Tensions in Creativity

Using the Value Square to Model Individual Creativity

The definition of individual creativity is based on a tension between novelty on the one side and usefulness respectively appropriateness on the other side. The paper explores how this tension pervades the stage and componential theories of creativity. To achieve this, the so called value square (“Wertequadrat”) developed by Helwig (1967) and Schulz von Thun (1998) is used which balances a value with its countervalue to analyze creativity. The author identifies tensions of action and inaction, expertise and mindfulness, precision and ambiguity as well as immersion and detachment permeating the creative process and the components of creativity. As a conclusion a morphological box for creativity is presented which allows one to show which combination of characteristics of the tensions support different stages of creativity. Furthermore implications for development and time management are discussed.

The Working Paper can be downloaded under Publications/CBS-Working Papers.

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