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Know Components of Creativity and Become a Better Manager

Updated on March 29, 2017

Creativity is the ability to think fluently and in novel ways to solve a problem. Good managers are creative persons, when they encounter problems, they are quick in solving them.

When a difficult problem needs to be solved, the naturally non-creative manager finds himself almost stupefied with anxiety; a creative person however will come up with multiple solutions. Creativity is the ability to create quick and multiple solutions to a given problem. A creative person thinks fast, coherently, and unconventionally.

It may seem that creativity comes naturally and cannot be learned, but researches show that creativity can be learnt and cultivated. It can be cultivated best in a free and cordial atmosphere. Every organization should help develop creativity so that it (creativity) becomes an integral part of its work culture. An organization should be open to suggestions; it should discuss the problems in meetings and regularly conduct brainstorming sessions.

Components of creativity

Most people think creativity as a single variable or ability; the truth is, it is made of several components. Psychologist J.P.Gilfourd of university of South California has identified six components of creativity:





Sensitivity to problems

Ability to redefine problems

  1. Flexibility

It is an ability to change focus and shift gears quickly. A person’s response to a given problem shows the spontaneity of his or her thinking and how adaptive he or she is. If a group of persons is given an object, and each one is told to list in how many ways that object can be used, the most flexible one will come up with the largest number of possible uses. For instance, if a group of people is told to provide possible uses of cotton, most of them will come up with making bedsheets, clothes, pillow covers, etc. But the creative persons will provide its various uses such as: making fabric (it includes all the uses the non-creative persons come up with), first aid, other uses in medicine, uses in cosmetics, making wicks for kerosene lamps, as a nipple to feed milk to baby birds, etc. Adaptive flexibility is the ability to come up with different solutions to the same problems.

2.Fluency- Fluency is the ability to come up with ideas rapidly. Obviously the ideas should be coherent and not ludicrous. For example, if persons of a group are individually given a certain time and an object, such as a screwdriver, and is told to list the number of ways the screwdriver can be used, then the person who comes up with the greatest number of ideas will be the most fluent.

3. Originality – Originality is probably the most fundamental component of creativity. It is the ability to come up with an idea or solution that is novel as well as useful. In psychology, originality is measured as an acceptable response that is statistically infrequent. For example, three persons were asked to put forth all the possible uses of a fan. All three came up with cooling a room; two of them indicated drying of wet floor and clothes; but only one person came up with the idea to create a visual display by attaching colored paper to the fan blades. The visual display idea was the most original as it was appropriate and infrequent.

4.Elaboration- It is the ability to follow through on an idea. It means giving a step-by-step roadmap to embody an idea. Many people—imaginative but not elaborate—are unable to bring their ideas to fruition. Elaboration is the level of detail associated with each step of an idea.

5.Sensitivity to problems – A creative person tends to be highly sensitive to the problems he/she encounters. To measure sensitivity to problems, if some persons are given a situation and they are asked to individually provide a list of questions that cannot be answered, then the person who comes up with the largest number of such problems, is the most sensitive to problems.

6.Redefining problems – It is the ability to clearly redefine a problem, often breaking the problem into its constituent parts to make it easier to arrive at a solution.

Knowing the components of creativity and practicing them can make a person a better manager.


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