The Creativity Crisis

Source: The Creativity Post, Jul 2012

In 2005, I conducted and published a meta-analysis study synthesizing studies that were published between 1965 and 2005 regarding the relationship between creativity and intelligence. My results show that there is a negligible relationship between the two, meaning that even without high IQ we can still be creative as long as we have the ability to master knowledge and skills in one specific domain.

Creativity is more than just coming up with an idea, and requires hard work, persistence, and endurance to produce a final product. Imagining a story is different than writing the story. There is no creativity without a final, useful product.

Originality scores also decreased since 1990, indicating that we are less able to generate unusual ideas. Originality is one of the most critical elements of creative thinking. I believe the decrease results from a climate that continues to grow less tolerant of creative expression.

Everyone claims to love creativity, but very few of us understand what is really involved in creativity.  Psychologically, most of us are uncomfortable with the change, uncertainty, new ideas, challenges, and risk that accompany creativity and creative behavior. In order for thinkers to present original ideas, the climate needs to be receptive, or at least not hostile, to expression and consideration of unusual and wild ideas. The proponent of an original idea starts out as a “minority of one.” A creative climate respects original ideas for the possibilities they offer, and considers how new ideas may work, instead of dismissing ideas because of reasons they won’t work.

There are many creative success stories in the United States. However, people in general are becoming less able to think creatively, and they are less tolerant of creativity and of creative people. Especially, younger children are less able to think creatively.

The Creativity Crisis is not an event, but an era of continued decline in most measures of creativity.  Reversing the trend will be a process that will require patience and perseverance, because the results will not be immediate.  Part of the barriers to creativity results from public demands for immediate and measurable solutions in education, business, and government. Even in this hostile climate, we need creative solutions presented to reverse the trend.  To increase the likelihood of this happening, there needs to be a forum with a Creative Climate, so that truly creative solutions can be suggested, considered, and implemented. 


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