Saturday, April 14, 2018

Risk to Blossom

The words in this poem by writer Anais Nin sum up my current position:


And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.

Over the next few posts I will be summarizing the following White paper on Creativity:
Lai, E. R., Yarbro, J., DiCerbo, K., & de Geest, E. (2018). Skills for Today: What We Know about Teaching and Assessing Creativity. London: Pearson.

Today I looked at the Definitions and Models of Creativity:

One of the most enduring theories associated with creativity is the model of divergent thinking, which Guilford (1950) popularized. Adapted for the framework of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT).
Divergent thinking is generally understood as a composite idea-generation skill. The original model of divergent thinking captured in the Torrance tests comprised four subskills:
  1. fluency—the ability to generate many ideas;
  2. flexibility—the ability to move fluidly between different representations;
  3. originality—the ability to produce novel and unusual ideas;
  4. elaboration—the ability to fully develop ideas.
Divergent thinking should be viewed as an indicator of creative potential.
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Amabile’s (1988, 2012) componential model of creativity identifies four main components of creativity:
  1. domain-relevant skills, which include factual knowledge and technical skills;
  2. creativity-relevant processes, which Amabile defines as cognitive styles related to taking new perspectives, as well as aspects of personality such as a tolerance for ambiguity and risk-acceptance, plus heuristics* for ideation and divergent thinking;
  3.  intrinsic task motivation;
  4. the social environment in which the creative process is taking place, including any extrinsic motivators, organizational norms, or constraints that may operate against the individual.

Csikszentmihalyi (2014), although not offering a definition of
creativity per se, locates it at the intersection of three systems because no creative achievement can be interpreted or judged in a vacuum.
  1. the field in which the creative accomplishment must be judged, whose members act as gatekeepers for the domain;
  2. the cultural domain, which will be responsible for taking up and preserving creative ideas for future generations;
  3. the person responsible for generating the creative ideas (including motivational, affective, and cognitive factors). caption

The investment theory of creativity (Sternberg & Lubart, 1992; Sternberg, 2006) begins with creators taking on unknown or unpopular ideas that show growth potential and pushing these forward until they become accepted. Creativity occurs within the interactions of a number of factors:
  1. intellectual abilities or “creative intelligence,” including the ability to synthesize (break the bonds of conventional thinking), and analyse the values of one’s ideas to decide which are worth pursuing, and persuade others (practical-conceptual skills),
  2. knowledge about the domain or discipline, (Goldilocks principle applies - some knowledge of the domain is necessary to generate insights, but too much knowledge can make thinking rigid rather than flexible,
  3. thinking styles, or “preferred ways of using one’s skills,” including “a preference for thinking and a decision to think in new ways”, 
  4. personality attributes, such as a tolerance for risks and ambiguity, self-efficacy and perseverance,
  5. intrinsic motivation to engage in the creative tasks,
  6. an environment that supports the creative individual
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In Runco’s view (1996, p. 4), personal creativity ultimately involves some kind of transformation that takes place when a person interprets their experiences. It is inherently subjective and reliant on the perception of the individual. Encompasses problem-solving, problem-finding and articulation. The expression of personal creativity depends on:
      1. motivation;
      2. certain cognitive styles (interest in novelty, information-seeking, and tolerance for ambiguity);
      3. metaphoric logic, or an aptitude for unconventional ways of thinking; 
      4. discretion or “mindful choice,” about what and how to transform, in an effort to ensure the transformation has utility and value; 
      5. the intention to create, and the use of processes, strategies, and heuristics to support that intention;
      6. relevant domain knowledge and experience.
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      To conclude: Elements held in common across these various theories and models include:
      • intrinsic motivation to engage in creative tasks, 
      • domain knowledge and experience, 
      • certain cognitive styles related to unconventional thinking, 
      • a particular set of personality characteristics, 
      • and a supportive social environment (which can include a person’s home and family life, the classroom environment, and the broader social context). 

      Each of these elements can be seen as a supporting factor for creative expression or potential.

      Creative construct still requires the elements of novelty or uniqueness, and  relevance, utility, or appropriateness for some purpose.

      (to end P10.)

      *Definition of heuristic: discovery or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods, heuristic techniques, of or relating to exploratory problem-solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (such as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance (

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