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Am I creative person? November 16, 2010

Posted by Karīna Sīmane in Uncategorized.
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Creativity as well as design thinking are one of the top topics for now. There is a pilot project going on in Latvia in order to develop the creative abilities of school children (using the method of de Bono). I myself have had some problems with understanding the terms (for example – what is design thinking) and even to define if I am a creative person. This literature research was done for university course and brings some insights in these terms.

Illustration: Caroline HwangIllustration: Caroline Hwang

What is creativity?

Creativity is often defined as the development of novel ideas that are useful. One popular perspective equates creativity with divergent thinking or the extent to which individuals are able to generate a wide variety of ideas or responses to a particular problem situation. Group creativity can thus be defined as divergent thinking in groups as reflected in ideational fluency (1).

Creativity requires the ability to overcome known routes of thinking. There are many assumptions, tools and methods aiming to foster creativity; for example Smith (2) analyzed 172 idea generation techniques used in organizations and consultants. This huge amount of techniques can be referred to a small set of ‘active ingredients’ from which the best technique for different kinds of tasks can be deduced (2).

Creativity and the team work

Creativity is a very important factor in the team work. Without creative processes innovation becomes impossible. According to Shasvinina (3)over the past years, creativity and innovation are the most often named remedies to ensure a long- term survival of companies and to face a worldwide competition. Therefore it is essential to foster creative processes in school/ university team works as the ability of creative acting will have the utmost importance in graduates’ professional life.

Design Thinking

While creativity is considered to be important in the team work, the design thinking can be useful for each individual, especially if you are dealing with open and ill- defined problems.

For many years design thinking has been associated only with the design discipline, however lately new views about its importance in other fields have emerged. In scientific literature there are more and more articles about the need to incorporate design thinking in other disciplines for example engineering (4), management and business administration (5).

Design thinking is described as the obverse of scientific thinking. Where the scientist sifts facts to discover patterns and insights, the design thinker invents new patterns and concepts to address facts and possibilities. Therefore in a world with growing problems that desperately need understanding and insight, there is also great need for ideas that can blend that understanding and insight in creative new solutions. Implicit in this notion is the belief that design thinking can make special, valuable contributions to decision making (6).

There is an interesting article by Norman (7), where he states that design thinking is just a myth. Thus a very good money earning myth. Because design thinking is the same old creative thinking that has been known long before the designers entered the scene. In my opinion design thinking maybe is even a better word. Design is so hype but creativity as a term is quite difficult for ordinary people. Most of the people think that creativity is just a “thing” that artists have.

Keep in mind:

– creativity is not an ability that comes “out from the blue”. Everyone, who comes up with new ideas or solution  to problems runs through a creative process. Even if you think you are not creative- probably you are wrong:) Creativity is not just an artist thing!

– creativity is a step before innovation.So in order to be able to innovate you have to be creative

– design thinking is something that you can learn. It is just an ability to look at the problem from various points of view. The ability to look at the problem from different viewpoints enhances the creativity and leads you to innovation


(1) Paulus, B. P., 2010,“Groups, Teams, and Creativity: The Creative Potential of Idea- generating Groups”, ID4010 Course Reader Design Theory and Methodology, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands,2010, Chapter 13, pp.171-190

(2) Badke-Schaub, P. (2007) ‘Creativity and innovation in industrial design: wishful thinking?’, J. Design Research, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp.353–367.

(3) Badke- Schaub, P., “Where do creative ideas come from? Uncovering the secrets of creativity”, ID4010 Course Reader Design Theory and Methodology, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands,2010, Chapter 13, pp.159- 170

(4) Dym, L. C., Agogino, M. A., Eris, O., Frey, D. D., Leifer, J. L., Engineering Design Thinking, Teaching, and Learning, Journal of Engineering Education, 2005, January, p.103-120

(5) Dunne, D., Martin, R., Design Thinking and How It Will Change Management Education: An Interview and Discussion, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2006, Vol. 5, No. 4, 512–523

(6) Owen, C., Design Thinking: Notes on its Nature and Use, Design Research Quarterly Vol. 2, N0. 1, January, 2007, pp. 16-27

(7) Norman, D. (2010) Design Thinking: A Useful Myth? http://www.core77.com/blog/columns/design_thinking_a_useful_myth_16790.asp