What is Your Creativity Level and Creativity Style?

Woman playing guitar

What is creativity? Creativity is a thought process that leads to new and useful ideas and this thought process has been divided into two categories, divergent thinking and convergent thinking.

Divergent thinking and convergent thinking

A creativity expert and psychologist named Guilford is the person who came up with these two categories and according to him divergent thinking is about coming up with multiple ideas, multiple solutions or multiple alternatives. Convergent thinking on the other hand is about narrowing down your choices.

So divergence is about multiple ideas and convergence is about choosing from those ideas.

This thought process is something everyone does; we all have the ability to create and to both diverge and converge. However, thankfully we are not all the same and we diverge and converge differently. In other words, we all have different creativity levels and creativity styles. 

Different creativity levels

Our creativity level depends on our knowledge, experience and skills and our divergent and convergent thinking will differ according to that.

For example if you are a gardener and the goal is to create a beautiful garden, your creativity level is higher than of a person with no knowledge of gardening and therefore you are likely to be able to come up with more ideas (diverge) and choose an idea (converge) based on you knowledge, experience and skills. And the person with no knowledge of gardening has a higher creativity level in a different field.

Different creativity styles

Our creative style depends on whether we are a structured thinker or not, or somewhere in between.

A structured thinker is very logical and when diverging (coming up with ideas) he or she might come up with ideas about what the garden can look like and put it up in an Excel sheet and categorise the ideas according to when each plant will bloom or make a list of themes. While a less structured thinker might come up with ideas in a less structured way and more connected to how he or she feels about the idea.

When converging (choosing the idea) a structured thinker will think logically and carefully about how to choose an idea while a less structured thinker will likely not pay as much attention to details and follow his or her feelings when choosing which idea to use.

So we are all creative and we do all diverge and converge; how we do it depends on our creativity level and creativity style.

How is your thought process?

Imagine that you are having a dinner party. Think about all the different dishes you can make for your guests and then choose 10 options. From those 10 options pick the one you want to serve.

Then step back and think about how you did this. How was your thinking process? How did you put the 10 together and how did you pick the one?

How to increase divergent thinking?

Knowledge, experience and skills are not always enough to come up with several great ideas. There are many ways to increase your divergent thinking to come up with several ideas and according to a research, one way is to play music.

Playing music has been found to increase activity in a part of our brain called Corpus callosum, which is like a bridge between our left and right brain. This allows information to go faster and through more diverse routes, which can result in increased number of creative ideas.

You can learn more about our brain and music in this interesting TED video.

About Birna Birgisdóttir

Birna Birgisdóttir is a Ph.D candidate, researching creativity and servant leadership. She enjoys learning new things and has a M.Sc. in International Business, B.Sc. in Business Administration, diploma in Human Resource Management and she is an Executive Coach as well as NLP Practitioner.

Birna loves new adventures; has travelled the world, scuba dived in Mexico, skydived in Las Vegas, surfed in Australia, meditated in India and climbed the highest peak in Iceland.

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