Creativity is difficult to define and there are plenty of arguments about its best definition. Which is what Led American psychologist Mel Rhodes to seek to bring all the various definitions together into one, comprehensive definition.
Like everyone before him he found this next to impossible to achieve. BUT what he did do was extract a framework for creativity out of his analysis of all the definitions.
In his 1961 paper, ‘An Analysis of Creativity’ where he stated, ‘When analysed, as through a prism, the content of the definitions form four strands. Each strand has a unique identity academically, but only in unity do the four strands operate functionally.’
It is these strands that become the famous 4 Ps of Creativity. And, according to Rhodes (and I agree by the way) all 4 of these strands influence the occurrence of creativity and are the best way to understand what creativity is. Rhodes termed them: Person, Process, Press and Product:
• “The term person, as used here, covers information about personality, intellect, temperament, physique, traits, habits, attitudes, self-concept, value systems, defence mechanisms, and behaviour.” (p. 307).
• “The term process applies to motivation, perception, learning, thinking, and communication.” (p. 308).
• “The term press refers to the relationship between human beings and their environment.” (p. 308). This notion and the word “press” are rather common in the field of education.
• “The term product refers to a thought which has been communicated to other people in the form of words, paint, clay, metal, stone, fabric, or other material. When an idea becomes embodied into tangible form it is called a product.” (p. 309).
In my short video, I dive into how this can be applied practically as a way to shift focus
from one pillar to another in order to innovate, solve problems, generate new ideas or
grow existing ideas.
We are often way to focused on THINGS or products. Economically we are addicted to
new things that need to be bought. But many improvements in process or press would
improve existing products far more than simple re-inventing the wheel with a new
I enjoy this perspective flip and I hope that you will too.
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Check out my podcast HERE!