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Creative Style What Is It


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Creative style describes an important aspect of your creativity - 'in what way am I creative.' It is a foundational element of personal and organizational development.

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Creative Style What Is It

  1. 1. Creative Style – What Is It? Written by Sandy Cormack Creative style is, quite literally, the style of your creativity. Creative style does not refer to how creative you are – instead, it answers the question ‘How am I creative?’ Creative style is thinking style. It is the manner in which you go about solving problems. Although all people are creative and can solve problems, not everyone does so in the same manner. Creative style theory was pioneered by Dr. Michael Kirton in the 60s. He sought to determine why certain organizational initiatives succeeded while others failed. Creative style theory addresses this phenomenon. When people think about creativity, they generally think of what you might call ‘creative level.’ In other words, Person A is more or less creative than Person B. In this manner we associate creativity with things like talent, intellect, ability. DaVinci is more creative than the guy who can draw Blinky from the art school aptitude ad. From now on think about creativity in this way: creativity = level + style. Creative STYLE is completely independent from creative LEVEL. The extremes of creative level are simply ‘high’ and ‘low’. The extremes of creative style are very different. The extremes for creative style are adaptive (associated with ‘doing things better’) and innovative (associated with ‘doing things differently’). Think of it as illustrated here: Style vs Level Level High Style ADAPTIVE INNOVATIVE Low Creative Style – What Is It?© 2010
  2. 2. Those who prefer a more adaptive style are commonly referred to as adaptors and those who prefer a more innovative style are called innovators. Here are some characteristics of adaptors and innovators: Adaptors tend to… Innovators tend to… In problem solving Refine, extend, improve the Break, modify, eliminate, current accepted structure or replace the current structure or process process In managing change Prefer gradual, incremental Prefer radical, transformational change change In defining a problem Look for threats from WITHIN Look for threats EXTERNAL to the system the system In generating ideas Look to what worked in the past, Proliferate exciting, theoretical producing a few reliable ideas ideas, many seen as impractical In methodology Be precise and reliable, seeking Challenge basic assumptions, solutions in accepted ways thinking tangentially, inefficiently In managing structure Rarely challenge the prevailing Break the prevailing rules, often rules, maintaining continuity and seen as a mold-breaker and stability risk-taker In decision making Achieve consensus Stand alone Because of these differences, adaptors and innovators often view one another pejoratively. Innovators see adaptors as stodgy, slow to change, old-fashioned. Adaptors see innovators as undisciplined, abrasive, reckless. Looking for a reason two people don’t get on? Look here first. Dr. Kirton went on to create an inventory to measure creative style – the Kirton Adaption- Innovation Inventory (KAI). It’s a 33 question inventory that produces a score between 32 and 160, midpoint 96. A lower score indicates a more adaptive style, a higher score a more innovative style. An organization must welcome and cultivate creative diversity to succeed • All people solve problems and are creative • Adaptors and innovators can be equally good or bad at problem solving – they just do so differently • It takes a wide range of styles to solve all problems Sandy Cormack is a consultant specializing in personal development, organizational Creative Style – What Is It?© 2010
  3. 3. development, and strategic planning. His personal mission is to help individuals understand their own personalities and creativity, help them better understand others, and show them how to collaborate effectively. His focuses are creativity, problem solving, innovation, organizational strategy development and change management. He is certified to administer the MBTI (personality typing) and KAI (creative style) to individuals and organizations. Creative Style – What Is It?© 2010