Creative styles – what’s in fashion now?

dec steph 199aDoes creativity equate with keeping up with the latest trends? I wince a bit at this thought and realize how many people assume “early adopter” is same as creativity. I realize that no one comes up with ideas in a vacuum. We must all build on the past and avoid constructing something so disconnected to the current world that it is utterly incomprehensible. However, creativity is really defined by starting trends, rather than following them.

Now that creativity has become a valued ability it seems cruel to for anyone to be left out. It is no longer the domain of the eccentric inventors, impractical daydreamers, and those living in garrets on the edge of poverty. Many claim everyone should have the possibility of being creative. But, if you look at any group some people generate far more unique ideas and original work than others do.

The latest trend in creativity research is not to find who has it, as much as it is to define the various styles, so everyone can share the glory. For example, Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory describes both Adaption and Innovation as styles of creativity. However, but when one looks at how they are defined one will really see that they are levels of creativity.  People fall between working within the system and challenging the system.[1] According to this scale, no one is purely creative or completely non-creative, but somewhere on a continuum between the two.

Another creative style assessment known by its acronym, C.A.R.E., (Fahden & Namakkal, 1995). Describes the different approaches that people use. As in Kirton’s Adapter-Innovator split no one fits completely into any category. Most people use all of these approaches at one time or the other, but they show a definite preference of one type of approach.

Conceptual approach encompasses developing new ideas, different alternatives, describing concepts, and forming an overall plan. This is the creative style of the thinking person.

Spontaneous approach is marked by freedom from constraint and traditions, and an ADHD style that focuses on many things at once, impatiently jumping from one to the other – the feeling approach to creativity.

Normative approach is shown by putting ideas into a familiar context, based on past experiences and similar situations to guide them, with a preference for knowing the consequences and following rather than leading. This play-it-safe style is not particularly creative. Maybe these people follow rather than lead when it comes to producing original ideas and products–like the person who assumed adopting trends early was creative.

Methodical approach is not really creative at all. This approach is demonstrated by focusing on proven solutions, and placing things in order. However, creative people can be methodical during part of their process because if they use a step-by-step, orderly routine to test ideas to see which are practical.[2]

It is still obvious that that creativity is not spread equally across the masses.  However, everyone may not be driven to be unique to the same extent because they may not want to be creative. Many are simply content to keep doing what exactly what has been done.

Photo by Dave Cachero
[1] Kirton, M.J. (1976). Adaptors and innovators: A description and measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61, pp. 622 – 629.
[2] Carlson Learning Company, (1995). pp. 8-9
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1 Response to Creative styles – what’s in fashion now?

  1. knlistman says:

    Reblogged this on Write about what? and commented:

    Leave no one behind…

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