How To Be Creative

By, 03/26/2012

Creativity is valued in every organization and useful in almost every job function. Business leaders seek employees who demonstrate the trait and employees exhibiting the trait seem to excel at certain tasks. As a result, psychologists have tried for years to figure out what makes some people more creative than others—whether it’s innate, learned, luck, or brought about by some unseen process. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, author Jonah Lehrer describes new research that reveals creativity is actually just a blanket term for different mental tools, each of which is coaxed into action in different ways.

 As Lehrer lays out, different creativity tools are required to solve different types of creative problems. Some problems may require prolonged, focused rumination to derive a solution. Others are better served by “zoning out” and spending time on unrelated tasks, which gives the brain a chance to connect previously unrelated thoughts or borrow solutions from different disciplines. So, when considering how to best approach a creativity challenge, be sure to consider both the types of problems you regularly face and which type of solution (orthodox or unconventional) would provide the best impact.