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Creativity Management - Artists and Creativity

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Artists and Creativity

There is a common perception that being creative and being an artist are one and the same. That if you are one, then you are also the other. This is bad thinking:

a) What people are referring to is their perception of a creative type. In fact it is highly contentious that there is a creative type at all. Whilst some theorists argue that there are creativity traits such as tolerance for ambiguity and intolerance for conformity, others counter that these traits are hard to identify and are situation dependent. Further, motivation is more important than traits.

b) If creativity is problem identification and idea generation then we all have this ability. Further, we can all produce large numbers of ideas, numbers of diverse ideas and numbers of novel ideas. This is related to task competency.

c) Creativity is a cognitive ability. People may look "creative," but this is a bad guide to their actual cognitive performance.

d) There are many types of "artists." Poets and painters are two very different types. Bunching all "artists" together compounds confusion. The ability of painter, for example, is related to at least two factors. First, there is his or her cognitive activity - what he or she finds aesthetically pleasing etc. Second, there is the mechanical capability of being able to translate those images onto a physical canvas with paint. This second ability is related to the hard wiring of the painter - motor neurons etc.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop MBA, is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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