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Definitions of creativity

Most definitions of creativity found in research literature (Runco and Albert, 1990; Runco and Pritzke, 1999; Sternberg 1999) include the following structural elements: 1) novelty (originality, unexpectedness) of the creative work, 2) its value (relevance, appropriateness, significance, usefulness, effectiveness).

This type of definition is accepted in the recent Handbook of Creativity edited by Robert J. Sternberg (1999), an authoritative collection summarising contemporary creativity research. Let us give a few examples. "Creativity is the ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e. original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e. useful, adaptive concerning task constraints)" (Sternberg and Lubart, 1999: 3). "Like most definitions of creativity, ours involves novelty and value: The creative product must be new and must be given value according to some external criteria" (Gruber and Wallace, 1999: 94). "A creative idea is one that is both original and appropriate for the situation in which it occurs" (Martindale 1999: 137). "Creativity from the Western perspective can be defined as the ability to produce work that is novel and appropriate" (Lubart, 1999: 339). The comparison table compiled by R. E. Mayer (1999: 450) shows the unanimous use of these two elements in definitions of creativity through the whole book.

Another two elements often found in definitions of creativity are 3) assessment of something or someone as being creative by an authoritative body (field) according to some criteria and 3) communicativeness, i.e. communication of this value to an audience.

Definitions of creativity. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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