Enhancing Creativity


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Enhancing Creativity

  1. 1. Enhancing Creativity Kelly Smith and Leigh Smith
  2. 2. Presentation Outline • Overview of Defining Creativity • Can Creativity Be Enhanced? • Approaches and Studies Supporting Arguments. • How Can Creativity Be Enhanced? • Nickerson’s recommendations and potential applications.
  3. 3. Types and Degrees of Creativity • Csikszentmihalyi distinguishes 3 types of people who are creatives: • Those who express unusual thoughts. • Those who experience the world in novel and original ways. • Those who effect significant changes in their culture. • Idea of “Big C” and “little c.” • Psychological (P) vs. Historical (H) creatives.
  4. 4. Can Creativity be Enhanced? • Amabile argues, “That anyone with normal cognitive abilities can reasonably aspire to produce work that is creative to some degree in some domain.” • Creative thinking CAN be taught.
  5. 5. Connection: Sandra Moriarty • In the 1970’s she was the first in the advertising industry to say that creativity can be taught. • Prior to Moriarty, creativity in the advertising industry was perceived as something you either have or do not have.
  6. 6. Different Approaches to Creativity • Brainstorming and Problem Solving • The process has 3 major components: • Understanding • 1. Mess finding 2. Data finding 3. Problem finding • Generating Ideas • 1. Idea finding • Planning for action • 1. Solution finding 2. Acceptance finding
  7. 7. Different Approaches to Creativity • Different studies all on children in schools: 1) Productive Thinking Program • Looked at 5th and 6th graders. • Aim: To improve creative thinking. • Result: Combination of small classes and enthusiastic teachers appears to produce the greatest gains.
  8. 8. Different Approaches to Creativity • 2) CoRT Program • 6 unit program in Venezuela with students ages 10-11. • Step 1: What’s Going On? Step 2: What’s Success? Step 3: What’s the Question? Step 4: Generate Answers Step 5: Forge the Solution Step 6: Align Resources • Aim: How creativity can help in problem solving. • Result: CoRT training students did better after 1 year with problem solving than the students who had no training whatsoever.
  9. 9. Different Approaches to Creativity • 3) Project Intelligence • One year course focused on 7th graders. • Aim: engage discussion and thought provoking activities. • Results: creativity unit of students overall did better when engaged in the program.
  10. 10. Results of these 3 Studies • That tests don’t have hard or solid conclusions. • All lead to idea that creativity CAN be enhanced. • We all are not destined to be Mozart, but it can be that most of us fail to realize the full potential we have.
  11. 11. Results (Continued) • 2 Evils Idea: • Which is worse? • Try to enhance creativity if success is impossible OR • Fail to try to enhance creativity if it really can be enhanced.
  12. 12. How Can Creativity Be Enhanced? • Unfortunately, there is no “clear cut” answer and no infallible technique to foster creative behavior. • This is because multitude of variables must be accounted for: • Personal traits and characteristics • Social, cultural and environmental factors • Nickerson concludes the final part of the chapter by offering personal recommendations for enhancing creativity that take into account the following factors:
  13. 13. 1) Establishing Purpose and Intention • Purpose can be defined as the deep and abiding intentions to develop one’s creative potential. • Example: No one carves a statue without intent to do so. • In simpler terms, this can be called “commitment” 2) Building Basic Skills • A solid grounding in skills that are generally considered fundamental to a basic education. • Foster creativity and what a person is predisposed to be good at doing.
  14. 14. 3) Encouraging Acquisition of Domain- Specific Knowledge • While knowledge of a domain is essential for creativity, it does not always yield creativity. • “As a rule, great artists have mastered prevailing techniques of their art form before they have begun to innovate and to influence its further development.”-Hayes 1985 Picasso 1897 Picasso 1937
  15. 15. Very Similar To... • Counter Argument: Some argue that high levels of domain specific knowledge may limit creativity because it provides parameters and “standards” which contain creativity. Text
  16. 16. 4) Stimulating and Rewarding Curiosity and Exploration • The type of curiosity that evokes creative expression of creativity is seen in the persistent reluctance to take things for granted, a deep desire for explanations, and skepticism of “obvious answers.” • Nickerson establishes 3 main points about curiosity: • Curiosity can be stimulated by training individuals to be more observant. • Curiosity is contagious. • Educators should understand that they should be promoting a “Sense of Wonder” about the world.
  17. 17. Individual Ways to Enhance Creativity 1. A penny for your thoughts. 2. It “ain’t’ (or isn’t) over ‘till the fat lady sings. 3. Drunk as a skunk 4. The buck stops here. 5. On a wing and a prayer (or, “coming in on a wing and a prayer”). 6. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. 7. Like shootin’ fish in a barrel. 8. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. 9. Put your money where your mouth is. 10. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. 11. A tempest in a teapot. 12. A flash in the pan. 13. The devil is in the details. 14. Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. 15. Signed, sealed and delivered. 16. Fish or cut bait. • Also think of the “pizza toppings” exercise from earlier this semester.
  18. 18. 5) Building Motivation • Often simply phrased as “passion,” it is the drive that allows individuals to work diligently, without tire, to produce an outcome. • There seems to be an understanding among scholars that internal or intrinsic motivation is more effective than external or extrinsic motivation. 6) Focusing on Mastery and Self-Competition • Linked with long-term intrinsic motivation: people with the goal to improve their current performance and set future benchmarks are more likely to persevere through tough challenges and setbacks. • Much like athletes establish personal best times and records.
  19. 19. 7) Encourage Confidence and Willingness to Take Risks • Timidity and fear are not conducive to creativity. • If individuals feel pressured to conform, they tend to suppress their creativity (and curiosity) to adhere to social norms and expectancies. • However, self-confidence should not cross over to arrogance or it will once again damage the creative process.
  20. 20. Risks in the Real World: Physical Risks • The ability to overcome timidity and fear happens in critical child developmental years. • Play: a child’s ability to take risks while playing can set the stage for future cognitive decisions. • Teachers and parents should be aware of this. • Taking the playground further • Example: The St. Louis City Museum
  21. 21. http://www.citymuseum.org/home.asp
  22. 22. Risks in the Real World: Psychological Risks • Children must overcome shyness to expose creativity and personality. • Workshops and Retreats • Orientations • Participations points
  23. 23. 8) Promoting Supportable Beliefs About Creativity • An individual's beliefs about themselves and their capabilities can have a large effect on motivational outcomes. • Self-fulfilling prophecy • Individual’s beliefs can also be shaped by other people’s positive or negative opinions of them. 9) Providing Opportunities for Choice and Discovery • People are more internally motivated to engage in activities that truly interest them than activities that have been selected for them by someone in an authority position.
  24. 24. Opportunity and Choice Applied • This is often applied, even from a young age, in educational and business tactics. • Schools: Summer reading lists allows students to choose from several books, choose topics to write about, choose degree, etc. • Ad Agencies: Develop niches which personify the agency’s image.
  25. 25. 10) Developing Self-Management (Metacognitive) Skills • Through metacognition, a person can manage one’s cognitive resources and develop how to accurately control and monitor in order to access and utilize his or her “meta level” most efficiently. • Self-evaluative skills link back to 6): Mastery and Self-Competition.
  26. 26. 11) Additional Teaching Techniques • Nickerson lists a variety of techniques: “creating subgoals, working backwards, hill climbing, means-end analysis, forward chaining, considering extreme cases, etc...” • One technique touched on is called “laying aside.” • A period of rest or engagement in unrelated activities yields breakthroughs. • Wallas’ Four-Stage Model: Incubation
  27. 27. 12) Providing Balance • Nickerson concludes by citing Aristotle’s Golden Mean of Moderation. • There must be a balance between the creative (freedom, spontaneity, innovativeness) and the structured world (discipline, self-restraint, respect for tradition and convention).
  28. 28. Discussion Questions 1. Providing balance was one of the ways Nickerson outlined for how to enhance creativity. He discussed how the challenge is to teach children to recognize rules and limits without stifling their creativity. How does this idea of balance relate to the advertising industry? Why is it important to understand this balance? 2. Thinking of the 2 evils idea: trying to enhance creativity if success is impossible OR failing to try to enhance creativity if it can be enhanced; which do you think is worse? Someone never fully reaching his or her creative potential or trying and failing? 3. The chapter discusses that some athletes, specifically marathon runners, have no hope of ever winning a race in which they run in. They instead run in hopes of bettering their personal best. Explain how and why this concept is important for enhancing creativity. 4. A strategy for facilitating creative performance can sometimes be a period of rest, which can lead to a break through in an advance towards an objective. Do you have a personal example where this has happened? If yes, how can this further help you in the future? 5. The chapter discusses how the desire for recognition, if too strong, can work against creative productivity and is unlikely to be effective. Keeping the idea of extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation in mind, explain an example of when this can happen.
  29. 29. 6. When discussing encouraging confidence and taking risks, the chapter talks about how there is a line between confidence and arrogance. How do we draw that line and what do you think that line is? 7. Nickerson talks about three ways to stimulate curiosity: a. Increase one’s own curiosity about the world simply by training oneself to be more observant b. Curiosity is contagious c. A teacher’s most important responsibility to their students is to foster a deep sense of wonder about the world. Which do you think is the most important for stimulating curiosity and why? 8. When working in a group on solving a problem, what is a practical tool that the chapter discusses for enhancing the creative thought that goes into problem solving? 9. Each of us is born with two contradictory sets; a conservative tendency, which is made up of self-preserving techniques, and an expansive tendency made up of instincts for exploring novelty and risk. Csikszentmihalyi says that you cannot have many obstacles placed in the way of the expansive tendency or you will lose motivation. What are practical ways to enhance the expansive tendency to not lose motivation? 10. Do you have a personal example of how creativity has been fostered in your life? Was it successful? Discussion Questions Continued