Kelly Smith and Leigh Smith
• Overview of Deﬁning Creativity
• Can Creativity Be Enhanced?
• Approaches and Studies Supporting
• How Can Creativity Be Enhanced?
• Nickerson’s recommendations and
Types and Degrees of
• Csikszentmihalyi distinguishes 3
types of people who are creatives:
• Those who express unusual
• 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)
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
• 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.
Diﬀerent Approaches to
• Brainstorming and Problem Solving
• The process has 3 major components:
• 1. Mess ﬁnding
2. Data ﬁnding
3. Problem ﬁnding
• Generating Ideas
• 1. Idea ﬁnding
• Planning for action
• 1. Solution ﬁnding
2. Acceptance ﬁnding
Diﬀerent Approaches to
• 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.
Diﬀerent Approaches to
• 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
• 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
Diﬀerent Approaches to
• 3) Project Intelligence
• One year course focused on 7th graders.
• Aim: engage discussion and thought
• Results: creativity unit of students overall
did better when engaged in the program.
Results of these 3 Studies
• That tests don’t have hard or solid
• All lead to idea that creativity CAN be
• We all are not destined to be Mozart, but it
can be that most of us fail to realize the full
potential we have.
• 2 Evils Idea:
• Which is worse?
• Try to enhance creativity if success is impossible
• Fail to try to enhance creativity if it really can be
How Can Creativity Be
• Unfortunately, there is no “clear cut” answer and no
infallible technique to foster creative behavior.
• This is because multitude of variables must be
• 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:
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.
3) Encouraging Acquisition of Domain-
• 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
Picasso 1897 Picasso 1937
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.
4) Stimulating and Rewarding Curiosity
• 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 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
Individual Ways to Enhance
1. A penny for your thoughts.
2. It “ain’t’ (or isn’t) over ‘till the fat lady
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
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
15. Signed, sealed and delivered.
16. Fish or cut bait.
• Also think of the “pizza toppings” exercise from earlier this semester.
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
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
• Much like athletes establish personal best times and records.
7) Encourage Conﬁdence and
Willingness to Take Risks
• Timidity and fear are not conducive to
• 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
Risks in the Real World:
• 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
Risks in the Real World:
• Children must overcome shyness to expose
creativity and personality.
• Workshops and Retreats
• Participations points
8) Promoting Supportable Beliefs About
• 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
• 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.
Opportunity and Choice
• 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,
• Ad Agencies: Develop niches which
personify the agency’s image.
10) Developing Self-Management
• 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
• Self-evaluative skills link back to 6): Mastery
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
• A period of rest or engagement in unrelated
activities yields breakthroughs.
• Wallas’ Four-Stage Model: Incubation
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).
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
Nickerson talks about three ways to stimulate curiosity:
a. Increase one’s own curiosity about the world simply by training oneself to be
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?
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
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
10. Do you have a personal example of how creativity has been fostered in your
life? Was it successful?