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What is Creativity and Can AI Automate it?

Definitions, Components, and What the Evidence Says
Brett Friedman

It's 2020. While robots have not infiltrated our ranks (yet), there remains a growing fear that AI will replace humans in the workforce, limit freedoms, crush the economy, and maximize the inequality gap. If there's a minimum threshold for that fear, it lies somewhere between fully functional humanoid robots and AI creativity. Basic AI emotions already exist, albeit at malformed scale, but the real fear is in AI creative. Once computers make art, humanity is stripped of its value. When calculators create, humans dissipate.
Or so the argument goes.
As a team that's part of the creative tech revolution, we thought it prudent to clear away misguided thoughts on automation in creative work. To understand why you should fear computer creativity less than you fear cute, cuddly kittens, there are a few things you need to know.

Table of Contents
  1. Definitions of Creativity
  2. Core Components of Creativity
  3. Science of Creativity
  4. AI Capacity for Creativity
  5. AI-Enabled Creativity

Definitions of Creativity

Creativity goes by many names, but few have winnowed the concept into something tangible. In order to combat beliefs of human inferiority to AI in creativity, the concept must be well defined.
To get an accurate definition, we asked 38 creatives from marketing, music, corporate, academia, and all other manners of life for their definition.

"Creativity is defined as the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work." - Lori Bloom, Founder, Blooming Colors Arts
"'Creativity is.' As in it exists: Everywhere, in all of us and it doesn't matter how you see yourself or whether you consider profession creative... you are creative when you make a choice" - Will Hatton, CEO, The Broke Backpacker
'Deliberate creativity is thinking outside the box. Adaptive creativity is thinking inside the box. It's re-purposing what you have for a new goal due to constraints. Deliberate creativity is a more process oriented problem-solving, such as brainstorming, and often takes the form of artistic expression' - Beth Miller, Executive Director, Creative Education Foundation
"Creativity is flexibility and fluency of thought." - Beth Slazak, Manager of Education and Events, Creative Education Foundation
"Making new connections, making sense of new objects, making new objects- this is the purpose of humanity. This is creativity.' - Kelly Kent, Neuroscience Consultant, The Right Brain Project
'Creativity is like a fairy: both beneficial and problematic. It intertwines with mental health disorders, but generally creativity is a glitch when your brain doesn't do the expected thing. Instead of 1, 2, 3, it goes 1, x, butterfly.' - Victoria Moreno-Jackson, Founder & Maker-in-Chief, Subversive Textiles
'Creativity is a means by which we use our unique combination of existence, our thoughts, our questions, our preferences, and bring them out in a unique manner, bringing something different, a new dimension, to a difficult problem.' - Robert Belle, Managing Director, Smip Consultancy, Author, Blow the Lid Off: Reclaim Your Stolen Creativity, Increase Your Income, and Let Your Light Shine
"Creativity is the process of coming up with new perspectives and ways of looking at things" - Nushy Rose, Managing Editor, Parlia
"Creativity is using your mind (both or either sides of your brain) to solve a problem or issue in a unique manner." - Sandra Holtzman, Founder, Marketing Cures
"Creativity is every personal decision you make to produce or ameliorate a product or service." - Sabine Saadeh, Author, Trading Love
'Creativity is more than creative product, creative act, creator, it's starting a project, continuing in face of resistance, and finishing the project to share' - Adam Cole, Founder, Adam Cole Works, LLC
"Creativity is how we translate ideas into reality." - Willie Greer, Founder, The Product Analyst
"Creativity is the ability to draw from yours and others inspiration, and by doing that, creating something truly inspirational and awesome." - Andreas Johansson, Founder, Andreas Johansson UX
"Creativity is when a task is handled in a new and unique way, being able to add your own flair to a project and encouraging others to do the same." - Bridgette Norris, Marketing Director, Eco Secretariat
"Creativity is anything that is produced outside of the norm." - Michael Nemeroff, Founder, Rush Order Tees
"Creativity is the expression of connection between unrelated ideas that is unexpected, out of the box, and innovative." - Rhianna Basore, Founder, Self Trust Fund
"Creativity is thinking of something that was never thought of before." - Lisa Courtney, Founder, Good Gangsta, The Brand Goddess, & Lisa Courtney Fine Art
"Creativity is building something. It can be anything — a website, a documentary, a desk. Something that is your own. You can look at it and say, I built this, or I helped build this." - Megan Wenzl, Content Marketing Strategist, Clique Studios
"Creativity is a channeling of the inner spirit one has - a translation of the energy from the inner world into a tangible form here in the outer world." - Carrie Aulenbacher, Author, Early Bird Cafe, The Place Between Places
"Creativity at its core is an expression of who you are on the inside and has a direct correlation to what you're passionate about." - David Sandy
"Creativity is using any of the human senses to express something in a way that will inspire thought or feeling in one’s self or another person." - Singer-Songwriter Mark Rust
"Creativity, from a holistic viewpoint, is about helping people view a common object and/or subject from a different perspective... Creativity is thus the journey of finding connections between people, things, and ideas, and ultimately gaining new insights into reality." - Vincent Lee, Founder, B.R.A.N.D. me
"Creativity means different things to different people. For me, it means using the media in an innovative way to truly connect with your audience in an authentic way." - Carli Johnson, Founder, Carli Communications
"Creativity is having an idea and having the tools, discipline and self belief to bring it to life" - Liam Flynn, Founder, Music Grotto
"For me, creativity is the ability to see nothing and everything at the same time. I had to learn how to control my perspective and in turn my response to life, if I ever wanted to feel true joy. Shitty things happen in life--that's guaranteed. But, how you react to them and how you inform your reality makes all the difference in how rich your life truly is. Simply, creativity is letting go of the fear of acceptance; a true creation knows no judgement, it simply exists. - Gabrielle Pickens, Founder, Pickens Creative
"Creativity is simply imaginative expression... creativity is the art of using your gifts, your unique thoughts, memories, experiences and other aspects that make you 'you', to present a thought or manifest an idea that essentially, only you can create." - Andrew Taylor, Director, Net Law Man
"Creativity depends on how you view it. If you have the ability to think and take action, you are creative." - Lynell Ross, Founder, Zivadream
"Creativity is the ability to find and execute the solution(s) to known and unknown problems. It allows for the fluid harmonization between logic/intellect and chaotic wonderment simultaneously- the visible product of the void where all is formed." - Leah Brock-White, Founder, Chosen Eyes
"Creativity is a process in which something new and valuable (or of value) is formed. The thing created can be intangible (an idea, theory or even a new joke) or it can be tangible, a physical thing (a play, a painting or a new battery)..." - Ian Martin Ropke, Founder, Your Japan Private Tours
"Creativity means not being normal. Double-think people and take a second glance." - Frank Ienzi, Founder, Frank Ienzi Marketing
"Creativity is resourcefulness in action." - Courtney Werner, Founder, Koya Innovations
"Creativity is creating something out of nothing. Creativity is making something better than it was originally. Creativity is being different than others. Creativity is having the confidence to put yourself out there not caring about what others may think. Creativity is being your authentic self." - Elandis Miller, Founder, Kicking It Sports
"Creativity is the ability to connect two previously unrelated frameworks of reference in an unusual way to generate new meaning" - Edoardo Binda Zane, Founder, EBZ Consulting
"Creativity takes longer to stew than practicality, but it really seems to pay off with greater rewards, at least in the self-fulfillment category." - Margelit Hoffman, Founder, Hoffman Productions
"Creativity within the arts (ie. Photography, film, painting, sculpting etc), with an emphasis on my professional field, photography, is simply just the act of using your imagination to make something" - Photographer Alex Costin
"Creativity is the process of finding a solution to a problem" - Writer Louis Greenstein
"I see creativity along a spectrum with one end defined by George Washington Carver's quote 'when you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world' (doing something quite ordinary in a new and interesting way) to the other end where you use your imagination to come up with something completely new and original to produce tangible or intangible value." - Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder, Mavens and Moguls
"The fundamental components of creativity are individualism, innovativeness, and curiosity. These three components make up creativity, and have resulted in many of the most impactful discoveries/inventions in history.” - Andrew Jezic, Founding Partner, Law Offices of Jezic & Moyse

38 contributors. 38 unique responses. Next we asked what the core components of creativity are under the impression that we can only automate what abides by reliable, simple logic.

Components of Creativity

47 Components of Creativity

38 contributors. 47 components. That's a lot of variation. To refine the vast expanse of what's considered creativity, we extracted a few popular models from professional reviews of the academic literature.

Scientific Models of Creativity

Mark Runco, one of the foremost creativity researches takes two centuries of creativity definitions and summarizes them in his 2012 article with Garrett Jaeger, The Standard Definition of Creativity:

"The standard definition is bipartite: Creativity requires both originality and effectiveness."

Runco and Jaeger's definition is near identical with the legal definition:

"New and useful. The phrase used in the patent laws to describe the two qualities of an invention or discovery which are essential to make it patentable, viz., novelty, or the condition of having been previously unknown, and practical utility."

While 'new and useful' is concise, it's not enough to satisfy the full depth of the meaning of creativity as proposed by our 33 contributors above. Runco along with Aaron Kozbelt and Ronald Beghetto, in their 2008 textbook, Theories of Creativity, compiled 10 primary theories of creativity from varying academic disciplines.

One important theory notably missing from the overview is neuroscience. To fill that gap, we drew from two major reviews. The fist being R. Keith Sawyer, in The Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity: A Critical Review, 2011, Creativity Research Journal:

Creativity is creative insight + problem-solving + distant association + domain expertise + incubation period (or micro-incubation a.k.a. mind-wandering)

Perhaps more useful from Sawyer's review were the hard truths of what creativity is not. A few myth-busting quotes from the paper:

"The entire brain is active when people are engaged in creative tasks."
"The left and right hemispheres are equally activated"
"Creativity involves a wide variety of everyday cognitive abilities."
"Creativity is not dependent on any particular mental process or brain region."
"Some of the definitions of creativity used by creativity researchers—such as “novelty plus appropriateness”—are not suitable for CN methodologies. Another widely used concept—divergent thinking—does not seem to be localizable in the brain. Association (in the convergent thinking task of the RAT) is partially localizable, but not completely."

Arne Dietrich takes Sawyer's formulaic view one step further with his four form matrix model described in Figure 1 below.

Arne Dietrich The Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity 2004 in Creativity and Neuroscience
  1. Deliberate-Cognitive: Expertise (relevant working memory items)+ general 'nimbleness' of Prefrontal Cortex (decision-making, self-control, etc)
  2. Deliberate-Emotional: Memory + complex universal emotional experiences
  3. Spontaneous-Cognitive: Associative unconscious thinking + "relaxation of constraints" + incubation + relevant information in working memory
  4. Spontaneous-Emotional: "Spontaneously generated emotional information entering consciousness"

These four combinations are all forms of creativity derived from specific patterns of neural activity. Though these forms of creativity certainly exist, there are many other popular theoretical models in the academic literature that are not based in brain science.
For example, Ruth Noller's formula for creativity:

Source: Creative Approaches to Problem Solving

One such view is Robert Sternberg's Investment Theory from The Nature of Creativity, 2006:

"Our investment theory of creativity (Sternberg &Lubart, 1991, 1995) is a confluence theory according to which creative people are those who are willing and able to “buy low and sell high” in the realm of ideas (see also Rubenson & Runco, 1992, for the use of concepts from economic theory). Buying low means pursuing ideas that are unknown or out of favor but that have growth potential. Often, when these ideas are first presented, they encounter resistance. The creative individual persists in the face of this resistance and eventually sells high, moving on to the next new or unpopular idea... According to the investment theory, creativity requires a confluence of six distinct but interrelated resources: intellectual abilities, knowledge, styles of thinking, personality, motivation, and environment."undefined

Sternberg's six components draw indirectly from Teresa Amabile's 1983 Componential Framework.

Amabile summarizes:

"Creativity is the product of novel and appropriate solutions to open-ended problem in any domain of human activity.”

There's one last well defined component-based model which combines neuroscience with creativity research to break new ground: Kelly Kent's Right Brain Project. The Right Brain Project proposes five core components of creativity and one overarching definition that encompasses those components. The holistic view is that all humans are creative entities by default. This is known as Network Theory.
Network Theory comprises five core components:

Plasticity: Ability to make new connections between new, distant pieces of information
Attention
: External attention is overloaded with stimulus, but creativity requires internal attention.
Motivation
: Creativity requires reward in the form of dopamine. Dopamine comes from satisfying curiosity through embracing environmental risk and failure to learn.
Social Wiring
: Empathy is a form of creativity in itself. Empathy requires taking someone else's perspective, stepping out of your paradigm to see the world in a new one.
Emotions & Stress: Stress in the right levels improves performance, but too much or too little is counter-creative. Levels vary on a bell curve by interest in activity.

With all those components in mind, as well as more holistic definitions, creativity is still an unrefined concept. At least now there's some color to its aspects. To truly see how AI compares to human creativity, we will dissect the current state of AI technology and predictions for its future direction.

AI Capacity for Creativity

Artificial Intelligence is a nebulous topic that includes defining intelligence itself, defining artificiality, advanced robotics, and moral questions that will likely haunt us one way or the other for eons. That being said, the present state of AI is defined by what computers can do in comparison to what a human brain can do.
As of 2020, AI can navigate somewhat chaotic environments (see Waymo and Roomba), replicate human motion, and beat people at any kind of rule-based game, even as complex as Go (see AlphaGo). Andrew Ng breaks down 7 more common machine solved problems, and Wikipedia lists 25 categories of AI applications.

When you scroll down to the 'creative' sections, music and writing, you'll see that AI can even make aesthetically pleasing compositions. Moreover, Wikipedia's entry on "Computational Creativity" paints a bleaker visage of human triumph against computer-generated creative. It can form jokes, emotionally stimulating poetry, even solve problems reserved for 'insight' solutions.

Fortunately for us, there is one vital flaw in artificial creativity: it's chained to its inputs. Who enters those inputs? Humans! AI is still largely incapable of meeting any of the definitions for creativity listed above by the fact that it can't take in information for its own. Humans naturally, often unconsciously absorb everything around them at all times, outputting great achievements by the day. Just look to human history for validation. AI is just another tools in the barnyard helping us plow the field, another plane helping us travel the world, another computer helping us crunch numbers.

In sum total, AI is a learning tool. Where stones sped up hunting, AI speeds up learning. Human learning. While we do train AI to learn for themselves, the algorithms are still primarily human driven - and they will be for a while. Herbert Simon, renowned economist and AI futurist quoted 1985 as the year AI would catch up. He was wrong. Vernor Vinge, famed futurist, computer scientist, and sci-fi author predicts 2023; he will be wrong. Others say 2029 or 2040... they will likely be wrong too.

When will AI truly output "1, x, butterfly" instead of 1, 2, 3? When will AI have imagination, be its 'authentic self', order chaos, master its own madness? When will it come up with 15 definitions for a single concept? When will it compete with billions of neurons each making billions of connections? Most importantly, when will it replicate complex emotion?

The fact of the matter is, it won't. Possibly ever. Humans are just too deeply situated in so many layers of reality that a single human experience of any kind outruns any single moment of AI existence in terms of productivity, progress, and of course, creativity. But, what AI can and will do is enable humanity to be more creative than ever. AI gives humanity the ability to speed through mental evolution much like computers did when they first arrived. Thus dawns the age of AI-enabled creativity.

AI-Enabled Creativity

Artificial intelligence has already begun automating meticulous tasks to free up time for people to do the real work of creativity: idea generation. Tasks like audio transcription and text-to-voice have gotten to a point that barely requires human input. On the other hand, tasks like creating new music and writing scene scripts are enhanced by AI analysis of historical data. Key word: enhanced. Not replaced. That's because machine learning from the past can only give you combinations that mirror what's already been done. Humans are necessary to innovate from that data to create the next big idea.

Nicola Morini Bianzini, Ernst & Young's Chief Client Technology Officer, offers three ways AI augments creativity:

  1. More time for innovation
  2. Potential to combine tech in creative ways
  3. Data-driven creative decision-making

All three require human input. Innovation is unavailable to machines as already mentioned, only humans can combine AI functions for a singular goal and only humans have the emotional intelligence to make creative decisions that will impact other humans. At the end of the day, the economy runs on humans making things for other humans. It's hard to imagine a world in which AI makes everything for humans. Even if that was the case, we'll just move on to greener projects like we have with every other invention that has come along and driven fear through the hearts of the masses.

People are always nervous when new tech develops that potentially threatens their livelihood. Historically, people have learned to use those technologies, build on them, and enhance themselves rather than replace themselves. This will almost certainly be the case with AI. For more interesting ways that AI is revolutionizing creativity, follow updates on Creative Applications, Creative Technology, and Experiments with Google. For how AI can augment your ad creative, read our data-driven creative testing guide below!

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"Creativity is defined as the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

But the reality is that this is a difficult question to answer because I believe it is different for every single person. There are many different ways to be creative – how you cook, decorate your house, your lawn,the way you dress, the songs you sing or even create, and of course paintings,sculptures and the like. To me creativity comes from within. It is a way off expressing who or what you see. It brings your character to life. When people look at my work they “get” my style because it is a reflection of who I am.  

Sternberg states that there are 5 literal components to creativity  

  • Expertise. A well developed base of knowledge.
  • Imaginative Thinking Skills. provide the ability to see things in novel ways.
  • A venturesome personality. seeking new experience.
  • Intrinsic Motivation. is being driven more by interest, satisfaction, and challenge than external pressures.
  • Creative Environment.

I don’t think they hold true for every artist but I do believe each of the points are valid in one way or another. An artist needs to have a visual idea of what they are creating. This can take researching and learning about other artists work,reading about topics that inspire creativity, day dreaming, etc. Many artists are known to “see things differently” and I know that I have been told that many times in my life.

Sometimes an old shoe on the floor is just an old shoe,but other times it could be the inspiration for a painting or sculpture. The shoe could reflect how many steps have been taken or a  day in the life of a person, or it could just be the color of the shoe that pops and inspires a piece! Using new mediums,exploring textures outside, or even trying a new activity could be the start of a new series of work for an artist. For me having a space to work in that is always available inspires me to work. The drive comes from deep within. It is hard to explain, but there is often a need to get my work onto a canvas or paper.  I don’t feel satisfied in someway until I can claim the piece is finished." - Lori Bloom, Founder, Blooming Colors Arts

"'In essence, 'Creavity is.' As in it exists: Everywhere, in all of us and it doesn't matter how you see yourself or whether you consider profession creative.
Are you about to cook dinner? - you will make a creative choice what to make? Are you watching a film? - you will make assessments on the film. You are creatively analyzing something Are you having a day of self care away from the world? - You are creatively putting together a day that benefits your health.
This can be applied to everything and at its core you are creative when you make a choice, you creatively analyse your choices, and what each will lead to before making an informed decision on the type of event you want to create. Every decision you make will create something that will happen next." - Will Hatton, CEO, The Broke Backpacker

'What is creativity is a controversial question because creativity is something you can design for yourself. At its core, it's an idea that is novel and useful. But it's not just creative expression. There is adaptive creativity and there's deliberate creativity.

Deliberate creativity is thinking outside the box. It's what is typically associated with artistic expression. Deliberate creativity is able to capture the big ideas in archetypes that are too big to process on a day-today basis.

Adaptive creativity is thinking inside the box. It's re-purposing what you have for a new goal due to constraints. We all have boxes we have to live inside of e.g. in education, there are rules, regulations, and traditions to follow, it’s not google, we have to work within constraints. With the pandemic, people are forced to work within constraints. Manufacturers of hockey masks are now making plastic face shields. Restaurants are creating provision packages with pantry ingredients.

The components of creativity are clarification, ideation, development, and implementation. Each step includes divergent and convergent thinking used alternately, but not at the same time. Like the gas and brake pedals in a car. You need to step on one at a time. If you try both simultaneously, the car breaks down." - Beth Miller, Executive Director, Creative Education Foundation

"From the academics, 'Creativity is novel and useful and appropriate.' - Dr. Stanley Gryskiewicz. “Creativity is the product of novel and appropriate solutions to open-ended problem in any domain of human activity” - Teresa Amabile. “Creativity is the ability to modify self-imposed constraints.” - Ackoff and Vergara. Mathematical Formula: C = f Attitude(Knowledge, Imagination, and Evaluation)' - Ruth Noller." - Beth Slazak, Manager of Education and Events, Creative Education Foundation

'Creativity is the brain's ability to make new connections from new information. It's the human default mode- everyone's creative. Each neuron can make 10 billion connections, and your brain has billions of neurons. Though we've barely changed evolutionarily, our brain is capable of evolving rapidly by making sense of new information and creating new things from that information.This is known as Network Theory.

Network Theory comprises five core components:

Plasticity: Ability to make new connections between new, distant pieces of information
Attention
: External attention is overloaded with stimulus, but creativity requires internal attention.
Motivation
: Creativity requires reward in the form of dopamine. Dopamine comes from satisfying curiosity through embracing environmental risk and failure to learn.
Social Wiring
: Empathy is a form of creativity in itself. Empathy requires taking someone else's perspective, stepping out of your paradigm to see the world in a new one.
Emotions & Stress: Stress in the right levels improves performance, but too much or too little is counter-creative. Levels vary on a bell curve by interest in activity.

Common myths of creativity:

  1. There are left brained and right brained people: All people are all brained.
  2. Women and men have different amounts of creativity: Women and men have equal potential to be creative
  3. Some people are more creative than others: All people are creative by default. All people are capable of learning' - Kelly Kent, Neuroscience Consultant, The Right Brain Project

'Creativity is a fairy. Both beneficial and problematic, nature and nurture. There's a strong correlation between creativity and mental health disorders. Generally, creativity is when there's a glitch when your brain doesn't do the expected thing. Instead of 1, 2, 3, it goes 1, x, butterfly. When someone is given a task or a problem, a genuine non-sequitur is creative. When given a pattern to sew, I struggle to follow the steps. When I read one rule I see five possible ways of doing it instead. Creativity is non-conformity. It's thinking and doing differently than the rules. There's also a risk-taking component. Are the possible consequences worth the possible benefit of standing out? There's also an element of unique association. Where one person sees a cracker, another might see a crocheting thimble. Constraints like that can be helpful.' -Victoria Moreno-Jackson, Founder & Maker-in-Chief, Subversive Textiles

'Creativity is a means by which we use our unique combination of existence, our thoughts, our questions, and bring that out in a unique manner to a difficult problem. The components of creativity are mind, body, and soul. Mind: thinking; body: heart, emotions, maneuvering uncertainty and unstructured environments; soul: improving your existence and someone else's existence. Most important challenge to creativity is putting yourself in a position to be creative. Stay calm. Manage emotinos. Be aware of who you want to be. '

"Creativity is the development and crafting of imaginative thoughts and ideas expressed outwardly, and it is useful for the situations from which it is generated. By definition creativity consists of two general characteristics; novelty and usefulness. It’s about searching and combining information to solve problems, combining both the conscious and unconscious and interlinking the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The corpus callosum is responsible for the inter-hemispheric exchange of data and creative individuals tend to have more neuron connectors in the white matter of the frontal brain. Creativity is both expressed and experienced artistically and scholarly.

Fundamental to creativity is divergent thinking. In order to enter that free flowing state of coming up with many possible ideas the brain requires a safety environment. Creativity and stress have a negative relationship. One needs to be able to manage and destress in order to create a conducive environment for idea generation. Unchecked anxiety and prolonged fight-flight mode limits the brain's ability to come up with ideas or find solutions. Properly managing stress such as through meditation and exercise then increases the chances of idea generation. According to a WeTransfer Ideas report, creatives overwhelmingly said they were more likely to get ideas from real-life experiences like talking with friends, travel, nature, books, magazines and going to galleries (and Gaming)." - Robert Belle, Managing Director, Smip Consultancy, Author, Blow the Lid Off: Reclaim Your Stolen Creativity, Increase Your Income, and Let Your Light Shine

"In my experience, creativity is a discipline. There’s a long held idea of creativity being an intangible myth, or secret DNA ingredient, that only a select few can possess. I don’t think that’s true. Creativity is the process of coming up with new perspectives and ways of looking at things. That has three core components. The first is curiosity. With a desire to ask questions about what you experience, or seek out great ideas and stories and visuals, it’s impossible to grow your knowledge, vision or horizons. The second is rigour. An idea is only great if one takes the time to really knuckle down and think about how to breathe life into it. The third is commercial sense. Creativity today requires an understanding of markets, competition, business landscapes and long term goals. Without those any creative idea is set up for failure." - Nushy Rose, Managing Editor, Parlia

"It's a complicated question. I'm an award winning copywriter (over 30 awards) and I will try to communicate what creativity means to me. Creativity is using your mind (both or either sides of your brain) to solve a problem or issue in a unique manner. It's seeing the world in a different way and effectively expressing and communicating that vision to others. Creativity goes beyond the advertising and creative professions. I believe it applies to any kind of problem solving where you are using your mind to solve a problem or issue in a unique manner." - Sandra Holtzman, Founder, Marketing Cures

"Creativity is every personal decision you make to produce or ameliorate a product or service. It can be anything trivial such as changing your personal car parking space for someone that does not understand change to adding fresh mango purée and making it the best dessert sponge cake for diabetes people because you forgot to add sugar! Creativity is part of survival and part of lifestyle it all depends on the PR and what you are trying to sell!" - Sabine Saadeh, Visual Coordinator, Artual Gallery, Author, Trading Love

"I am an author and songwriter.  I work with people who want to be creative but are afraid.  There are several important things to know about creativity.
First, the creative act is not the same as a creative product.  Any time you create something, from a sentence to a sandwich, you're a creator.  When people say that someone is or isn't creative, they're usually referring to the quality of their creative products.
Is it okay to say that someone who never wrote a book, never drew a picture, never penned a song is not creative?  I suppose, if it's also okay to say that someone who never took a trip is not a traveler.  But you'd never decide that someone can't be a traveler just because they haven't taken a trip.
Most of what people consider creativity are a few key skills that result in a product people can admire.  Those skills are: starting, continuing, and finishing.  People we generally think of as creative people are willing to start a project, they have the ability to continue working on the project in the face of resistance, and they can bring the project to a close so that it can be shared.

Anything else a creative person has comes down to expertise at a particular skill, which by extension means the time, energy and resources that person has put into developing those skills.  But this isn't necessary, as we'll call kids creative when they draw a picture without worrying about their skill level.  It's really the starting, continuing and finishing that results in the product, which can then be refined as desired.
Starting is usually the hardest part, and it's hard because someone probably doesn't think they're creative...a catch-22!  Continuing in the face of resistance is no easier, really, and the resistance may come from people we love, people we don't know, and from ourselves, anyone who can contribute to that voice in your head telling you to stop, you're not good enough.  And even creative people have trouble stopping and moving on to the next project...I spent 17 years working on my novel, Motherless Child, before I finally called it done.

What I find interesting is that many people who do not consider themselves creative have these skills.  They just use them in the service of home-improvement, cooking, their professions, and anything else they want to do..  This brings me back to my first point, that anyone who creates is a creative, and that if someone wants to be creative in an area that they aren't familiar with, like drawing, writing or music, all they really need is to acquire some ability in those areas through lessons, and then apply their starting, continuing and stopping skills to the new skill!" - Adam Cole, Founder, Adam Cole Works, LLC

"Creativity is how we translate ideas into reality. It's when our brain perceives a problem and we think of unique, extraordinary solutions to it. But *creativity is not complete with just thought*, there needs to be an act. To call it creativity, you must be able to *create a transformation from something that was chaos or nonexistent. *You must be able to make your thoughts and ideas a reality -- and it must be appropriate to the situation as well.
An idea is merely a combination of old elements into a new arrangement, seeing a relationship that wasn't there before. A *core component *of creativity is being able to link together separate ideas in a chain, and putting that idea into practice." - Willie Greer, Founder, The Product Analyst

"*What is creativity?*
In my view, creativity is the ability to draw from yours and others inspiration, and by doing that, creating something truly inspirational and awesome.

*Fundamental, core components of creativity*
One core component of creativity is being OK with uncertainty and trusting the process. Dealing with creativity is not a straight line from point a to point b. You have to explore a lot of ideas (diverge) until you reach the one you really like (converge).

Another core component is dealing with constraints. By constraining yourself I feel that a lot of times you have to become more creative as a result. This leads to exploring ideas that I wouldn't even have considered otherwise.

*What is creativity from a holistic viewpoint?*
To me creativity is really about expressing your deepest thoughts and feelings.

*The science behind creativity*
There are many studies behind creativity. This one (
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247807688_Feeling_Creative_Being_Creative_An_Empirical_Study_of_Diversity_and_Creativity_in_Teams)
implies that if you feel creative, you become more creative. This can be stimulated by e.g. being in an environment that feels creative and playful,
rather than a boring typical open office landscape for instance." - Andreas Johansson, Founder, Andreas Johansson UX

"'Creativity is when a task is handled in a new and unique way, being able to add your own flair to a project and encouraging others to do the same. Being creative means you must have a good imagination. Sometimes these kinds of creative decisions can lead to a team being more motivated and making decisions to help them stand out. Allowing people to express themselves allows them to start enjoying coming to work.'" - Bridgette Norris, Marketing Director, Eco Secretariat

“Creativity is anything that is produced outside of the norm. The fundamental components of creativity are keeping an open mind, looking at things from a different perspective, and the ability to transform ideas into actions.”- Michael Nemeroff, Founder, Rush Order Tees

"Creativity is the expression of connection between unrelated ideas that is unexpected, out of the box, and innovative. It is unique to each person but when honed, it creates a sense of community that defies logic.

The core fundamental components of creativity are time, pressure, and new experiences. Like a diamond, it takes time and pressure to make something great. It doesn't happen over night and it doesn't happen in a vacuum. Creativity requires a certain amount of time to consider, take apart of the pieces of a project, and reassemble them in multiple ways that can only happen over time. It also requires a deadline or sense of pressure since creativity without confines can turn into a free floating mess. Pressure gives shape the creative expression and should be embraced as an active part of the process of creating. It also requires feeding. A creative mind with nothing new to consider has nothing new to offer. Regularly exposing the creative mind to new ideas, experiences, and people gives it things to consider and mull over and you will be surprised how these inspirations make the creative process more rewarding and inspiring.

From a holistic point of view, it is the life force looking for expression. We are created by life force and we are here to use that energy to make more creative expression. Like love, it is a self-renewing offer when properly take care of. It lights us up and makes us feel connected to each other, both when we offer our own creative expression and when we appreciate the creative expresssion of others. It is born purely from ourselves and our life experiences but it unifies human nature as a
whole through sharing the distinctly personal of creative expression.

The science is still being uncovered. In the past, it was thought to be part of this front brain thinking, like logic and reason. Some recent studies suggest it is located in the center part of the brain, behind the frontal cortex. This means it is beyond the reactions of the lizard brain at the base of our skull but is not yet in the realm of full thoughts and rational thought processes. It is linked to the areas of memory and some researchers believe it unifies both sides of the brain when fully activated. This may be why creative thought often 'idea jumps' without following a logical path, using a combination of image, feeling, and intuition to end up in a brand new place that is surprising and yet familiar. This sense of recognition of unknown ideas is what draws us to the creative expression of others, to connect through the expression of things we didn't know into the realm of shared experiences." - Rhianna Basore, Founder, Self Trust Fund

"What is creativity? It's thinking of something that was never thought of before. Fundamentally, a person creates out of thin air. Everyone has the potential to be creative. For many people, including myself, being creative is a necessity in ones life. If I'm not creating, I'm depressed and sad. I consider myself to have Creative ADD, meaning I create in many mediums.

At my core I’m a storyteller. And through many mediums I am able to tell many stories. Professionally, as TheBrandGoddess.com, I work in advertising as an Art Director/Graphic Designer, which is all about storytelling, but for businesses. Being a fine artist, LisaCourtneyFineArt.com, I paint bold colorful paintings; these are my visual forms of storytelling. As a writer, I’m expressing my humorous voice through my personal stories. And as a fashion designer/movement maker with Good Gangsta clothing, GoodGangsta.com I’m using my voice for good and hopefully inspiring other to do good with their voices.

Holistically, perhaps it's how we become creative. By learning and mastering a skill. The science behind creative, it depends on what form of creativity you are referring to. With advertising, there's the psychology of a target audience, their wants, dislikes, and needs. When I create, I do not think about the science of what I am doing, unless say I am testing different paint colors when I paint or testing the most effective facebook ads for a social campaign.- Lisa Courtney, Founder, Good Gangsta

"*What is creativity? *
Creativity is building something. It can be anything — a website, a documentary, a desk. Something that is your own. You can look at it and say, I built this, or I helped build this.

*What are its fundamental, core components? *
1. Action
You are creative. You have creative ideas even if you don't think you do. But you need to take action on those idea, otherwise they don't come out into the world. You need to take action to build things. You can think of a story idea for a novel, then to see that novel come into the world as something that someone else can read, you need to take action. You need to write the novel. The idea is not enough.

2. A series of things working together
When you build something, there are different components working together to create what you build. So if you write a simple blog article, there are pieces of the article that work together to create the story — a headline, paragraphs, different ideas all connecting, etc. There are other components: You most likely conducted research before writing that article... and research is a component of the blog article. You also posted the article on a website. That website is a component of what makes the blog article a thing that exists in the world. - Megan Wenzl, Content Marketing Strategist, Clique Studios

"Creativity is a channeling of the inner spirit one has - a translation of the energy from the inner world into a tangible form here in the outer world. At the core, it is a transformation of personal energy into any form: painting, writing, sculpting, fashion, gardening, singing, tattoos, interior design, etc.
One needs inner energy sparking ideas...an ability in some form to channel that energy...and a physical component with which to translate it for others to see.
Holistically, I would hope everyone would take time to recognize the creative inside them. It doesn't have to be something with intricate skill. To me, it deals more with the inner energy that a person has, and the joy that one hobby or another might bring to someone." - Carrie Aulenbacher, Author, Early Bird Cafe, The Place Between Places

"Creativity at its core is an expression of who you are on the inside and has a direct correlation to what you're passionate about. The more you bring your creativity to the surface, then the more your personality will shine through. This is why expressing yourself through your creation can in many ways be an emotional release of something you want to get out and share." - David Sandy

"What is creativity?
Creativity is using any of the human senses to express something in a way that will inspire thought or feeling in one’s self or another person. In my case it’s music. I find everything from touching an instrument, playing it, composing, recording, to performing it for my audiences to be extremely creative. Each in very different ways, but all bring out the creative experience in my life. It demonstrates how creativity can be simply for yourself in a passing moment, to shared in a large group, to fixing it in some structural way that could last for centuries.

What are it's fundamental, core components?
There are two fundamental components to creativity. Thomas Edison said “Vision without execution is just hallucination”. This exemplifies the two components perfectly. First is the inspiration. Everyone has creative thoughts throughout their day. We all have dreams at night that seem significant, only to find that recalling them shortly after we wake up escape us. So the inspiration is easy. The other half of creativity is the hard part – the craft. As a songwriter I have found that I must pay attention to the ideas & feelings that float though me. But then I must stop what I am doing, and allow that thought or feeling to coalesce. At that point, the simple hard work of crafting it into something kicks in, which often feels like a completely different process. Finding lyrics that reveal the idea, along with melody lines that lift it along, with harmonic structures that highlight the melody & lyrics. So there’s the idea, and then hard work.

What is it from a holistic viewpoint? What's the science behind it?
Science has not provided an answer. It’s been said that if our brains were easy enough to understand them, we couldn’t. Beyond noting how different parts of the brain are stimulated by creative endeavors, science has no explanations for how or even why humans are creative. I am not a religious person at all. Yet when an idea for music or song presents itself, I often feel like it was a gift from somewhere or something else. And the songwriting process is a very out-of-body experience, where I’m operating on a completely different level of consciousness than the rest of my day. And when it passes, it’s like waking from a dream."- Singer-Songwriter Mark Rust

"Creativity, from a holistic viewpoint, is about helping people view a common object and/or subject from a different perspective. As a brand strategist and designer, understanding two core components is key- who are we communicating with and what message is being communicated. The choice of media will then dictate how the message will be experienced; taking into account the five senses of possibilities and deciding which one will leave the most impression. Creativity is thus the journey of finding connections between people, things, and ideas, and ultimately gaining new insights into reality." - Vincent Lee, Founder, B.R.A.N.D. me

"Creativity means different things to different people For me, it means using the media in an innovative way to truly connect with your audience in an authentic way.
With so much noise, we need to always implement creative, out of the box ideas to truly capture our target's attention and stand out from the crowd. Many persons seem to think that creativity only applies how fantastic an ad looks or sounds but its so much more......its all about strategy.

I always advise my clients to look for creative ways to use existing online and offline media to continuously interact with customers and move them into action." - Carla Johnson, Founder, Carli Communications

"Creativity is having an idea and having the tools, discipline and self belief to bring it to life! Personally, I find the first part of creativity is to find inspiration. Something or someone that speaks to not only your mind and your body but your heart. It has to fuel the excitement inside of you!

Studies have shown that creativity can be passed down generationally. However, there is a default brain setting where parts of the brain regions activate while being engaged in spontaneous thinking, such as mind-wandering, daydreaming and imagining. So the creative gene is inside of everyone but, as mentioned, it can only truly be accessed through passion and strong will power!

Holistic creativity is an all-encompassing process of productivity, art and design mindset, psychology and neuroscience. You don't have to be specifically a great writer or painter -- something such as having great problem solving skills can even make you a great creative! Everything boils down into tapping into these intelligences within yourself which sparks something new inside of you. Some people follow patterns, and they're able to use their creative intelligence to bring exciting end-results into their
lives and the lives of those around them!" - Liam Flynn, Founder, Music Grotto

"For me, creativity is the ability to see nothing and everything at the same time. I I had to learn how to switch my perspective and in turn my response to life if I ever wanted to feel true joy. Shitty things happen in life--that's guaranteed. But, how you react to them and how you inform your reality makes all the difference in how rich your life truly is. Also, creativity is letting go of fear of acceptance; a true creation knows no judgement, it simply exists." - Gabrielle Pickens, Founder, Pickens Creative

"Many scientists or professionals tend to say that they 'don't have a creative bone in their body', however, I think this is wholly untrue. Creativity isn't only artistic expression. To be creative isn't to be a good painter, drawer, writer, dancer or singer, this is but one form of creative expression that people can use.
Creativity is simply imaginative expression. Thinking outside the box to use a cliche or more specifically, creativity is the art of using your gifts, your unique thoughts, memories, experiences and other aspects that make you 'you', to present a thought or manifest an idea that essentially, only you can create.
So actually, scientists are extremely creative. So are successful business owners, entrepreneurs or the sort. They are extremely creative in being able to find solutions to issues or think 'creatively' using their god-given tools and materials as well as whatever else they can source around themselves." - Andrew Taylor, Director, Net Law Man

"*We are all creative *
We can all be creative, however, in our culture creativity has come to be associated with some kind of artistic ability like painting, writing music or decorating. We are being creative when we prepare a delicious meal for our family, when we design a new method of teaching in the classroom or in business, or when we solve a problem.

*Creativity from a holistic viewpoint *
As a Life Coach, I help people examine all the areas of their life including health, relationships, finances, managing stress, having fun, personal growth and spirituality. When we are experiencing satisfaction in each of these areas, we are said to be thriving. Creativity comes in when we have choices over our life in these areas, when we can think differently and grow.

*What happens when our creativity is taken away*
When we feel trapped, that we have no choice, and do not have autonomy, we become unhappy. In work situations for example, most people feel better when we have some say over how we do our job, have a bit of variety, or most important, feel that our contribution makes a difference. Of course some people choose more creative work such as being in the arts, acting, drama, music, painting photography, interior decorating, but we are all being creative with every choice we make all day long.

Creativity depends on how you view it. If you have the ability to think and take action, you are creative." - Lynell Ross, Founder, Zivadream

"What is creativity? Creativity is the ability to find and execute the solution(s) to known and unknown problems. It allows for the fluid harmonization between logic/intellect and chaotic wonderment simultaneously- the visible product of the *void *where all is formed.

What are it's fundamental, core components? While many people take classes that attempt to teach creavitivty, at it's core true creativity is truly the mastery of one's own madness. Arguably mostly subjective in nature, methods vary between creatives, yet inspiration and a true understanding of what already *is *(otherwise, how do you know what to change?) lie at the heart of all those who feel compelled to create and innovate.

What is it from a holistic viewpoint? Creativity is the river obstructed by the dam known as society: a pure energy source waiting to be unleashed, but usually restricted for the sake of the presumed comforts of those frightened by its raptures.

What's the science behind it? The closest articulation I can offer for this is ordered chaos. This is seen in forms such as music, the cosmos and language." - Leah Brock-White, Founder, Chosen Eyes

". . . I have been creative since I was a kid in both artistic pursuits and problem solving. My mother had a 40-year career as a ceramic artist and my father has practiced photography for 60 years for pleasure and for money too. I have a side career on pause for selling animistic wooden guardian statues and spiritual furniture but too busy with bigger fish (so I make these things for friends and myself of course).

Creativity is a process in which something new and valuable (or of value) is formed. The thing created can be intangible (an idea, theory or even a new joke) or it can be tangible, a physical thing (a play, a painting or a new battery). The interest of academics and educators in the field of creativity ranges from psychology (still a rough science) and cognitive science to technology and linguistics. And, in the end, the science behind creativity is less than clear or dependable.

The value part is somewhat meaningless as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For example, take the two renowned Romantic landscape painters of the early 19th century: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851) and John Constable (1776 – 1837). They were both good at painting and were both well known during their lifetimes. But Turner was a practical painter: he took his audience into account and he absolutely expected to be well paid for his work. Constable (and William Blake) was a painter who pursued his work but paid scant attention to making money. In the end, Turner made a lot more in his lifetime and today his works fetch roughly 100% more in auction than Constable's work. But both are given the same level of creativity. Paradox?

However for entrepreneurial pursuits and engineering and medical research the creativity is the process that leads to a successful product or service and that process is just as mysterious as any other. For example, we simply never refer to group creativity. It's a totally individualistic process.

From a strictly basic perspective, creativity is really one of two process and frequently they overlap: 1. Artistic creativity. 2. Problem | solution creativity.

1. Artistic creativity: I think it is almost impossible to understand this process. However, all famous writers and painters have their work habits and 90% plus of them work in some form of isolation and they almost always adhere to very specific work times and durations. So making art is really also a learning curve and the more you do the better you get, if you are in fact trying to get better. Doodling is doodling and daubing is daubing. Artistic pursuits are deeper and more personal and more ambitious.

2. 2. Problem | solution creativity: I have been problem solving for about 45 years and I have read ALOT about these processes out of interest mostly. I think the key things for problem | solution creativity is never give up, take notes, work with paper and pencil | pen a lot so that your mental processes are recorded and imprinted within you, and take your most challenging problems to sleep (just be sure to focus on the problem, in a questing kind of way, as you approach sleep). I have had most of my creative moments in the morning hours but the evenings and nights have also been rich. If you are constantly thinking about a problem the solution eventually emerges. Or a solution that may well be discarded or severely changed before the final idea, product, service, thing . . ." - Ian Martin Ropke, Founder, Your Japan Private Tours

"Creativity means not being normal. Double-think people and take a second glance. Creativity is a type of art. You deserve to be heard and remembered because
you're anything but ordinary. The two main elements are the recognition of humility and empathy. Consider what everybody is doing, then do something special. Be unique and not ordinary. - Frank Ienzi, Founder, Frank Ienzi Marketing

"Creativity is resourcefulness in action. When most people think about creativity, they imagine an artist. A true creative, however, is someone that can easily iterate and come up with an ingenious idea. The end result could be a marketing play, flavor composition, business solution or even a new therapeutic approach. From a holistic viewpoint, creativity is resourcefulness in action." - Courtney Werner, Founder, Koya Innovations

"If you surveyed 1000 creative people, I am sure each person will have a different definition of what creativity truly is. For me, creativity has multiple answers. Creativity is creating something out of nothing. Creativity is making something better than it was originally. Creativity is being different than others. Creativity is having the confidence to put yourself out there not caring about what others may think. Creativity is being your authentic self. This are all my definitions of creativity.

At its core, creativity is a mindset. Anything and anyone can be creative. Like the old saying, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I believe creativity is the same way. It is based on perception of the creator and the beholder. To one person, a drawing of a flower may be creative, but to another, it may not be anything special. Depending on the person, the iPhone may also be an item that has stemmed from creativity. While to another person, the iPhone cannot be defined as creative. I believe that
creativity is all about perception. Everyone has the capacity to be creative.

From a holistic view point, creativity is anything and everything. It is the flowers that bloom in the spring. It is the tv screen where we watch our favorite shows of Netflix. It is the random pieces of art that are in our homes. It is energy that flows in every living and non-living thing. In my eyes, birth is one of the most creative things in the universe. The starting of life for all creatures is a phenomenal process and it matches all my definitions of creativity. This is what can be viewed as the science behind creativity. Our bodies are a group of organs and systems that work together to keep us living on a daily basis. If you ask a biologist, they would say that the human body is a creative masterpiece of itself.

If I wanted to bore the readers and write a 20 page paper on creativity and its many definitions, then I could submit it in a hours. Creativity is a subjective word so it can have many meanings depending on the person that answers. Subjective words frustrated me when in college. However, as I think about this word, I believe that it's subjective aspects is the best part. By it not having one meaning, we truly experience what makes creativity so creative." - Elandis Miller, Founder, Kicking It Sports

"Creativity is the ability to connect two previously unrelated frameworks of reference in an unusual way to generate new meaning. In practice this means looking at one problem or situation from several perspectives, and finding ways to view it in a different light, making an unexpected connection that constitutes a breakthrough.

Take the story of Velcro for example. Velcro is not the result of research or studies, it’s the idea that George de Mestral came up with after finding out that a bunch of spiky seeds had clunged to his jumper after a walk in the woods and he had to remove them. He could have stuck to that simple task, but by thinking about it laterally he managed to make an unusual connection that inspired him to generate something new.

What is interesting is that we usually think of creativity as a sort of innate skill, we think some people are more creative than others, however that is far from the truth. Creativity is a process and it obeys understood and replicable laws.

The most important one is that we need to split the creative process in two phases. In the first one we only focus on generating as many unrelated ideas as we can, loosely connected to the issue we are trying to solve. In the second one we then try to connect these frameworks to make sense of them. The key is that in the first phase we must not focus on making sense at any point, the goal is only to go for quantity, to have as many ideas as we possibly can. By doind so we can generate really unrelated frameworks, and only with these conditions can we then find a connection that is truly new and uncommon, and that builds the foundations of a breakthrough idea." - Edoardo Binda Zane, Founder, EBZ Consulting

"My husband Shmuel and I run a film production company specializing in commercials and documentaries. Not only is our actual work creative, but running a business, we've found, requires endless creativity in the form of problem solving and pivoting, especially during these unprecedented times.

I went to a liberal arts college in the Northeast where the claimed to teach students how to think. Many people in my hometown made fun of my choice to not go to school for a specific career path, but to gain a broad scope of knowledge for life. While initially after graduating college, my friends from high school who studied for a specific degree were able to get jobs faster, my peers from college, now 18 years after graduation, have achieved much cooler things, and mostly in the creative field, and mostly having created their own jobs and fields of work.

Creativity takes longer to stew than practicality, but it really seems to pay off with greater rewards, at least in the self-fulfillment category. - Margelit Hoffman, Founder, Hoffman Productions

"What is creativity?
For me, creativity within the arts (ie. Photography, film, painting, sculpting etc), with an emphasis on my professional field, photography, is simply just the act of using your imagination to make something. This can be through the visuals, such as making something fit your aesthetic or by combining two or more images in photoshop to make a composite image that you had in mind when you took the photos. This can also be through the narrative and not necessarily the look of the images, but more what they represent. For example, a woodland landscape, to the untrained eye, may appear to be uncreative and that could sometimes be the case, however most of the time, it would have a deeper underlying meaning and will have been taken to add the creative visuals. I also believe that creativity is as simple as taking something you love and going with it. I often think it’s unfair to compare peoples creativity, especially when you haven’t seen their thought process, which often goes undocumented.

What are its fundamental, core components?
The three main core components would be, imagination; this doesn’t have to be an extraordinary imagination, everyone has one and can utilise how big or little of an imagination they have. Ambition; there is no point forcing creativity, you need to want to do it and pursue it in the most spectacular fashion possible- go all out and pursue it to the end. Theres been plenty of ideas I’ve thought up, started to pursue, realised my minds not 100% in it and I just want to get it over with, so it goes back onto the pile of ideas and maybe I’ll come back to it when I actually feel ambitious enough to finish it (thankfully I have the option to do this). The last core component would be the ability to positively respond to constructive criticism, whether this is to listen to it and amend what you have done to include what they have said, this is particularly important in a workplace if you’re not the manager, or politely decline their suggestions if this would change your work in ways that you’re not comfortable with. However, considering the constructive criticism is imperative to understand how your audience may react to your creative decisions and if you choose not to take the advice, prepares you for the potentially negative reactions that your work may have.  

What is it from a holistic viewpoint?
From a holistic viewpoint, creativity is the most widely used concept around the planet. It can be found everywhere and in most peoples day to day lives without them even being conscious that they’re doing it. Creativity is problem solving, even in the smallest and seemingly least significant ways. Creativity doesn’t have to be creating the most stunning paintings, it can be doodling on a shopping list, it’s the words you choose when writing or having a conversation, the block color someone chooses to paint their house walls. Everything has some kind of creative process, whether this is conscious or not. It always saddens me when people say that they’re not creative, when what they really mean is that they’re not consciously artistically creative.

What's the science behind it?
I don’t think there’s an exact science behind creativity, its just a way of thinking. You can either tune into your creativity or not. It can be more difficult for some people than others as some people are very analytical and logical, whilst some people are solely driven by what creative project they’re tackling next, whilst neglecting analytics and sometimes logic. Neither are inherently bad mindsets to have, but often these two types of people don’t understand the other, which can lead to tension. For example a common misconception is that creative roles, through both study and work, is easier than a role that is highly academic. Whilst it might seem easier on the surface, as people who pursue these projects are often very creatively driven and already have a concrete understanding of the creative process, creators can feel inadequate and pressured, which can have a mental toll. Creative fields are highly competitive and misunderstood. In creative projects there is not logic or correct way to do it and whilst this can sometimes be overwhelming to some, it opens the project up to all kinds of interesting possibilities and excitement." - Photographer Alex Costin

"What is creativity? It's the process of finding a solution to a problem. "Creating something out of nothing" feels a bit high minded, but really, that's what it is. You have a need—and that could be anything from "How can I get two characters to reveal an important idea through their dialogue in a natural way that sounds like two people actually talking?" to "How do I get the Swiffer head to lock into the thingie on the handle?" You are faced with a problem to which there are no available step-by-step solutions. The process is like the time-tested engineering methodology of Design Thinking. You begin with empathy for the one with the problem (for example, a character about to go on a long journey, or the person responsible for Swiffering the floor), then you think about the need that you are trying to meet. You throw a lot of ideas on the table. Brainstorm. Anything goes. You draft and redraft. You toss what doesn't work, and you keep what does. You tinker. You massage. You edit. You make a prototype. You test the prototype. You refine. You test again. For me, the creative process is always about how to solve a problem.


What are its fundamental, core components? Choice. Synthesis. Courage. In the early-mid 2000s, I collaborated on the creation of a one woman show, "One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nryo." I wrote this with and for the singer/musician/actress Kate Ferber, and the show had successful runs in New York, Boston, and Philly, with an east coast tour from New England to South Jersey. The script originally had Kate playing the role of Laura (an iconic '60s and '70s singer/songwriter) telling the audience about her life. "And then I... And then I..." It was a flat script, not interesting, just a clothesline on which to hang Kate's wonderful interpretations of 10 Laura Nyro songs. Neither of us were happy with the script. It was one dimensional. One afternoon in 2007 Kate and I were sitting on a park bench trying to figure out a new direction. We were talking about the Laura Nyro song, "And When I Die." There's a lyric in it: "And when I die/And when I'm gone/there'll be one child born/and a world to carry on." Now, get this: All of a sudden a group of little children came running up from behind us and split into two groups, each running past our bench. Like a whoosh of children. Kate and I looked at each other, and we were both inspired. We said, "Wait, no, this isn't about Laura; it's about her legacy, about the effect she had on her fans. It's about what she left behind when she died." Thirty minutes later we figured it out: 10 monologues by 10 fictional characters, each of whom was influenced by the music of Laura Nyro. We made a choice to make the show not about Laura, but about her fans. Immediately we loved the idea. We had already interviewed Laura's family, friends, and fellow musicians. So next, we began to interview her fans and collect their stories about how her music changed their lives. The overall premise became "art can change your life." We used some of the material we collected in interviews, and we made up characters—some loosely based on our sources, others from our imagination, but informed by what the devoted fans had told us. We spent several months synthesizing our notes into the script, creating characters, and giving them life—in service of solving the problem, i.e., how can we prove that art can change your life? When we decided to go this route, it was a terrible disappointment to Laura's executor, who loved the early script. But she loved it for sentimental reasons. It took courage for us to divert from our original "bio-play" version into something more daring, something that we knew would displease the executor and some of Laura's closest friends. But we also believed that testing the hypothesis of "art can change your life" was more interesting and more creative than "And then I sold my first song... And then I met Jackson Brown... And then I met Janis Joplin... And then I got married...."   In that moment, sitting on the park bench, we made a creative choice. Subsequently, we researched, we interviewed, we took a lot of notes, and we synthesized those interviews into a fictional framework. In the end we made something brand new—something that was as inspiring to people who had never heard of Laura Nyro as it was to many (but not all) of her devoted fans.


What is the science behind it? (I'm responding to the questions out of order. Sorry, I'm on a roll). In my soon-to-be-released novel, The Song of Life (Sunbury Press, 2020), the first line is: "It could take a Bhagavad Gita landing on your head to wake you up." That is the premise of the novel. In scientific terms, it is a hypothesis; a hunch about how something works. In science, we begin with a hypothesis and we test it, and we test it some more, and in most cases, the tests fail, so we go back to the lab and come up with another hunch, and we test that, and often that fails, and eventually a test is conclusive, so we run more tests. Then we ask someone in another lab to run the same tests to see if they reach the same conclusion. If they do, then we have evidence. A hypothesis becomes a theory—a body of evidence—through repeated testing. That is the process I use in sharing a draft with my writers group (we've been meeting monthly to critique one another's work for 30+ years). If nine smart, caring, and well trained writers don't get what I'm trying to convey, it probably means my hypothesis is off, or I haven't adequately proved it. "It could take a Bhagavad Gita landing on your head to wake you up" is my novel's hypothesis. The next 250+ pages prove it. A character is sleeping in a library. A Bhagavad Gita falls off a shelf and lands on her head. This event wakes her up, sending her on a seven-year spiritual odyssey. At the end of the novel, the hypothesis is proved. Where bench science engages in repeated experiments, a writer engages in rewrites. I listen to peer criticism, learn what isn't working, go back, tinker with the hypothesis, maybe even throw out the hypothesis, start again, and again. Ultimately, a written work such as a novel or a play is like a theory: it's a body of evidence collected through experimentation. The creativity lies in the willingness to try a new idea, pull it out of my life experience, or something I read, or heard, or maybe something I believe in my heart. I have to care enough about proving my hypothesis to devote a couple of years to the experimental (creative) process.


What is it from a holistic viewpoint? That's a big question. It may be beyond my pay grade. When I am giving a reading or sitting in the audience for one of my plays, and there's a laugh line and everyone around me laughs, or something touches their hearts and moves them emotionally, I have a feeling of satisfaction that corresponds to the emotion the audience or the reader experiences. I've brought a small measure of delight to readers and to audiences. That delight is a drop in a bucket, a teeny-tiny contribution to improving the human condition through reflection, laughter, emotion, compassion, and intellectual engagement. I also think about the fact that people bought tickets to the show, or they paid for the book, and when they did that they paid a local tax, and after the show or the public reading they're going out for a beer, where they pay a bill and tip a server. My creativity contributes in a small way to the local economy, to the tax base. The copyeditor currently working on "The Song of Life" gets paid for her efforts. She uses that money to buy groceries. Again, this is a small satisfaction and I'm not kidding myself: it's a miniscule drop in the bucket. But I get to contribute to it. It's part of an ocean of drama, literature, art, and everyday problem solving that engages people's minds and elevates their spirits. I solved a problem by proving an idea that was important for me to prove—and that idea developed into a book or a play that has a real effect—psychological, emotional, and material—on other people." - Writer Louis Greenstein


"I see creativity along a spectrum with one end defined by George Washington Carver¹s quote ³when you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world² (doing something quite ordinary in a new and interesting way) to the other end where you use your imagination to come up with something completely new and original to produce tangible or intangible value. Creativity benefits business and society by bringing new and fresh ideas to the forefront. It helps solve problems, entertain, educate, inform and break through the monotony and noise in our daily lives. Creativity adds color and energy to an otherwise boring situation. Creativity is what keeps us engaged and coming back for more. Creativity helps us remember and move forward. To be more creative here are some things I do:

* Take a vacation if I can, twice I have spent a month in Italy

* Drive ‹ road trips can clear your mind

* Exercise ‹ anything from a walk around the block to a class, Tai Chi,
bike ride, spa or retreat

* Eat ‹ amazing what great meal can do

* Music ‹ live is best but earphones can be great too

* Shower/bath especially with hot water

* Magazines and trashy novels not literature though

* Sleep - even a power nap can help" - Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder, Mavens and Moguls

"The fundamental components of creativity are individualism, innovativeness, and curiosity. These three components make up creativity, and have resulted in many of the most impactful discoveries/inventions in history.” - Andrew Jezic, Founding Partner, Law Offices of Jezic & Moyse

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How to Run a Multivariate Test
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