When we go to the underlying “template” of nearly all discussions about “creativity”, our main interests, are always the same:

– How do you recognize it?
– Where does it come from?
– How do you use it?
– Who cares?
– What is it worth?

We know what the word “create” means: it means “to make”. Competitively, we want creativity to refer to making things in a way that they were not made before — a strategically useful requirement. We want to know if those new “formulas” are inspired (implicitly discovered) or engineered (explicitly discovered), and we want to know if we can cause the discovery on demand.

But the terms of discussions about creativity are often too ambiguous to be shared effectively across different parties. The ambiguity inhibits both confidence and progress in taking creativity under management.

A glossary of characteristic distinctions would help to sort out the discussions so that the answers provided would be understood the same way by all of the participants.

Most of the mythology about creativity is actually about where it comes from — namely, the nature of “inspiration“. Creativity is seen most commonly as “originality of awareness”, usually characterized in one of two ways:

– insightful (sees within)
– imaginative (foresees)

But artists, teachers and coaches know that creativity can be both taught and learned as a behavior that generates insight and imagination. The behavior has any or all of the following characteristics:

– playful (arranging for pleasure)
– experimental (arranging for discovery)
– inventive (arranging for newness)

– constructive (static effectiveness)
– productive (dynamic effectiveness)

– distinctive (different per specification)
– unusual (different per context)
– original (different per known precedent)

Overall, the glossary allows us to “map” these behaviors as  different types of “vision” (seeing), “build” (arranging),  “impact” (effectiveness) and “value” (difference).

It’s fair to ask about how the behaviors become competencies.

The answer is that the behaviors can be pursued intentionally and need not be only spontaneous or “inherent”. In particular, we see training as the work done in any behavior to separate the 80% of unnecessary effort from the 20% of effort worth amplifying. The other key effort required is planning. By looking at what each different behavior is actually about, it can be taken and prioritized as a potential source of change to a current state reality.