What do creative people do differently?

More and more often we are confronted with situations in our everyday lives where routines are no longer sufficient and we need solutions. People who claim to be unable to act creatively then react with the following behavior:

  • They think hard and come up with no solution.
  • They think the problem cannot be solved and devote themselves to other things.
  • They delegate the problem to colleagues and shirk their responsibility to find a solution themselves.
  • The problem burdens them and they become ill.

In all these cases, however, they would come up with solutions that make work easier and provide new ways of thinking if they used creativity. But what characterizes creative people?

What do creative people look like?

There are many scientific studies on the characteristics of creative personalities. One of the most famous experts is the psychology professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who became famous mainly through his discovery of the “flow experience” – describing the experienced state of happiness through complete deepening and highest concentration in an activity. From the scientific results, the following characteristics can essentially be compiled, which stand for creative thinking:

Problem awareness: The ability to question routine procedures and to recognize problems (also future ones)

Creative people regularly question their work processes and activities (e.g: On which way could I still drive to work? What improvements would this bring about?). They look to the future (What will we do if there is no longer any demand for our most important product?).

Self-motivation: Fun at work and problem solving

Unexpected problems often lead to a concrete activity for creative people. They do not feel frustration when problems arise. The thought of an exciting solution motivates them to invest energy in their work.

Flexible thinking: The ability to use different ways of thinking according to needs and to combine ideas

Problems are different – so are solutions. While some problems can only be cracked with radical lateral thinking, other situations require a structured analytical approach. Successful creative personalities recognize when they need to think differently and which techniques are appropriate at that moment.

Persistence: High energy to solve even complex problems and not to settle for quick solutions

Complex problems cannot be solved in a short time, the solution requires a lot of perseverance and energy. An engineer who worked for a large German mechanical engineering company was finally able to complete a component that he had been working on for over 8 years.

Expert knowledge: Enough know-how to penetrate the problem in great detail

You don’t have to be an expert for creative ideas. Often specialists are also too deeply caught up in their task and therefore have difficulties in lateral thinking. However, a basic knowledge of the product, industry-specific experience and relevant know-how should be available, especially when dealing with complex problems.

Judgement: The ability to recognize good solutions and use positive approaches for further development

At some point the point comes where the decision for or against the implementation of an idea must be made. Even if it is difficult, other good ideas have to give way to better ones. Perhaps only a part of the idea will be implemented to develop a new solution.

Take a look at the characteristics and consider which of them apply to you and which skills are particularly important to you. Tip: Let a friend of yours assess your abilities.

Train your creativity

You can see from the characteristics described that creativity in a professional context has little to do with the ability to achieve artistic excellence. Rather, it is about solving concrete everyday problems – and this ability can be trained. There are enough exercises for different creativity techniques. We will present some of them in the future in the Verrocchio Notes.

With inspiring greetings
Christian Buchholz

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