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Flashcards in Creativity & Culture Deck (15)
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3 Components of Creativity

Creative thinking

  • Approaching problems flexibly and imaginatively;
  • Whether their solutions upend the status quo;
  • How perseverant they are through the incubation process.


  • Must be intrinsic motivation (inner passion)
  • Extrinsic motivation hurts creativity (money, promotion, etc.)


  • Technical and procedural knowledge possessed by those engaged in creative acts
  • Many years of experience can lead to deep understanding of domain and better creative outputs
    • But too much experience hurts creativity (mindlessness and norming)


3 Creativity Templates / Can creativity be learned?

  • Extreme Situation
  • Interactive Experiment
  • Pictorial Analogy


Defining Creativity

The process of generating ideas that are novel and useful.

  • Novel (within a given domain!)
    • Originality, uniqueness, rarity 
    • How much it deviates from traditional/status quo
    • Flexibility: range of categories from which ideas are drawn
  • Useful
    • High in value: good quality, well thought through, considered
    • Practicality: how relevant it is to a given situation or problem
    • Appropriate: level of riskiness, fit for purpose, meeting constraints

Novelty and usefulness may have different weightings...

  •   50-50?  25-75?  75-25?


What is a creative personality in terms of NEO? 

  • High in Neuroticism (sometimes)
  • High in Openness to experience
  • Low in Conscientiousness (sometimes)
  • Low in Extraversion (sometimes) 
  • Low in Agreeableness



5 Strategies to facilitate Creativity

1. Reverse assumptions

  • What’s the worst product you can think of?
  • How can you hold a really bad meeting? 

2. Random inputs

  • Think of ways to use your idea in 5 randomly selected industries
  • Have someone act out (without words) a problem/situation while others guess it
  • Pick random words from newspaper; come up with an idea that connects them

3. Think about the issue from different perspectives

  • What would a customer think, a supplier/front line employee/alien, your grandma?  
  • Follow someone with a different perspective around for a day

4. Thought walk

  • —Walk around and write down  things that you notice/see
  • —Write down characteristics of the things you notice, and try to find a connection between them

5. Reframe the problem

  • —Think about other ways to achieve the same goal
  • How can we lift the car? vs. Where is the Wagenheber?


5 cognitive biases that limit creativity

1. Confirmation bias:

  • people tend to ask questions to confirm their expectations rather than deny them

2. Anchoring & adjustment: 

  • people make assessments by starting off at an initial value based on whatever information is provided and adjust from there to yield a final decision

3. Perceptual bias:

  • the background and context of a situation influences the way people tend to see it

4. Blocking:

  • once an idea is thought of, it can block people’s ability to think of alternatives

5. Functional fixedness:

  • people tend to represent things as having one function or purpose, and find it difficult to think of alternative uses


How Intrinsic Motivation Facilitates Creativity

  • Increases likelihood of experimenting with new ideas and trying out things or processes
  • Makes people more perseverant, willing to work on task longer
  • Increases willingness to go against norms of the organization or culture, because they don’t fear sanctions
  • They have fun, which facilitates creative thinking


Pros and Cons of having creative employees

Creative thinking skills

  • Think in a different way than others
  • But often disagree with others


  • Enjoy work
  • But are happy to engage in the process, without caring about efficiency
    • Happy to run into ‘dead ends’


  • Seek deep expertise in multiple areas, 
  • But avoid routinized work


Creativity vs. Innovation

Creativity: Generationof ideas that are novel and useful

Innovation: The conception and execution/realisation of ideas within a field/domain

  •   Get others in the organization to notice the idea
  •   Find resources to back the idea
  •   Hire people to work on the idea
  •   Manage the people working on the idea
  •   Produce the idea
  •   Market the idea to the public


Types of Organizational Culture (Grid)

(Categorization by Cameron & Quinn 1999)


What organizational attributes promote innovation & creativity?

  • promote intrinsic motivation
  • relax surveillance and deadlines
  • involve the client
  • divisional structure
  • flat hierarchy
  • enable experimentation, variety of work
  • low-key management focused on sharing knowledge across internal boundaries


What is culture?

All values, norms & artefacts shared by the members.


Organizational cultures differ on various dimensions:

  • Internal/external focus
  • Organizational flexibility/stability
  • Their “software/hardware” configurations:
    • software: symbols and stories
    • hardware: formal organization and control systems. E.g.: configurations in R&D vs. commodities



The Creative Thinking Process


How groups can reduce creativity in choosing ideas?

Groups are expected to have an advantage at creative thinking…

  • Diverse perspectives (backgrounds, experiences) should stimulate creativity

But, they exhibit a bias against novelty

  • Groups tend to select ideas with average levels of novelty and eliminate the most novel ideas they generate
  • Individuals also experience an implicit, automatic bias against novelty


  • People avoid novel ideas because of uncertainty.