Fostering Creativity: How to Develop Creativity?

What is common between singers like Shawn Mendes or Mohammad Rafi, painters like Leonardo Da Vinci, and famous writers like Ruskin Bond or Jane Austen? It is their creativity. What is creativity? Is it the ability to write, sing, or dance well, or is it a general term for anything extraordinary that is not present in everyone? Is creativity present in everyone, or are only some people blessed with a creative side? Even if everyone has the same level of intelligence, why do some people tend to be more creative than others? Is creativity related to intelligence, or can only intelligent people be creative, or vice versa?

What is Creativity?

In layperson's terms, creativity would mean the ability to produce novel ideas, but not every novel idea is functional. Psychologists define "creativity" as the ability to develop novel and original ideas that are functional and applicable in real life and solve a problem. For any idea to be creative, it should have these things to be termed as creative. Creativity encompasses originality and the extent to which an idea is applicable in real life. Creativity encompasses divergent thinking. Divergent thinking means branching out from an idea and thinking of various alternatives. Think of a tree with one trunk and many branches emerging; this can be visualized as divergent thinking. Divergent thinking has four components

  • Fluency − It describes how quickly a person can come up with different alternatives. A creative person would be able to think in many different ways in a short period.

  • Originality − How novel or original is an idea? An old idea can inspire it, but it should have a novel component.

  • Flexibility − The person should be open to various ideas and possibilities. They should not be biased toward anything.

  • Elaboration − The ability to describe and visualize their ideas and explain and predict their future course of action.

Stages of Creativity

Creativity is not the same for everyone but goes through the same process. It is a complex process, and it does not happen instantly. Creativity involves the following stages.

  • Preparation − This involves analyzing the problem and understanding where the person needs to think of different ideas. This will include listening to the problem, analyzing it, preparing how to proceed further, and setting the guidelines. In this, the person prepares to indulge himself in divergent thinking.

  • Incubation − At this stage, the person is not consciously engaging in any form of thinking, but at the back of the head, the process of creativity is still going on. Nevertheless, there is no overt act of engaging in any creativity.

  • Inspiration − Up to this point, the person has already analyzed the problem and subconsciously thought about it. At this stage, the person finds the solution to the problem. It is a kind of "Eureka" moment where the person suddenly gets an insight into how to solve that problem.

  • Verification − In this step, the person tries to verify his solutions and assess whether they will help solve the problem or not. If it is found that the solution might not solve the problem, then it can be modified accordingly and applied again.

Fostering Creativity

Creativity is a skill that needs to be inculcated from the very start of formal education. Even though creativity is imbibed in some children, it might not be the same for other children. A teacher can help foster creativity in children in many ways.

  • Give children space to showcase their creativity − As an educational institute or educator, one can provide them with the space and resources to help them showcase their creativity. For example, holding poetry, dance, and art competitions or celebrating occasions by displaying their works.

  • Design cross-curriculum lessons − one subject can be studied in various ways. If you combine history with music, this will help them learn history and also be creative in music. For example, picking out that era's famous music and musicians.

  • Use a Creativity Model − Applying creativity models will help children learn how to be creative. For example, applying Osborne's Creativity Model to find a solution to a problem involves six steps, which apply to problem-solving and creativity skills.

  • Emotional connection − research has shown that emotional connections to specific issues are more creatively presented. For example, if an art competition were held to portray sexual harassment, the kind of drawing that would be found would be very creative and artistic. Emotional attachment to social issues inspires creativity.

  • Active learning reinforces creativity, including games, puzzles, debates, and discussions. Nevertheless, creativity can only come into play when children enjoy learning. As an educator, one can give children more on fieldwork, tasks to be completed with limited resources, debates and discussions, and much more.

  • Risk-taking environment − educators can also encourage children to take risks in a safe and secure environment to foster creativity. For example, encouraging children who are reserved or encouraging children to take part in activities opposite to their interests to inculcate new skills.

  • Educators who demonstrate convergent and divergent thinking are more influential in triggering creativity. Teachers or educators are role models, and children learn through them.

  • According to researchers, creativity is a by-product of the discovery process. Creativity will result from problem-solving when one is presented with problems to which one must find solutions.

Creativity and Personality

Creative individuals are verbally fluent as they can appealingly present their ideas, can express ideas well, enjoy their independence and autonomy as they need the flexibility and autonomy to think outside the box, enjoy engaging in intellectual matters that help them broaden their horizons, have varied interests, unconventional thinking that makes them different, are open to new experiences, have aesthetic values, and are bold and courageous enough to take on new risks and challenges to experiment. According to the Big 5 Factor Model, creative individuals are high on openness to experience, neuroticism, and extraversion and low on conscientiousness and agreeableness. They are also high on internal motivation, interest, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.


Creativity is a skill that helps one think outside the box and develop novel solutions. Even though everyone has a creative side, it is limited, and many ideas can be implemented to make it go to its potential. To increase creativity, since school is the first place a child interacts with other people and most skills are taught, educators can include many activities in the classroom. Some ways in which educators can help children bring out their creativity are by giving them the space and recognizing creativity, encouraging them to take risks, demonstrating creativity themselves, active learning, developing cross-curriculum lessons, and much more. As an educator, one can build the child's creativity, which can be expanded further in his life.