Can Creativity be Taught?
“In whatever the sector or discipline — product development, exploitation of networks, music or education — creativity shares certain traits, experts say. Jacob Goldenberg, professor of marketing at the Arison School of Business at the IDC Herzliya in Israel, says creativity has more than 200 definitions in the literature. ‘However, if you ask people to grade ideas, the agreement is very high,’ he notes. ‘This means that even if it is difficult to define creativity, it is easy to identify it. One of the reasons why it is difficult to define is the fact that creativity exists in many different domains.’ Still, he says: ‘Most creative ideas share a common structure of being highly original and at the same time highly useful.’
In Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results, Goldenberg and co-author Drew Boyd make the case that all inventive solutions share certain common patterns. Working within parameters, rather than through free-associative brainstorming, leads to greater creativity, the book says. This method, called Systematic Inventive Thinking, has found application at Procter & Gamble and SAP, among others. ‘We shouldn’t confuse innovation and creativity,’ Goldenberg says. ‘Creativity refers to the idea, not to the system [product, service, process, etc.] that was built around it. For example, online banking is a great innovation, but the idea [of using the Internet to replace the branch] was not creative. It was expected years before it was implemented.’ …
Mueller found in a 2010 study published in Psychological Science, people often espouse creativity as an abstract goal, but then, when presented with it, spurn it. In The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas, co-authored by Mueller with Shimul Melwani and Jack A. Goncalo, experiments suggest that the desire for creativity is often overshadowed by a need to reduce uncertainty — even as subjects rate their attitudes toward creativity as positive. Moreover, this bias contributes toward people being less able to even recognize creativity.”