Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"The most powerful way to develop creativity in your students is to be a role model.  Children develop creativity not when you tell them to, but when you show them." - Robert J. Sternberg

"Where there is fear, there is no creativity." - Christopher Lowell


According to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, in Sausalito, California, "Creativity—the capacity for original thought, new connections, adaptive reasoning, and novel solutions—if nurtured and supported during childhood, has positive and far-reaching implications for fulfilling adult potentiality." (baykidsmuseum.org)

"Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others" (Franken, 1994, p. 396).


In a rapidly changing world, creativity is becoming more and more important for success.  Large businesses around the world are busy conducting research as to what the number one skill for the 21st century might be.  At the height of this list, one will find "creativity."  According to  Baer & Oldham (2006), "considerable evidence now suggests that employee creativity can make a substantial contribution to an organization's growth and competitiveness."  The 2010 Winning Ingredients report from Standard Chartered states, "creativity may be the most powerful of all the resources to be rich in.  With vast numbers of people entering the workforce, huge improvements in productivity, and continued globalisation, the rewards for innovation and creativity will become even greater."

Usage & Applications

People who solve problems well and seek unique approaches and solutions to problems are typically creative people (Kumar, n.d.). By being creative a person has acquired a useful skill for his or her career, education, and future.  Parents should especially encourage creativity in small children by encouraging participation in arts and crafts.  Kumar (n.d.) offers several tips to encourage creativity in children in her article, Encourage Creativity in Kids by Using Arts and Crafts, to include:
1.)  Encourage free creative exploration - this is done by not passing judgement on a child's work and refraining from offering a personal opinion about the work. 
2.)  Adapt to the child's ideas - An example of this would be a child painting a tree purple.  Instead of telling the child "trees are green", allow and encourage the child to explain why he or she painted the tree purple.
3.)  Encourage children to use creative problem solving - offer children a problem and allow them to come up with his or her own creative solution.

Research pertaining to creativity in adults has been found to produce a bell curve.  There seems to be a peep between the ages of 30 to 40 with a significant drop afterwards.  This finding has lead reasearchers to believe that there is a decline in creativity later in life (Kerka, 1999). For more information regarding creativity in adults click here.

"Ballerina in Forest"

Advantages & Disadvantages

(Art work by blog author's seven-year-old son)

Advantages of Creativity

Visualization is a huge part of creativity.  Drawing by visual observation is an activity that occurs in the right hemisphere of the brain.  This is also where intuitive and creative thinking occur.  By imagining, a person also visualizes.  Being able to draw the visualizations helps to develop the right side of the brain (Bartel, 2008).  Marvin Bartel is an art teacher who uses an illustration by a five-year-old to describe how five-year-old's are confident in their ability to draw, sing, and dance.  As these children grow there comes a time when there is a crisis in confidence.  In his article, Teaching Creativity, Mr. Bartel offers advice as to how teachers can "foster or hinder the creative critical thinking that is so essential as a survival and success skill in today's world."  For more information on this article and Marvin Bartel click here or here.

Disadvantages of Creativity

Ken Reynolds (2010), a graphic designer, refers to time and focus as being two of the main disadvantages of being creative.  Mr. Reynolds states that because of lack of time a creative person will accept some of his or her immediate or first ideas instead of taking time to really think about what he or she is trying to accomplish.  The lack of focus often occurs with creativity as well.  When a creative person comes up with several ideas he or she may start trying to put all these ideas together instead of maintaining his or her focus on one.  By clustering these creative ideas the impact of the idea may be lost (Reynolds, 2010).

In the article, Creativity Killers: discouraging creativity in children (2004), Leslie Wilson, offers ways in which adults discourage creativity in children. For more on this article click here.

Theories & Theorists

The Psychoanalytical Theory of Creativity - (Freud, Jung, Kirs, Rank, Adler, and Hammer) "the general argument is that people become creative in reaction to difficult circumstances or represent emotions" (Rzadkiewicz, 2009).
For more on Sigmund Freud click here.

The Mental Illness Theory of Creativity - (Briggs, Eisenman, Goodwin, Jamison, Richards, and Martindale) "some type of mental illness is actually necessary in order for people to be creative, even if that illness is exceptionally mild." Bipolar and manic-depressive syndrome are two mental illnesses specifically given as examples for this theory (Rzadkiewicz, 2009).
For more on the topic of mental illness and creativity click here.

Eysenck's Theory of Psychoticism -  (Hans Eysenck) psychotic tendencies are "the foundation for creative personalities" (Rzadkiewicz, 2009).  For more on Hans Eysenck click here.

The Addiction Theory of Creativity -  (Lapp, Collins, Izzo, Norlander, Gustafson, & Wallas) Addition to drugs or alcohol can actually cause creativity (Rzadkiewicz, 2009).  For additional opinions on this theory click here.

The Humanistic Theory of Creativity - (Maslow, Rogers, Fromm) this theory is based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and says that "humans have six basic needs that must be met for them to thrive and reach maximum potential" (Rzadkiewicz, 2009).


Ali, S., Arrighi, D., Barrett, A., Chander, V., Dauba-Pantanacce, P., Green, S., Henderson, C., Hui, T., Ichsan, F., Khan, R., Lopes, V., Maratheftis, M., Ofon, A., Oh, S., Phoo, T., Shaher, S., Smith, D., Sugandi, E., Suwanapruti, D., & Wong, S. (2010). Standard Chartered Global Focus. The winning ingredients. Retrieved from http://research.standardchartered.com/researchdocuments/Pages/ResearchArticle.aspx?&R=69068

Baer, M. & Oldham, G.R. (2006).  The curvilinear relation between experienced creative time pressure and creativity: Moderating effects of openess to experience and support for creativity.  Journal of Applied Psychology,(91)963-70.

Bartel, M. (2008). Teaching creativity. Retrieved from http://www2.goshen.edu/~marvinpb/arted/tc.html#draw

Bay Area Discovery Museum. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/nurture-childhood-creativity/why-creativity/creativity-defined/

BrainyQuotes. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/creative.html  

Franken, R.E. (1994). What is Creativity? in Human Motivation (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA. Brooks/Cole Publishing Co. Retrieved from http://www.csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/creativity/define.htm

Kerka, S. (1999). Creativity in Adulthood.  Retrieved from http://www.ericdigests.org/1999-4/creativity.htm

Kumar, R. (n.d.). Encourage Creativity in Kids by Using Arts and Crafts. Retrieved from http://www.article-voip.com/Article/Encourage-Creativity-In-Kids-By-Using-Arts-and-Crafts/41819
Reynolds, K. (2010). The disadvantages of having too many ideas.  Retrieved from http://www.inspiredm.com/too-many-ideas/

Rzadkiewicz, C. (2009).  The Five Major Theories of Creativity.  Retrieved from http://www.suite101.com/content/the-five-major-theories-of-creativity-a157568

Wilson, L. (2004).  Creativity killers: discouraging creativity in children.  Retrieved from http://www.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/creativ/killers.htm