Enhancing Creative Competency

What do people need to learn (and do) in order to systematically enhance their individual and collective creative competencies?

The first step to improving your creativity is understanding and accepting the fact that you are a creative person, and that you are capable of being even more creative -- you can improve your creativity with practise and concentration, but first must come a basic belief in your ability to be creative. Read Affirmations every morning and evening.

Second, to become more creative you must nuture and learn to listen to your inner 'voice', your intuition. When involved in a pursuit requiring creative solution, be open to a wide variety of possible solutions. Be aware of your own personality and belief limitations that might blind you to possible solutions; know yourself well.

Don't be afraid of failing with any given avenue of exploration; even a negative result from one line of questioning can lead to a new idea or new possiblity.

Be open to alternate solutions as they occur

Keep a journal of some kind to record ideas as they occur to you.

Learn to recognize your own abilities so that you have some sense of the areas of a given problem that may give you difficulty or require more energy to solve. Sometimes tackling the difficult areas first is wise so that your energies are high; other times, leaving the less well understood problems until later in the process can allow your 'backbrain' or subconscious time to gestate solutions.

Increasing creative ability also involves practicing both divergent and convergent thinking processes. Learn to discipline your mind to create many possible solutions to a problem at the beginning of your effort -- to brainstorm ideas, to be open to many avenues of solution, to record the distracting sidelines to the process that may occur to you.

You must also be aware that at some point in the creative process you must begin to sort through these various ideas, evaluate their utility to the problem at hand, and converge on a solution. Do not be distressed if you must discard what seems to be a good idea or solution due to the constraints of the current problem or project. Save those ideas for another project or later work of art.

Creativity is an inner state, but it is also a social aspect of life. We do not create for oneself, otherwise our work will be kept in our mind. Even people that hide their works are socializing it by putting them down on paper, canvas, etc. It is important to understand the social implications of creativity. It is very interesting to watch pop artists go on stage, music being the most social form of art.

There are artists, in front of 2,000 people, that could be performing in their closet and that would give the same result, while some others are "giving" themselves entirely. Some are giving a good technical performance, while some others are not technical but more imaginative. There are dynamics in there that need to be studied.

Creativity is socially framed, as much for our individual expression and our social expression of it. A technique is just a technique if it is not understood in the social context which gives meaning to the creative person it has helped. As far as I know, it is very recent that there are researchers that are interested in the social aspect of creativity.

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Last updated: 4th August 1999