in a better way. Creative thinkers do not subscribe to the idea that once a problem has been solved, it can be forgotten, or to the notion that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ A creative thinker’s philosophy is that ‘there is no such thing as an insignificant improvement’.
Approach # iii. Investment:
Creativity, many a time, could mean meeting the problems head-on, adopting a competitive posture and focusing on getting things done in a faster and much better way. Putting the critical resources to the best advantage—in a disciplined manner consistently—in order to stay ahead of the competition may bring in unbeatable competitive advantage to some firms in this economic jungle. The classic rivalry between Honda and Yamaha illustrates this point very clearly.
Honda, the industry leader in motor cycles, decided to step out of Japan in the 1970s with a view to conquering the global market. Yamaha saw an opportunity to hit back the market leader and began attacking Honda’s clientele through aggressive marketing campaigns. Honda retaliated almost instantaneously. The punch line was – Yamaha wo tubusu, meaning ‘We will smash, break, annihilate, and destroy Yamaha’.
Honda introduced more than 100 new models to outsmart Yamaha and won the war of words, wits and nerves in a battle spanning over 10 years. Yamaha, consequently, had to retrace its steps and settle for the second position. Honda’s approach to win over its customers typically reflects the approach to creativity through investment, i.e., rapid response, competitive maneuvering and being the first mover.
Approach # iv. Incubation:
According to this approach, creativity is the result of teamwork, involvement and coordination among individuals. When people work together, when they understand each other and work towards a common goal. When they are fully empowered, they are in a better position to come out with something radically different, novel and even exciting.
Creativity is nothing but ‘common men doing uncommon things’, like Mahatma Gandhi waging a relentless war against the mighty British empire single-handedly by mobilizing innumerable networks of people to pursue a clear set of goals where everyone had a stake. The Quit India movement, the Dandi (Salt) March and other non-violent protests galvanized millions of people to join Gandhi in his struggle against the British and achieve independence from the British. When human interactions are facilitated and encouraged, the result usually something that the world has never witnessed before!
Creativity – Link between Entrepreneurship and Creativity
We have now assessed that entrepreneurs can attribute their success to creativity. But what exactly links entrepreneurship and creativity?
Entrepreneurs link the creative mind and the business mind.
In today’s world, due to globalization and excessive industrialization, products are manufactured and exported to international markets. As a result, there is easier access to every product, everywhere. The consumer has access to various kinds of products differing in terms of type and quality.
So what does a business person do in a market flooded with products? How can someone think of manufacturing and supplying a product in markets where consumers already have their trusted preferences and so many choices to choose from? How can we make a product stand out from the rest?
A creative mind answers all those questions. Creativity helps us think of how to improve existing business practices. A brand might be very established and popular among the consumers, but there is always something that can be done differently from them and in a better way. A creative mind is like an artist who creates new and exciting patterns on canvas. Creativity can come up with the most unthinkable ideas and bring innovation into existing practices.
Creativity is simply the ability of imagination. Imagination leads someone to reach never before explored areas. In business terms, imagination alone is what is known as “thinking outside the box”. Using imagination, an entrepreneur can put aside the practical norms and think of something creative and innovative.
However, a creative mind has to have entrepreneurial skills to bring those creative ideas to life in a business setting. An entrepreneur assesses the requirements of how to execute an idea by analyzing available vs. required resources, how to establish a new enterprise and how to manage it.
An entrepreneur designs business models that can support and execute innovative ideas in the first place. An entrepreneur provides the ‘science’ aspect about how to bring the artistic creativity to life. Therefore, an entrepreneur bridges the gap between the creative genius and a traditional business approach.
Creativity – 2 Types of Thinking: Convergent and Divergent Thinking
Basically, there are two types of thinking or problem-solving activities. These are convergent and divergent thinking.
It consists of those abilities, which helped a person get to the right solution in problem that had one right solution. For example, good memory, logical ability etc. It also consists of mechanisms of thought that help the person get a good definition of the problem when the problem is complex or vague, to analyse the problem in depth, to select a solution (or the method of getting a solution) out of many that may be available to put together a solution (i.e., to synthesise a solution) and to refine a solution and make of an efficient one.
It is rational thinking. In this thinking, the information provides one right answer or recognised best or conventional answer. It is also required to grasp an unclear problem. Categorisation, logical thinking, analysis, comparing, evaluation are critical factors in this phase of problem-solving.
In the problem-solving process, “Problems are such that there is only one right answer or at best a few right answers and these answers can easily be discriminated from the many wrong ones. Also, given the problem, anyone knowing the basic logical, mathematical or memory operations can reach the right answer.”
Mechanism of Convergent Thinking:
(i) Clarificatory Mechanism:
A problem is an unmet goal or an unwanted effect often accompanied by insufficient information as to what is wrong, why is it wrong, how to set it right and/or what would constitute setting the problem right.
It incorporates phases like:
(a) Verbalising a problem,
(b) Listing the components of the problem,
(c) Analogies and comparisons.
(ii) Analytical Mechanism:
It involves several related processes of clarification:
(a) Breaking a problem down into its components (factoring of the problem),
(b) Seeking relationships among components,
(c) Identifying components of a problem into more abstract forms,
(d) Defining issues, constraints variables,
(e) Imposing constraints on a problem like making assumptions, establishing criteria of evaluation,
(f) Costing or selecting by comparing and evaluating alternatives,
(g) Working backwards from a solution to the present situation,
(h) Building a model of the problem situation and manipulating its components to see alternative outcomes.
(iii) Synthesis Aiding Mechanism:
It deals with various stands of thought or the various parts of a complex situation in the form of brief notes, which generally trigger the act of synthesis. Synthesis is the act of seeing the pattern among components the whole in the parts, the unity in the diversity. A mechanism that aids synthesis once the analysis is completely made is that of aggregation.
Some of the factors also help in the act of the synthesis:
(b) Inconsistent or extreme elements, and
(c) Broad model.
(iv) Optimising Mechanism:
Optimising is the process of refining a solution until the solution is of acceptable quality.
It involves a number of mechanisms such as:
(a) Substitution of parts,
(b) Addition of components,
(c) Deletion of unnecessary ingredients,
(d) Modification of elements,
(e) Alteration of the relations between the components,
(f) Formalising the criteria for evaluating potential solutions.
It is an imaginative phase of creative thinking. According to Guilford, “The unique feature of divergent production is that a variety of responses is produced. The product is not completely determined by the given information … Divergent thinking… comes into play whenever there is trial and error thinking…
“Further, in divergent thinking operations, we think in different directions, sometimes, searching, sometimes, seeking variety.” Actually, divergent thinking is the main characteristic of creative thinking. “Divergent thinking is undertaking search for solutions that may involve substantial departures from beaten track. It involves using approaches or perspectives that may be uncommon or unusual, often resulting in a variety of solutions. Some of which may be quite novel.”
(i) Development of a working definition of the problem.
(ii) Formulation of objectives and procedures, etc.
(iii) Use of associative thinking for developing for more and more alternatives.
(iv) Reinterpretation of constraints to help in restructuring process of original problems.
(v) Evaluation of possible solution to make the further searching possible.
(vi) Setting the mind to synthesise imaginary solutions.
(vii) Launching brain storming to generate unconventional alternatives or solutions.
(viii) Searching solutions to counter the use of conventionally advanced alternatives.
(ix) Re-assessment of basic assumptions required for current approaches.
(x) Encouragement or facilitation to conceiving process of far out possibility by creating distortion or avoidance of problem constraints.
(xi) Assessment of negative consequences of non-availability of solutions and doing efforts for generating solutions to the problem.
(xii) Seeking interesting far-out analogies to the problem situations and an exploration of their mechanics.
(xiii) Diverting attention from a mind-set or obsessions, side tracking.
Creativity – Techniques for Developing Creativity: Brain Storming, Attribute Analysis, Synetics and Checklist of Questions
It is a group technique, but it can also be used by individuals. The brainstormer takes up a fairly clearly stated problem which has many possible solutions such as how to increase plant productivity or how to develop interest among children in science. Thereafter, the individual or panel of brainstormer is encouraged to ‘brainstorm”, i.e., generate in a rapid-fire fashion novel solution to the problem.
All criticism or evaluation of any idea during this brainstorming phase is generally discouraged. Brainstorming is based on the principle that quantity of ideas begets quality and to get many ideas, it is necessary to suspend evaluation of ideas during the idea generation phase.
Features of Brainstorming:
(i) It is not useful as a technique where the problem has a unique solution that can be reached by analysis.
(ii) Specific topic is required for brainstorming process. In the absence of specific topic, brainstorming will not be very fruitful.
(iii) It leads to many ideas. Once the ideas are generated, then it is necessary to identify a few ideas for more intensive investigation.
(iv) It has a wide acceptability. It creates more ideas. Participants in brainstorming session are free, give more ideas or large number of options.
(v) It is a powerful technique in which participants are motivated to give suggestions for solving the specific problem meant for brainstorming session.
(vi) It provides a democratic and collaborative culture specially in case of divergent thinking.
Principles of Brainstorming:
i. During the generating phase of ideas, evaluation process is to be deferred. It is more relevant specially in case of evaluation of negative and critical kind of ideas.
ii. Encouragement should be given to generating more and more ideas. It will provide more opportunity for generating more brilliant ideas. Principle of “Quantity begets quality” should be implemented.
iii. It would be better to encourage more fantastic ideas. A fantastic idea is the one, which does not seen at all to be a practical idea. It will discourage conventional patterns of thinking. It is true that fantastic ideas are not practicable but they trigger other ideas that might not only be novel but also useful.
iv. It is better to welcome other’s ideas or one’s own previous ideas. It would also be better to open to the suggestive power of other’s or one’s own earlier ideas.
It attempts to generate alternative ways of satisfying the major characteristics of a product or activity. It is useful for designing or redesigning a specific product or service or an activity.
It also combines the convergent thinking principle of forming categories with the brain storming principle of generating many alternative solutions.
Crawford has suggested the following steps in attribute analysis:
(a) Identification of major attributes of an object or an activity.
(b) Generation of many alternative ways of securing the possible attribute.
(c) Evaluation of alternative designs in terms of criteria like cost, marketability, etc.
According to Crawford, magic inspiration is not the only or even major source of creativity. Much creativity arises from changing the attributes of an object or an activity or from grafting on to the object or activity an attribute or attributes of some other object or activity.
Crawford has given the following principles of attribute listing:
(i) Creativity deals with inspiration. It also includes adaptation and experimentation.
(ii) Creation includes combination of different products or ideas as well as allows the modification of an attribute or assimilation of different attributes of other things.
(iii) Concrete alternatives are to be searched and in case of need also modify the current attributes of an object.
(iv) Creativity deals with looking for closely related substitutes of an existing or current attribute. Thereafter, it can be upgraded to more and more far-out alternatives.
(v) Creation is a continuing stream of modifications repaired by ideas in use or in practice in current scenario. It also ensures necessary changes in products or objects.
Thus, we can say that the more specific the object or activity one wished to change, the better would be the results given by attribute listing. It also helps in separating the modifiable from the unmodifiable attributes of the objects. It also encourages to concentrate attention on the modifiable attributes.
In this context, the following procedures are required:
(a) Listing of all the obvious attributes of an object’ or activity, e.g., current size, colour, shape, functions, weight, major function, steps, subprograms etc. for an activity,
(b) Identifying some of these attributes that can possibly be altered without destroying the main function of the object or activity,
(c) Stating the alternative attributes as more abstract.
Steps Involved in Attribute Listing:
(i) Listing of basic but modifiable attributes or properties or specifications of a particular object or activity.
(ii) Generating alternatives to the current attribute or specification.
(iii) Listing abstract or generic attributes of a concrete object or activity. It helps in generating more ideas in place of listing the concrete attributes.
It is a group technique specialised in using a variety of analogies in problem-solving. The word synectics has been adopted from the Greek word synecticos in corporating diverse elements. Technique of Synectics is quite popular in practice for finding innovative approaches to a number of intractable technical problems.
“Synectics is a difficult technique but its principles of constructive psychological strain is most practical. It consists of mechanisms—analogies and metaphors— that bend and stretch the mind in every direction through the stuff of poetry. It also help in charming the mind for creating novel visions and insights.”
Major analogies under this technique are as follows:
(i) Direct Analogy:
It involves discussing an analogy of the problem situation from a very different field. It also undertakes a direct comparison of phenomenon under discussion with some other similar phenomenon. In this context, it is better to say that the more far-fetched the analogy, the greater the probability that the angle suggested by the analogy. Actually, it has not previously been thought of by anybody.
(ii) Personal Analogy:
It requires the problem-solver to project himself into a situation and report back his experiences of that particular situation like what he feels, sees, hears, thinks etc. This type of enquiry, sometimes helps in yielding dramatic discoveries.
(iii) Fantasy Analogy:
Under this analogy, the person concerned is asked to release his imagination from real life constraints and, in effect, day-dream. Group members are required to imagine a constraint free solution as in case of enjoying wish fulfilling daydreams. They are also urged to fantasise some perfect solution even if it flies in the face of known scientific principles.
(iv) Symbolic Analogy:
It requires group members to furnish pithy but poetic or paradoxical phrases for a situation. However, the leader is expected to take a key word or even undertake some discussion and ask the group members to come up with a short, provocative phrase that captures the essence of the word under discussion.
Moreover, it should be aesthetically satisfying or paradoxical. Examples of symbolic analogy (book titles) are progressive ingestion for forest fire, discrete infinity for multitude, involuntary willingness for receptivity, impure aggressor for acid etc.
It provides tentative solution to a barrage of questions. Some of these questions are quite straightforward questions – For example, how can we modify the solution to make it more economical, or can we find other uses of-the solution? Questions are the creative acts of intelligence for they could be so designed as to force a dramatic shift of perspective.
In this context, Edward de Bono has suggested the use of PO (Provocative Operation). PO consists of mechanism of breakdown habitual approaches such as an irrelevance, a joke, an inversion, etc.
According to him, “people often fall into a problem-solving rut. That is, they tend to solve problems using “old think” consisting of habitual, logical, orderly evaluative or ideological ways, of dealing with problems.” An irrelevance such as a random number or a random image or a joke may break the mental set, derail the habitual approach to generate lateral thinking and possibly help the mind to discover a fresher, more creative approach.
Creativity – Factors, Need and Stages of Creativity and Innovation
The concept of creativity and innovation are often used interchangeably. Although, creativity mainly focuses on the nature of thought processes and intellectual activity used for generating new insights/solutions to a given problem, whereas innovation broadly focuses on implementation of ideas for restructuring, or saving of costs, improved communication, new technology, new organizational structure and new personnel plans or programmes.
There is a popular notion that creativity is a mysterious process performed by a gifted or brilliant mind. D.T. Campbell argued that creativity is largely a product of sweaty trial and error. To be creative a person must work long hours and hard to generate multiple solutions. Creativity is a prerequisite for innovation and it can be developed in any individual especially when there is a concern for excellence. It is an accepted fact that concern for excellence is a common trait for most of the entrepreneurs.
Hence, to become an entrepreneur one should develop creativity in oneself. Creativity is development of novel solution to a perceived problem. It is defined as the ability to bring something new into existence. The emphasis is on the “Ability” and not the activity of bringing something new into existence. A creative person must conceive of something new and envision how it will be useful to the society. The action for putting the conceived idea to use is immaterial. Even if no effort is made to follow up the conceived new idea, the person is a creative person.
Innovation is the process of doing new things. This distinction is important. While creativity relates to the ability to conceive, the innovation is doing new things. Ideas have little value until they are converted into useful products or services. Innovation transforms creative ideas into useful applications. Hence, creativity is a pre-requisite to innovation. As per Schumpeter a person is an entrepreneur only when he is engaged in innovative behaviour. This innovative behaviour is an entrepreneurial function.
All organizations, virtually talk about creativity and innovation, some actually attempt to do it and only a few succeed in the endeavour.
Following factors are helpful in promoting creativity and innovation:
(i) Freedom to act and decide
(ii) Freedom from rules
(iii) Participative and informal management.
(iv) Focus on face to face communication
(v) Emphasis on regular and creative interaction
(vi) Adoption of Delphi technique
(vii) Flexibility for changing needs
(viii) Free flow of information
(ix) Decentralized procedures
(x) Rewards and recognition
(xi) Upward communication in the organization
(xii) Promoting open door policy of the top level management
(xiii) Public appreciation and acceptance of novel ideas
All organizations make conscious efforts to promote creativity by encouraging and rewarding the employees for novel ideas and suggestions. Since innovation and creativity are the need of the hour, due to fierce competition, it is important to identify the personnel who have this attribute at the time of recruitment itself. The interviewers design questions to find out about the creative talent of the incumbent. Once such persons are hired, they are motivated to give creative ideas through which a company could make a better standing in the market.
Creative personnel are a part of the “high potential individuals” who should be retained through motivation, incentives and even “golden hand cuff”, as they are scarce. Therefore it is very true when the incumbents are told that “if you have creativity – sky is the limit, if you do not, there is no place in the organization”
The stages of creativity are identification stage, incubation stage, illumination stage, development stage, analysis stage, verification stage, elaboration stage implementation stage, monitoring & review stage.
(i) Identification Stage:
This stage involves like sowing of a seed which, in case of an entrepreneur is an idea. The ideas come to the mind as a result of curiosity or passion for doing something new.
(ii) Incubation Stage:
Just as an egg has a hatching period, similarly an idea generates and stays in the mind of the entrepreneur, who concentrates, fantasizes and examines it, in-depth, till a solution emerges.
(iii) Illumination Stage:
It is synonymous with flash of light or lighting of bulb. This stage comes, when there is a sudden flash of ideas, which are yet to be tested.
(iv) Development Stage:
An idea/all the ideas which have flashed in the mind of an entrepreneur need to be developed at this stage. This phase includes building up the conceptual frame work of the broad idea.
(v) Analysis Stage:
Once the ideas have been built up, an analysis, both at macro as well as Micro level, has to be carried out.
(vi) Verification Stage:
This stage is where the analyzed idea under the analysis stage has to be verified in terms of facts and in the light of the each external environmental factors.
(vii) Elaboration Stage:
The best idea/ideas that emerge into the verification stage, are elaborated and quantified. This enables the management to choose the best option.
(viii) Implementation Stage:
The best option is now implemented.
(ix) Monitoring Stage:
The Top Level Management has to do a continuous monitoring, so that deviations, if any, are timely corrected. For doing a good monitoring job, it has to be done on three parameters, namely – pre, current and post monitoring. This implies that monitoring is planned even before the project has started and then is done simultaneously, while the project is in progress and ends with a post project review.
(x) Review and Modification Stage:
A constant review of the creative work has to be done & as and when required, modification must be done. Modification is required due to rapidly changing environment.
Creativity – In Society and Work Place
(i) There are great business opportunities in applying creative thinking to solving mankind’s crying need for basic products and basic support services – better homes, better jobs, and a better way of life.
(ii) There are going to be tremendous opportunities in education because we need fundamental and radical changes in India, if we are going to be competitive with other countries.
(iii) However, being able to adapt ideas, is what makes an entrepreneur successful. There is nothing wrong with learning from others ideas. Creativity comes in when you expand upon it, when you take an idea and make it move. The only way forward is to make our education to be adaptive and qualitative at all levels, to promote creativity.
(iv) Entrepreneurs create a new commercial product or service, is the key force in creating new demand and thus new wealth. Innovation creates new demand and entrepreneurs bring the innovations to the market. This destroys the existing markets and creates new ones, which will, in turn, be destroyed by even newer products or services. Schumpeter calls this process “creative destruction”
In view of the changing society’s needs and problems, People become more creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the situation and not by external pressures; the passion and interest which means, a person’s internal desire to do something unique to show-case himself or herself; the person’s sense of challenge, or a drive to crack a problem that no one else has been able to solve.
Within every individual, creativity is a function of three components namely Expertise, Creative thinking skills and Motivation, these have been explained briefly below:
Expertise encompasses everything that a person knows and can do in the broad domain of his or her work – knowledge and technical ability. Creative thinking refers to how you approach problems and solutions – the capacity to put existing ideas together in new combinations. The skill itself depends quite a bit on personality as well as on how a person thinks and works.
(ii) Creative Thinking Skills:
Expertise and creative thinking are the entrepreneur’s raw materials or natural resources. Motivation is the drive and desire to do something, an inner passion and interest. When people are intrinsically motivated, they engage in their work for the challenge and enjoyment of it.
The work itself is motivating. People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction and the challenge of the work itself-“the labour of love”, love of the work – “the enjoyment of seeing and searching for an outstanding solution – a break through. Creativity, according to Robert Gahim, consists of anticipation and commitment.
Creativity – Application in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
J.A. Timmoans has defined entrepreneurship as – “the ability to create and built something from practically nothing”. Fundamentally it is a creative activity manifested by initiating and building an enterprise or an organisation. It is a knack of sensing an opportunity where others see chaos, contradiction, and confusion. Entrepreneurship can be viewed as a creative and innovative response to the environment and an ability to recognise, initiate and exploit an economic opportunity.
According to Schumpeter, entrepreneurship is a creative activity. An entrepreneur is an innovator who introduces something new in an economy. Entrepreneurship is doing things that are generally not done in the ordinary course of business. Innovation may be in –
i. Introducing a new manufacturing process that has not yet been tested and commercially exploited.
ii. Introduction of a new product with which the consumers are not familiar or introducing a new quality in an existing product.
iii. Locating a new source of raw material or semi-finished product that was not exploited earlier.
iv. Opening a new market, hitherto unexploited, where the company products were not sold earlier.
v. Developing a new combination of means of production.
Peter Drucker argues that “innovation is specific function of entrepreneurship, whether in an existing business, a public service institution, or a new venture started by a lone individual”. Moreover Drucker suggests that “innovation is the means by which the entrepreneur either creates new wealth producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth.”
Thus, entrepreneurship and the innovation resulting from it are important for large and small firms as well as for startup ventures, as they compete in the present day competitive landscape. Therefore we can conclude that entrepreneurship and innovation are central to the creative process in the economy and to promoting growth, increasing productivity and creating jobs.
Innovation involves problem solving and an entrepreneur is a problem solver. An entrepreneur does things in a new and a better way. A traditional businessman working in a routine manner is not entrepreneurial.
Schumpeter makes a distinction between an innovator and an inventor. An inventor discovers new methods and new materials. It is an act of developing new product or process. On the other hand an innovator is one who utilises or applies inventions and discoveries to produce newer and better quality goods that give greater satisfaction to the consumers and higher profits to entrepreneurs. Innovation is the process of creating a commercial product from an invention.
An inventor produces ideas and an innovator implements them for economic gain. An inventor adds to the knowledge of the society while an innovator adds to their satisfaction by means of newer and better products and services. Thus an invention brings something new onto being while an innovation brings something new into use. Hence, technical criteria is used to determine the success of an invention, while commercial criteria is used to determine the success of an innovation. It is an innovator who commercially exploits an invention.
In the competitive environment growing enterprises are required to constantly innovate new products and processes. Not only the individuals, even the enterprises are required to be innovative.
Creativity can easily be designed into the enterprises by a few simple steps:
(a) Having open channels of communication and allowing contact with outside world promotes creativity in an organisation. Creative organisations allocate overlapping territories to its employees and lay emphasis on normal group activities. Brainstorming and suggestion systems are useful tools that promote creativity in an enterprise.
(b) Using teams for solving the problems is more likely to yield creative solutions. Teams that allow eccentricity and have non-specialists participating as team members usually find more creative solutions.
(c) Decentralised organisation structure with loosely defined positions and loose controls are more creative. Enterprises that promote risk taking and allow mistakes to be made by its employees promote creativity.
(d) Playful culture, freedom to discuss ideas and long term horizon of an enterprise is conducive to promotion of creativity in an enterprise. Organisations providing employees the freedom to choose and peruse problems make them more creative.
(e) Enterprises are made creative when resources are allocated to creative personal and projects without caring for immediate payoff. When organisations reward and encourage creative ideas and absolves its employees of peripheral responsibilities it makes the enterprise more creative.
Characteristics of Creative People:
i. Conceptual Fluency – Openness
iii. Less Authoritairian – Independent
iv. Playfulness, Undisciplined Exploitation
v. Persistent, Committed, Highly Focused.
Creativity – Uses
(i) Creativity to society’s problems is marked by the ability to create, bring into existence, to invent into a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make, to bring into existence something new.
(ii) Creativity is not ability to create out of nothing (only God can do that), but the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas.
(iii) Some creative ideas are astonishing and brilliant, while others are just simple, good practical ideas that no one seems to have thought, of yet.
(iv) Creativity is also an attitude, the ability to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it, we are socialized into accepting only a small number of permissible or normal things, like chocolate-covered strawberries, for example.
(v) The creative person realizes that there are other possibilities like peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or chocolate-covered prunes. Contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity, very few of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity.
(vi) Every idea is a product of thinking and every product is the manifestation of idea naked in a thinker’s mind. These are people who see problems as opportunities to improve and do something new or something better for the society.
(vii) While in making better things, thinking can produce various alternative leading making better things, thinking can produce various alterative leading to the evolution of a completely new idea, new production processes, or a total departure from the conventional.