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Thought and knowledge an introduction chapter ten essential

Creativity is producing something that is both unusual and appropriate. Not production that leads to the
consequence, but two measurable qualities of the consequence of production, in particular originality
and benefit, define creativity.
Both the unusualness and appropriateness criteria require judgements: how unusual is the idea and
how successful does it meet some objective? Because both these criteria vary along quantitative
dimensions, creativity exist in degrees. That is why any action is more or less creative.
Hot dogs and fruit salad in a cold mustard sauce, liver and broccoli flavored ice cream… these culinary
delights we would not judge as creative because they do not satisfy the criterion that the product be
appropriate or useful.
Gardner wanted creativity to include the idea of regularity and frequency. This extended definition
means that creativity does not depend on luck or fortune, because random actions cannot explain
regular results. When we achieve success in an unusual way, then we are creative.
Lateral thinking is the way of thinking around the problem, increasing the number of possible alternative
solutions. Lateral thinking creates the ideas and vertical thinking develops them. Lateral thinking is being
creative and idea discovery, while vertical thinking is the refinement and improvement of existing ideas.
Becomes popular the view that great creative products may be produced by almost anyone with
intelligence even slightly above the average and expertise in any discipline. There are no cognitive
abilities that separate creative people and not creative. From a cognitive perspective, creative thinking
consists of ordinary and simple thought processes.
Inspirational thunderbolts do not appear out of the blue. They are grounded in solid knowledge.
Creative people are very knowledgeable about a given discipline.
Creativity has been described as the three S: sensitivity, synergy and serendipity. Sensitivity is the use of
senses, imaginative windows to the world that we use to touch, smell, taste, and see. Creative thinking
involves perception of important features of environment that others overlook and do not notice. One
of the benchmarks of creative person is ability to find problems but not only solutions to them.
Sensitivity is necessary to find problems. The first stage of solving the problem is to recognize the
problem exists. For example, it is not apparent problem that children unspool toilet paper, but it does
exist and was recognized by one shrewd mom who suggested the solution that appeared to be
demanded on market.
Synergy is the compound of unrelated ideas that works unexpectedly with success. Synergy is bringing
together ideas that at first glance seem incompatible (unable to work together) into whole that
functions good. Example of synergy could be taken from biography of popular artist Alexander Calder
who brought together his experiences with wire objects, bright colors, and abstract objects to create his
mobiles, unique artworks.
The creativity lies in finding bridge between two different domains of knowledge. Johannes Gutenberg
invented printing press by combining two previously unconnected ideas – the wine press and the coin
punch. The coin punch is to leave an impression on a small area, while the wine press is to apply
pressure over a large area in order to squeeze juice out of grapes. One day Gutenberg put coin punch
under the wine press and realized he could get images on paper. This combination of technologies
changed the world by making books widely available.
Finding problems and creating solutions are two mainstreams of creative process. When group
members are disagree and have different opinions, they are more likely to find novel solutions or come
to new decisions, but it depends on the particular way groups are diverse (best outcome is when group
members are different in education and personality) and degree of culture and manners (whether
participants are polite and respect each other).
Serendipity is unexpected discovery, a fortunate coincidence. Although serendipity may contribute to
creative act, the persistence and hard work of creator allow such event to happen once. Continuous and
exhausting work is necessary requirement of serendipity.
Creative people make unusual decisions about the topics and products in which they would invest time
and effort. Creative people make creative contributions to unpopular fields and then move to another
unpopular topic when first one gains in popularity.
Finding the problem worth solving as important as finding a successful solution.
The creative contributions of an individual to a certain domain are judged and assessed by the people in
that field (art critics, funding agencies for physics research, editors of decorating magazines). People in
their domains of knowledge decide whether contributions of other man is valuable and deserves respect
or not. Therefore, these specialists can encourage creative individuals to work or prevent their
Group members need to voice their disagreement and come up with new ideas instead of making group
rush to unanimity. Groups produce more creative responses than participants working alone. There are
four patterns of behavior that move teams beyond individual creativity: 1) seeking help, 2) giving help,
3) rethinking a situation; 4) supporting and reinforcing responses of others. If you want to enhance
group creativity it is important to make group interactions so that members are not afraid to ask for
help and give help, they are encouraged to rethink the problem, study it under a new tangle, and
support and develop responses of each other.
Paradigm is usual way of thinking or responding. For example, if manufacturer of golf clubs wants to
earn more money and thinks about the problem in frames of paradigm, he increases advertising budget
so that advertisements reach more people. If he stretches the paradigm, he might think it is worth
targeting buyers of golf clubs instead of reaching more people, so the advertisement reaches fewer
people, but a more select group which is interested in golf equipment. If he rejects the paradigm, he
changes the nature of problem that is being solved, so instead of competing with other popular brands
and trying to conquer market he makes new golf clubs aimed to new audience – people who do not play
Creative people at Calloway understood that members of country clubs play tennis instead of golf
because find using extremely tiny equipment frightening and impossible. Calloway saw a business
opportunity that nobody had seen. A club with a large head makes golf less difficult and more
interesting for those who are unfamiliar with the game. The invention became a profitable move that
expanded market of golf clubs. This creative act involved rejecting usual business paradigm.
Every creating act involves a giving original definition of a problem and selecting information that is
relevant to reaching the goal. The nature of a solution changes every time the problem is redefined. For
example, couple has faced a problem and seeks for marriage advice. The wife complains her husband
spends too much time at work and deprives her of attention and care, while the husband complains that
working long hours is necessary for career growth, and his wife would understand that if loved him
more. Instead of thinking whether should they divorce or not would be more beneficial to think over
other possible definitions: how can they prove they love each other? How can the husband develop
career while spending less time at work? How can they adjust to present situation? Is the career growth
important goal? What could the wife do not to feel lonely and resentful so much? If you consider the
problem for a few more minutes, you can come up with many other problem definitions.
Selection of relevant information to help reach the goal depends on your knowledge of problem space
and how much you are aware of topic. If you know the wife loves painting and gamble, you may suggest
that she pursues her interests to get distracted from sad feelings. Besides, you know about availability of
other jobs for the husband and may suggest that he change jobs.
Lateral thinking or “thinking around the problem” is just another term of giving other definitions to the
Problem space is any possible goals and ways to reach from the start point to the goal. There is a model
named geneplore which consists of repeated cycles of generation and exploration that are essential
parts of creating problem solution. Evaluation is also important because you should be able to recognize
a good solution has been obtained. Evaluation is necessary to terminate the process, or you might be
caught in unending loops of exploration and generation.
Although memory is important for both creative and noncreative problem solving, the application of
memory must be different in some ways between these two types. When thinking creatively, memory
task is more than retrieval of a known fact. It involves broader research with fewer constraints on type
and breadth of information required.
One detrimental effect of creativity is that being aware how to solve the problem and ability retrieve
known and appropriate solution may hinder and impede creativity. Experts who can remember suitable
solutions as readily as we can retrieve an arithmetic fact do not consider additional possible solutions in
comparison with the novice who needs to think through a solution.
This model of creative thinking offers two possibilities for those who are interested in enhancing
creative thinking: a) conduct broad researches of memory, keep thinking about the problem until a
solution has been found; b) practice combining relevant information that has been gained into new
solutions, craft more complicated solutions out of available information.
Insight is a sudden awareness of a solution. The best way to develop insight (or intuition) is to work in
regular and predictable environment.
Incubation is a period of time when an individual is not working on a problem that is followed by a
successful solution. For example, when you are reading a mysterious detective story and suspect one
character who may be the murderer, you believe. You generate possible solutions and explore the
problem space, but to no avail. You fail to prove the prime suspect is guilty, so you leave the problem
and resume other activities. It is incubation period, and it helps to forget one weak and unpersuasive
solution and to pursue other more profitable ones. Sort of release from mind trap.
Information people store in memory is connected into networks that remind cobweb. For example, your
knowledge about flowers is arranged such way that information about roses is stored close to
information about orchids and azaleas. Your knowledge about flowers is also connected to your
knowledge about water and sunlight, which in turn are connected to may other different topics. If you
know much about something, then you have an extensive and highly interconnected network of
If you start at any place in this giant interconnected web, you may pave the path to any other place in
the web. Spread of activation is movement of your thought from one idea to related and neighboring
other ones. People large knowledge nets have more places for activation to spread. Therefore, if you
want to be more creative, you would need to acquire knowledge about the field so that there would be
more relevant information which is available to craft new ideas.
We use our knowledge networks for new ideas, and scarce and poor networks bring few ideas. We apply
information stored in memory to create new and this way extend our knowledge network, go beyond
what has been learned yet.
Reasoning by analogy is pervasive in everyday life. We reason analogically whenever we compare our
new decisions to previous experiences. For example, when you buy a new goldfish because you liked the
old one, when you accept advice of a friend because it was correct and valid once before.
Thinking involves the ability to notice resemblances or correspondence between two objects while
simultaneously distinguishing differences. When you use analogies, you observe that two entities are
similar with respect to some property and dissimilar with respect to others.
The most famous creative application of analogy is seen in the tale of Archimedes, a famous Greek
mathematician and inventor. He was given the task to determine whether the crown of King Hiero the
Second was pure gold or not. Archimedes did not know how to solve the problem because of
complicated shape of the crown. Once he put himself into bathtub with water, and the reservoir
overflowed. The answer came obvious. Solid gold crown and equal in weight gold bar would displace
similar volume of water. Because gold has higher density than silver, an object that contains outer
metals would displace more water than an object of pure gold. He found that the crown of Hiero the
Second displaced more water than equal weight of gold which means that crown was mixture of gold
and outer metals. Archimedes had a true creative insight.