Creativity explained

Hello everybody,

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

And following are books that you may find as a very good reading at least

 

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Attention! Manipulation ahead

manipulation_aheadHello everyone,

  • Have you ever felt that somehow you made that decision of buying this or that faster than you wanted?
  • Have you ever wondered why you’ve seen that recent best-seller just to find out it was not so best?
  • Have you wondered why every ad looks the same and uses same language tricks?

Since there are infinite number of posts these days and we as finite creatures have finite amount of time I’ll try to be as much helpful and concise as possible in my post.

Today’s post I wanted to write quite for a long time. Its topic is manipulation, kinds of manipulation and what is the difference between influence and manipulation.

At first that’s define for the sake of this post a number of terms. That’s define an influence as an evident way of affecting a person’s behavior, thinking etc. Since this act is evident to the person that’s assume that he or she can deduce if this influence is positive or negative.

And then that’s define manipulation as a hidden way of affecting a person which is unaware of this process. This definition does not state that manipulation is negative or positive. It depends on the one who is manipulating. Though according to Wikipedia it is obvious that it is negative.

Now I want to share with you templates that are used almost at any online site that tries to sell, promote any kind of product or service. What will help us to tell that there is a manipulation ahead is an interesting and educational book by Robert CialdiniInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion‘ first edition dating back in 1984.

In his book Mr. Cialdini describes in concise and useful way with real examples a number of types of manipulations. Or as Cialdini puts it there are 6 principles of influence that seem quite reasonable.

  1. Reciprocity – People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. For example, have you ever felt to give back when got a gift from someone meaningful to you?
  2. Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. For example, try once to write your current tasks or goals in a notepad and later check how many of them came true.
  3. Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, have you ever heard that millions of people already using this wonderful product?
  4. Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. For example, titles have a magic force to them such as PhD in any kind of X-phaty etc.
  5. Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. For example, have you ever recruited one who you liked during the interview though he or she was not a perfect fit but you’ve got the intuition?
  6. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, have you heard that the selling will only last for a few days (actually lasting a century)?

OK. Now that we know how to tell a manipulation that’s practice it on a real example.

1-Reciprocity

2-Commitment

3-Social_Proof

4-Authority

5-Liking

6-Scarcity

 Main point is to tell manipulation from influence and be aware that manipulation is ahead! That’s it for today.

Thanks for your time.