In summary this post is about creativity and whether or not it can be developed. That`s define ‘creativity’ as an ability to propose novel ideas, ways of doing things, new approaches to tackling everyday issues.
It is natural to ask whether creativity can be developed or is it an inborn gift that is present or not. To spare debates let’s assume that creativity though inborn to some extent can be developed by exercise and practice. This is a topic for research on its own but everyday experiences corroborate our assumption.
Here comes the question:
Have it happened to you to feel the feeling of being not the silliest person in the world but at times when there was a need to create some novel idea, image it was pretty hard to do it? Good example of this is drawing exercise when there is a need to draw on free topic. It may be somewhat painful experience since good ideas do not seem to come out.
I felt this too until in about 2005 I came across very interesting article on hard science-fiction and how it is written by Pavel Amnuel a science-fiction writer and physicist. His approach to science-fiction was unconventional. He wrote about scientific ideas as a core for any serious Sci-Fi writing. The article talked about levels in Sci-Fi ideas and methods of developing creative thinking by reading Sci-Fi and analyzing underlying ideas and trying to develop them if possible. Amnuel also mentioned well known Soviet Sci-Fi writer Genrikh Altov who had influenced him a lot and was his friend and teacher. It is thanks to Altov influences that Amnuel started to work on a Manual for developing creative imagination.
Well. What hard science-fiction has to do with creativity you may ask? And the answer is that there is a direct link between them. As you may testify yourself Sci-Fi has an ability to expand and develop our imagination by letting us imagine worlds that are non-existent. But to gain the most of it this process may be guided instead of been spontaneous during reading.
There are a number of well known methods or approaches to developing creativity if you will. Certainly you’ve already heard about brainstorming the method that facilitates generation of ideas by group of people. This method was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in the 1963 book Applied Imagination. About the same time period Synectics came to scene. Its three assumptions according to its inventor William J.J. Gordon are
- The creative process can be described and taught;
- Invention processes in arts and sciences are analogous and are driven by the same “psychic” processes;
- Individual and group creativity are analogous. (taken from Wikipedia)
Edvard De Bono‘s method of hats that described in his book Six Thinking Hats is worth mentioning too. It is about thinking of problems while wearing different hats that symbolize different mindsets.
But let’s return to the beginning of the post and mentioned earlier creativity development by elaborating on science fiction ideas. I personally find this approach most interesting and engaging.
OK. What literature we may find on the subject. It happened that Genrikh Altshuller (pen-name Altov) in addition to being a Sci-Fi writer was also an inventor of a methodology or Theory of inventive problems solving (TRIZ) or ТРИЗ in Russian. This methodology description deserves post on its own but for now it is sufficient to know that Development of creative imagination is an integral part of it.
If this information is of interest to you, you may find additional information in following books. Some of them in Russian, English and Hebrew.
This one is for free and is a bit of self-promotion
- Translation of Altov’s hard Sci-Fi Scorching Mind novel into Hebrew by Andrei Cheremskoy and Israela Becker.
And following are books that you may find as a very good reading at least
- Books in English by Genrikh Altshuller at Amazon.
- Hard Sci-Fi books in Russian by Pavel Amnuel.
- Altshuller’s And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared book translation into Hebrew by Yehuda Stupniker.