Robert J. Sternberg, a cognitive psychologist, defined creativity as “…the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile.” Creativity is a built-in perspective of approaching problems and situations in a novel way. This novelty is not abstract but applicable to solving problems. Thus, creativity is an important aspect of problem solving skills.
While in a group, the goal might be same, but creativity involves reaching the goal in most efficient and different manner. For example, all students may be required to write an essay on same topic, but they may have different approach to do their research work about the topic, like different points, elaborate on different areas and finally each one will write a different essay. But the student who will write a concise, concrete essay with most relevant information will be awarded the maximum marks.
Creativity can be developed. It is a concept, a habit, a perspective that can be learned. Unlike the common belief that creativity lies in the abstract, it involves a detailed methodology behind any behavior. One needs to be thorough with the problem at hand, well researched, as well as work towards becoming an expert. An expertise is essential since it gives one all the relevant information required in order to reach the most efficient solution in least time.
Appropriate levels of risk taking behavior is also a part of creativity. This is what is referred to “thinking out of the box”. Taking the minimalist risk of moving out of the comfort zone and thinking innovative enhances creativity. Of course, one may not always be correct, therefore, chances of learning from past mistakes/failures should be given and leveraged upon.
Training oneself in creativity is one of the best means to develop it. Engaging regularly in creative decisions, projects, assignments, approaches (even it means a trial and error method) helps build confidence in oneself and enhances creative skills.
Most importantly, it is of utmost importance to think positively and approach situations, people and problems with an optimistic approach. Focusing on giving oneself a chance/opportunity to be creative helps is more efficient decisions and negative moods hamper creative thinking. Therefore, being in positive/good mood is the key ingredient of creativity.