What is creativity? (A complete guide)

In this article, the concept of creativity is under examination: are we all potential artists? What are the keys to a creative personality? Are there more types of creativity?

Keep reading to learn everything about creativity.

What is creativity

Creativity is defined as the process of giving birth to something new and useful at the same time. To establish the relationship between this new environment and reality, we use our imagination.

Creativity is often seen by people as an attribute or quality with which one is practically born. The “artist’s creativity” is the most recognized as genuine, but what does an artist have to develop that creative facet?

Discovering the keys to a creative personality

The world around us is perceived by each of us differently. We have in our minds a personalized version of reality, that is, each of us has our own vision of the world that we feel and understand, guided by our experience.

Many artists in history have been related to some kind of psychological imbalance or disorder: temperamental, melancholic, lonely people … Sigmund Freud expressed this circumstance with the following words: “There is always a pathology that frequently refers to traumatic childhood experiences, an opening to the conflicts of the unconscious.

There is even a style of art therapy, which exploits the artistic abilities of individuals.

Psychoanalysts debate the extent to which a person with one type of disorder can become a genius.

For example, the case of Kim Peek illustrates how a superhuman capacity in a field (in his case, a prodigious ability to remember everything he perceives) may not translate into a balance of all the facets that we as humans aspire to develop.

For Freud, creativity is the peak of the artist’s desire, an opening to repressed desires and fantasies, where there is room for neurosis or psychotic personalities. Instead, psychoanalyst Ernst Kris associated creativity with the ability to find new connections between ideas.

A recipe composed in conjunction with conscious and unconscious thinking.

Keys to understanding the creative mind

If we stop to think of writers, sculptors, art masters, and dream sellers; the vast majority share an intense account of their life, deep thoughts, search for truth and perfection, disappointments and pain, the self-perception of a deep self with whom we feel identified. 

There are people who tell me repeatedly that during their nightmares, at their most heartbreaking moment or at their moment of more intense joy, it is when they find the key that gives way to the idea they were looking for, or to the concept that gives a new colour to the meaning of life.

The continuous search is what moves us, creating bridges with our imagination.

A meaning or an experience is the creative canvas that we seek to capture something inexplicable and it is the artist who is the sage who explains it to us, who shows us that it is possible to go beyond what we know.

August Strindberg, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Louis Wain, Wassily Kandinsky, among others, transport us to multiple realities taken by the hands of a creator.

Therefore, we must not rule out that creativity is accompanying the evolution of our world, and that it is in our world that we acquire our vision and creative inspiration. 

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, without going any further, already warns us that each person is unique and unrepeatable and possesses certain skills and abilities, which should not be objectified.

It does not take a person with a known name to participate in the detonation of something new, we just need to close our eyes and let ourselves go, to become our own genius.

Types of creativity

According to Longoria (2004), several types of creativity are distinguished, among which are those that we will see below.

Plastic creativity – It is related to shapes, colours, textures, proportions and volumes, it is manifested in visual arts such as architecture, sculpture and painting, and even in other activities related to spaces, such as cinematography, television production, choreography, among others.

Flowing creativity – It is the creativity of feelings, affections and attitudes; Values, desires and dreams, the imaginative, the symbolism and the chimerical spirit, the religious and the mystical prevail in it.

Philosophical creativity – This type of creativity can flourish in the generalization of knowledge and interpretation of the world, for example:

  • A conceptual way of thinking, which transforms images into symbols.
  • An application of comparisons, metaphors and analogies.
  • A refinement of science that lights the way for humanity.

Scientist creativity – Apply ingenuity and talent in the investigation of new knowledge, take advantage of the happy occurrences in any phase of the method and not only when developing hypotheses or generating solution options, as one might superficially think.

Inventiveness creativity – It is the talented application of ideas, theories and resources to solving the problems of ordinary work.

It is not limited to the design of utensils, tools or devices, but includes organizations and processes that become methods. The entire set produced can be called technology.

Social creativity – It is creativity in human relationships; It generates the organizations and institutions through whose operation the peaceful and providing coexistence between the groups of the society is optimized. Its goal is excellence in happy coexistence, in general, and particular well-being and in obtaining the common good.

Techniques for developing creativity

Various techniques can be used to develop creativity. Here are a few:


We could say that one of the main dynamics to develop creativity is the well-known brainstorming technique, which allows us to start from nothing and by externalizing random thoughts, it will generate polarized ideas that will lead us to have clarity in the objectives we have.

This technique starts from the premise that the greater the number of associations and the less stereotypical the ideas, the more creative the solutions to the problem.

Through this, many ideas are generated, some of them will be really useful, innovative and feasible in terms of their realization.

To maximize the results of applying this technique, it is convenient to follow some guidelines:

  1. Apply all the phases of the technique presented below:
  • Statement of the problem clearly and briefly.
  • Selection of the group that will participate.
  • Prior communication that the brainstorming will be used.
  • Holding the session.
  • Evaluation of ideas.
  1. Ensure an open and creative environment. It is important to stimulate participation, so avoid criticism of the ideas contributed.
  1. Establish a system for notation of ideas.
  1.  Take advantage of derivations of initial ideas.
  1. Give feedback to the participants in the session on the results obtained.

A checklist

It consists of registering the issues related to a product, service or process that may give us new points of view. The underlying idea is that a product can be improved by questioning and identifying what can be modified or improved. This tool encourages us to think of ideas that had not previously been raised.

Image stimulation

Image stimulation is a well-known technique used to generate new ideas. In it, the members of the group look at a group of selected images and relate it to the information of the problem to be solved.

Mind mapping

These creative techniques can be used together to solve any problem, specifically, in the development of a project and conflict resolution.

It should not be forgotten that all participants should aim to contribute constructively to the development of creative alternatives to solve the conflict in question.

Without a doubt, product design and innovation constitute one of the most interesting areas in the application of the creative process.

FAQ about creativity

What defines creativity?

Creativity is defined as the process of giving birth to something new and useful at the same time. To establish the relationship between this new environment and reality, we use our imagination.

What are examples of creativity?

Examples of creativity are all the novels, poems, art pieces, inventions and scientific breakthroughs that are out there, since the beginning of the time. 

How do you show creativity?

You show creativity in the way you work, by being curious, open-minded, intrigued by how things work and how you can make it better. Creativity is the process of thinking, not the final product. 

What are the 5 components of creativity?

The 5 components of creativity are:

– Expertise

– Imaginative thinking skills

– Intrinsic motivation

– A venturesome personality

– Creative environment. 

What are the characteristics of a creative person?

The most important characteristics of a creative person are curiosity, playfulness and discipline. There is no creative process without these 3 components that often are considered the “secret ingredients” of breakthroughs. 

Why is creativity important?

Creativity is important because it makes us better. Better problem solvers, better in our work, social and professional relationships. Eventually, creative solutions lead to a better life. 


In this article, we examined the concept of creativity. We explained what it means to be creative, what defines creativity, what are the keys to understanding a creative mind. We also gave you some techniques in order to develop and awake your creative inner self. 

What do you think is the role of creativity in our lives? Do you think that the world today would have been the same without sculpture, painters, writers and other types of artists? Do you consider yourself a creative person?

Do not hesitate to let us know what you think, or if you have any questions!

Further reading

Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  

The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology), by James C. Kaufman (Editor)

365 Days of Creativity: Inspire your imagination with art every day (Adult Art Activity and Colouring Book), by Lorna Scobie  

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, by Julia Cameron 

Conscious Creativity: Look. Connect. Create, by Philippa Stanton  

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull 


De Bono, E. (1998). Lateral thinking. Creativity manual.

Mackinnon, D.W. (1980). Strategies for creativity.

Martín, A. (2013). Create yourself. Bring your creative ability to life.

Matussek, P. (1984). Creativity: from a psychodynamic perspective.

Ricarte, J. M. (1998). Creativity and persuasive communication.

Waisburd, G. (2004). The power of your creativity. Manual to develop creativity.

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