The word ‘creativity’ comes from the Latin term crea “to create or make”. It is the act of using one’s own imagination to come out with new ideas, events or objects. It refers to the bringing of new things into existence. Creativity can also be defined as the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile. It also involves improvement of already existing ideas or rearranging old things and ideas in new forms. These definitions help us to understand that creativity is contrary or opposite to copying.
Creative people try to develop and invent new things to solve problems wherever they find themselves. Creativity is experienced in every field of human endeavour such as art, engineering, sciences, medicine, police, law, trade, civil service, military, politics, teaching etc.
A creative person is someone who is able to use his own imagination or ideas to bring out new things which are very useful in our everyday life activities. There are two classes of creative persons, namely High/Genius creative person and the Less/ordinary creative person. This classification of creative persons is dependent on three important factors. These are:
• Fluency – The total number of interpretable, meaningful and relevant ideas generated in response to the stimulus.
• Originality – The statistical rarity of the responses among the test subjects.
• Elaboration – The amount of detail in the responses
High/Genius creative person
This creative person possesses more general intellectual habits, such as openness, levels of ideation, autonomy, expertise, exploratory skills and so on. He/she is able to create items with ease; it comes naturally as if without efforts. Creative people tend to be more open to new experiences, more self-confident, more ambitious,self-accepting, impulsive, driven, dominant, and hostile when compared to people with less creativity. The lives of genius creative persons in history were marked by extreme dedication and a cycle of hard-work and breakthroughs as a result of their determination.
Less/ordinary creative person
This group of creative persons can create but usually needs direction or guidance. They are limited in their capabilities and ideas. They usually exert themselves before they can create items. Most of them, usually need a push to spark their creative abilities.
There are various traits of a creative person. Some of these have been explained below.
(i) He is very curious and eager to learn or to find out things about his environment- A creative person always wants to find out why things happen as they do. He asks a lot of questions about things in his environment and he is ever ready to learn from people how some things were made.
(ii) He is ready to explore or try out new things and ideas- A creative person is always thinking of new things, how to address a particular issue in a different and more efficient manner. He tries to explore with various materials, tools, and techniques with the sole aim of addressing pertinent problems in his/her community.
(iii) He is hard working and does not give up easily in times of difficulty- A creative person is not lazy but takes what he does seriously. In the course of attending to his work, when he faces a difficulty a creative person does not give up on the work. On the contrary, he quickly generates a lot of ideas on how to deal with the difficulty. He keeps on trying till he overcomes the difficulty he encountered while attending to his work.
(iv) He is highly imaginative, practical oriented and experimental- He is always thinking of how to solve problems by producing or creating functional items. He is a scientist who tries varieties of methods and ideas so as to come out with a viable tool that is an absolute answer to a problem confronting communities and the nation.
(v) He accepts challenges and tasks and completes them- A creative person is very confident and has a high determination to succeed in any task assigned to him. He is not a coward, but a positive-minded person who is poised to be victorious. He doesn’t leave a stone unturned in his work.
(vi) He is always hopeful, and self-disciplined- He has high hopes that his work will yield good fruits. He does not give room to disappointments and ‘it cannot be done’ statement. He works to meet all deadlines and is faithful to his clients.
(vii) He is original- He does not steal ideas or copy existing ideas, products or items. On the other hand, he brings out new and first-hand ideas. A creative person can also improve the efficiency or workability of an existing item or product. However, he does not copy it but tries to address the deficiencies of the existing product all in the quest of producing a product that best solves the problem at stake.
(viii) He has a great interest and love for what he does- A creative person is very proud of what he does and has a keen delight in it. This is very evident in the passionate way he attends to what he does. Derogatory remarks about his work is like a drop of water to quench an uncontrolled fire, it does not affect his disposition and attitude towards his work or profession.
(ix) He is able to fit into a new situation- He finds his way easily, even in a new environment or situation. His presence is soon noticed and alarmed. He learns quickly and is able to adjust to his new environment be it a new duty, workplace, school etc.
(x) He is able to produce many ideas quickly- He is able to come out with a great variety of ideas which are fresh and well meaning. He is a good contributor of knowledge and skills. He is a thinker and a storehouse of ideas.
There are four vibrant stages or periods in the creative process. Each of them takes a great deal of time. The stages are Period of preparation, Period of incubation, Period of insight or inspiration and Period of verification, elaboration, perception, and evaluation.
- Period of preparation
This is the first stage of the creative process where the creative person prepares himself or herself to handle the problem at stake. He gathers a lot of information on what he is about to do and explores the problem’s dimensions. He also explores various learning techniques to help him amass an in-depth knowledge about the work he is about to do.
- Period of incubation
This is the stage of the creative process whereby he faces difficulty while attending to the work and then take a temporary leave from the work. He engages himself with another work with the hope of finding a remedy to the problem he has encountered.
Incubation helps in creative problem-solving in that it enables “forgetting” of misleading clues. The absence of incubation may lead the problem solver to become fixated on inappropriate strategies of solving the problem. Creative solutions to problems arise mysteriously from the unconscious mind while the conscious mind is occupied with other tasks. Therefore, he keeps working on other things till he finally finds a solution to the problem.
- Period of insight or inspiration
This is the period during which the creative person finds a solution to the problem, he encountered while doing the work. He leaves everything and quickly attends to the work. This may take days, weeks, months or even years. It is also referred to as Intimation and illumination period.
- Period of verification, elaboration, perception and evaluation
At this stage, the creative person works very hard with great joy with the goal of completing the work. He shows the work to friends, relatives and experts for their appreciation and criticisms.