How to Develop Creativity

Enjoy learning how to become more creative.

Little girl with a chalked butterfly behind her, a symbol of positive change and creativity.

(Yuriy Golub /

Creativity is all about making something new. Being creative requires an ability to look at the world with fresh eyes and an open mind. If you wish you were more creative, the good news is that creative ability can be developed.

In fact, you may be more creative than you think. An interesting study, published in June, 2021 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that creative people are able to generate more divergent ideas. As a result, psychologists developed a test that offers insight into verbal creativity. You can take the DAT test online now, then read on!

Convergent versus divergent thinking
Now that you have your score, it is interesting to learn more about the test. According to the study, there are two psychological parts of creativity: convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is more like problem solving and arriving at one answer, while divergent thinking is a kind of free association that results in various solutions. The premise is that creative people come up with words that have greater distances between them.

In the test, researchers  developed a way to measure divergent thinking by listing words with single word answers that are as different as possible from each other.  This measures a person’s thought flexibility and originality in a simple test, although the researchers admit that this only measures a small part of creativity. 

Developing your creativity
Many people think creativity is a gift that you are born with, but according to a study published in PLOS One, it is a trait that can be improved. Researchers in the Netherlands offered a one-year creativity training program to 133 students and compared results to a group that did not participate in the program. The course taught a six-step cycle of creativity which included using focus, convergent thinking, divergent thinking, detached thinking, stop thinking, and sleep. After just three months, researchers observed an increase in idea generation as well as divergent thinking.

A similar approach that helps develop creative thinking is the Six Hats Technique developed by psychologist Edward de Bono. The theory posits that If you approach a problem from six different ways, you may come up with more ideas than having looked at it from one or two perspectives. Some of these include looking at an issue emotionally, objectively, negatively, and positively.

Similar ways to develop creativity include brainstorming and exploring a variety of solutions, as suggested by Verywell Mind. Keep your ideas in a creativity journal, then look back at them for future inspiration. Another approach for developing inspiration is to seek out new experiences; visit a local museum or listen to new and unfamiliar music.

A creative mind is important for the 21st century, as suggested in the PLOS study, and many educators are calling for a more creative approach to learning in schools. Since you may exercise your muscles at the gym to keep fit, do the same for your creativity and keep your brain in shape. Be curious, relax, and have fun as you embrace a fresh and dynamic way of expression.

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