Good problem solving occurs when managers have many viable, creative alternatives to consider. To inspire employees to approach problems creatively and to nurture a creative environment, organizations follow three general approaches. These include hiring creative individuals, applying specific creativity-enhancement techniques, and developing a creative organization.
Creative behaviour is defined as production ideas that are both new and useful. Creative ability is the ability to produce ideas that are both new and useful. These definitions may seem constraining, since the usefulness of some truly creative alternative might not be immediately evident. One scholar has addressed this dilemma by differentiating between originality and creativity. Both motivation and a proper setting may be necessary if innate creative ability is to blossom into creative output.
Creativity involves more than the sudden moment of inspiration in which an idea suddenly flashes in the brain. Instead, as shown in figure below, there are four stages to the creative process: preparation, incubation, insight, and verification.
|The Creative Process|
Preparation involves gathering, sorting, and integrating information and other materials to provide a solid base for a later breakthrough. The discoveries of penicillin, the benzene ring, or gravity, while each involved a moment of insight, would have been impossible without a firm grasp of related information. During the incubation stage, the mind is not consciously focused on the problem. The individual may be relaxed, asleep, reflective, or otherwise involved. The insight (“Eureka!”) stage is the familiar, sudden moment of inspiration. While this is what we often think of as creativity, it is only one step in the creative process.
Finally, verification is necessary. Here, the individual carries out the chores involved in carefully checking facts to support the insight, carrying out research to determine that the DNA molecule is in fact a double helix or that a meteorite did really create a dust cloud that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This process further supports the contention that creativity does not just happen. It is a thorough and often-painstaking activity.