Friday, 12 Jul 2024

What Is Creativity?

creative world ucf

Summer 2017 | By Eric Michael ’96

A Search

A. Dale Whittaker Provost and Executive Vice President

“Creativity is bringing something to life that doesn’t exist because you’ve challenged yourself to think and act differently. At UCF, a place that advances knowledge, creativity is essential to everything we do. So the question we always ask is, ‘How do you go beyond what you think you know and think in a way you haven’t thought before to develop an answer that doesn’t yet exist?’”

A Practice

Brooks Dierdorff Assistant Professor of Photography

“Creativity comes from working hard and doing it regularly. I think about it as a practice where you show up every day and make things. And even if you don’t feel particularly creative or inspired that day, you keep going and going, and eventually your mind is unlocked. But it takes all that hard work to get to that place. You might make a lot of bad stuff, but you can’t skip that effort.”

A Process

Debra Reinhart ’74 Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarship; Pegasus Professor of Environmental Engineering

“When I worked with students in the STEAM project—which challenged artists to collaborate with scientists and engineers on artistic expressions of their research—I discovered that their creative processes were very similar. Whether it’s finding a solution to a math problem or creating a painting, creativity is figuring out the process required in a way that may not be obvious or is completely new—a discovery, perhaps. As an engineer, you have to use creativity to solve problems within certain constraints. It’s a process of meeting criteria in ways that aren’t apparent, and thinking in ways that other people haven’t considered. That’s creativity.”

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A Secret

Michael Pape Dr. Phillips Entrepreneur in Residence

“Creativity is a process of bringing something new into existence that challenges prevailing assumptions. It’s fundamental to human existence. To challenge prevailing assumptions, you need to discover secrets. From my time as a research scientist and as an entrepreneur, I’ve identified two kinds of secrets. There are static secrets that must be mined or uncovered, and there are dynamic secrets that must be hunted or that emerge under observation. I take inspiration from the writings of Rollo May, who teaches if you seek originality, you probably won’t find it, but if you just observe, embrace chaos, and try to frame it into form, you might uncover those secrets in the process.”

A Step Beyond

Carolyn Hopp Associate Lecturer and Coordinator, School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership

“Creativity is about living and learning. It’s improvisational, it’s loud, it’s messy, it’s noisy—it’s all of those things. You can think about many different ways to get to an end, but seeing beyond that end is creativity. So I ask my teaching students what they will do with that student who says, ‘I don’t understand it that way.’ How are you going to get them to see beyond? In this world—now especially—it’s so very important.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is the definition of creativity?

    • A: Creativity is the process of bringing something new into existence by challenging prevailing assumptions and thinking and acting differently.
  • Q: How can creativity be developed?

    • A: Creativity can be developed through regular practice and hard work. Show up every day, make things, and keep going even on days when you don’t feel particularly inspired.
  • Q: How is creativity relevant to different fields?

    • A: Creativity is relevant to all fields as it involves finding new solutions and thinking in ways that others haven’t considered. It can be applied to problem-solving, art, research, and more.
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Creativity is a vital aspect of human existence and is essential in advancing knowledge and innovation. It involves challenging prevailing assumptions, thinking outside the box, and discovering new ways of doing things. Through regular practice and hard work, anyone can develop their creative abilities. In a world that constantly presents new challenges, creativity is more important than ever. Embrace the process of creativity and unlock the hidden secrets that lead to groundbreaking ideas and solutions.