The ability to think, work, and respond in ways characterized by a high degree of originality, divergent thinking, and risk taking; the ability to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise (or aspects of these) in ways that are original or that lead to unexpected results.

Creativity is a learnable skill (not something “you’re born with or without”) that can be used in response to a project, a question, or a problem to be solved. It is not limited to the arts, but can and should be a part of every intellectual endeavor. Creative thinking should be approached with an attitude of flexibility, an openness to many different possibilities, and an acceptance of risk and failure. It begins with brainstorming to generate a wide range of potential ideas. The best ideas are then selected and improved through a repeated cyclical process of reflection and revision. Creative work draws upon personal experience, and responds to or breaks with past traditions or contemporary practices. Good creative thinking happens in a context of intentional feedback and can be a collaborative enterprise.

Guiding Questions

  • Am I open to experimenting with ideas, methods, or materials in ways that are out of the mainstream?
  • Did I generate a wide range of possibilities?
  • Have I reflected and revised to narrow down the possibilities?
  • Have I polished my work through multiple iterations?
  • How does my work connect to my past experiences?
  • How does my work connect to, build upon, or actively revise traditions or contemporary practices, or other similar work?
  • Have I actively sought feedback and used it to further refine or improve my work?