5 Traits to Increase Creativity

5 Traits to Increase Creativity

5 Traits to Increase Creativity

  • On June 2, 2016

By Melanie Bindon, Art Gym Denver

Creativity is an increasingly important skillset for one to thrive in the modern world. As technology and communication accelerate the rate of change, so too must the creative applications of these new ideas and technologies grow. We must accommodate quickly or risk falling behind. From business to the arts, creativity is the momentum behind innovation. But how do you increase creativity?

Focus on these 5 Creative Traits:

  1. Association: The cognitive skill which allows one to make connections across unrelated ideas, questions or conflicts.
  2. Question: The ability to ask “what if, why, and why not”. This allows the artist to fly in the face of the status quo and focus on what really matters.
    • If you have a problem, state it as a question
    • Try to ask Socratic (or open-ended) questions to help distance yourself from the here and now
    • Ask “what is another way of looking at this?” to create multiple perspectives on the same issue 
  3. Observe: Notice and assign importance to the smallest details, especially in regards to other people’s behaviors.
    • Start with little things. For example, try going to a park or other public place with a pen and paper. Simply observe those around you- how are they walking? What are they wearing? How do they interact? Write down details you find interesting without filtering too much.
    • These sorts of teensy details help you become present in the moment and mindful of what you are doing. Being mindful allows you the clarity to make space for new ideas and emotions. Check out these other benefits of mindfulness.
  4. Experimentation + Failure = Growth: Cultivate a willingness to try new experiences and explore unfamiliar worlds. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, embrace that there is no such thing as failure, only learning.
    • Usually we are most invested in our first idea even though it isn’t the best one. It’s hard to throw away a possible solution when we’ve already spent time and energy on it.
    • Instead, try to think of your ideas as iterations to improve your artistic practice- come up with as many solutions to the problem as possible, fail rapidly, adapt, enact another solution, and repeat. Often times, those with the best ideas have the worst ones as well.
  5. Collaborate: Work to connect with people from whom you can learn and grow.
    • Meet with people of differing backgrounds to learn about things outside of your knowledge domain.
    • By building partnerships, you are able to innovate more rapidly and craft solutions to problems that haven’t arisen yet. 


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“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity”

– Charles Mingus