Robert Epstein on CreativityIn the June/July issue of Scientific American Mind, there is a panel discussion of how people can release their creativity. Executive Editor Mariette DiChristina talks with three experts, one of whom psychologist Robert Epstein offers particularly interesting remarks concerning the competencies that people need in order to be able to engage in creative expression.
From his research, Epstein has concluded that four competencies are essential:
- Capturing the most important competency. "Capturing" means "preserving new ideas as they occur to you and doing so without judging them."
- Challenging "giving ourselves tough problems to solve. In tough situations, multiple behaviors compete with one another, and their interconnections create new behaviors and ideas."
- Broadening "The more diverse your knowledge, the more interesting the interconnections so you can boost your creativity simply by learning interesting new things."
- Surrounding "has to do with how you manage your physical and social environments. The more interesting and diverse the things and the people around you, the more interesting your own ideas become."
For managers, teachers, and parents, Epstein has created a complementary 48-item inventory one can use to assess oneself on the the eight skills Epstein's research tells him a person needs in order to stimulate creativity in others:
- Encouraging capturing of ideas
- Challenging subordinates
- Encouraging broadening
- Managing surroundings (physical and social environment)
- Managing teams to stimulate creativity
- Managing resources to stimulate creativity
- Providing feedback and recognition
- Modeling appropriate creativity-management skills