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Creativity and problem solving

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What is creativity?

Definitions of creativity vary but most people agree that creativity involves:

  • imagination
  • thinking
  • problem solving
  • learning

These processes of imagining, thinking, problem solving, and learning are all closely linked. Creativity is the bringing together of these processes in a bold, free-ranging way, to arrive at useful and tenable ideas which are variously described as original, innovative, inventive or novel.

Creativity is not a special set of skills belonging to the gifted few; most people are capable of a high degree of creative thinking. It is important for everyone to develop their creative skills.

Some of the more useful explanations of creativity concentrate on the processes involved. In a work setting, for example, creativity may be described as the process of designing and producing a unique and useful product.

The thought processes behind such actions are often referred to as creative thinking.

As a student, you are likely to be particularly interested in creative thinking because it is the process you use for coming up with ideas which you can use in seminars, tutorials, assignments and examinations.