Creativity - An Overview/Creativity techniques
Creativity techniques are methods that promote original thoughts by facilitating divergent and/or convergent thinking. Some techniques require groups of two or more people while other techniques can be accomplished alone. These methods include word games, written exercises and different types of improvisation. Creativity techniques can be used to develop new materials for artistic purposes or to solve problems.
Most creativity techniques use associations between the goal (or the problem), the current state (which may be an imperfect solution to the problem), and some stimulus (possibly selected randomly). There is an analogy between many creativity techniques and methods of evolutionary computation.
Randomness, or aleatory, is the introduction of chance elements. Aleatory is commonly found in music, art, and literature, particularly in poetry. In film, Andy Voda made a movie in 1979 called "Chance Chants" which he produced by a flip of a coin, or roll of a dice. In music, John Cage, an avant-garde musician, composed music by superimposing star maps on blank sheet music, by rolling dice, and by preparing open ended scores that depended on the spontaneous decisions of the performers. (1) Other ways of practicing randomness include coin tossing, picking something out of a hat, or selecting random words from a dictionary.
In short, aleatory is a way to introduce new thoughts or ideas into a creative process.
Improvisation is a creative process which can be spoken, written, or composed without prior preparation. Improvisation, also called extemporization, can lead to the discovery of new ways to act, new patterns of thought and practices, or new structures. Improvisation is used in the creation of music, theatre, and other various forms. Many artists also use improvisational techniques to help their creative flow.
Here are two significant methods:
- Improvisational Theater is a form of theater in which actors use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. Many “improv” techniques are taught in standard drama classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop.
- Free Improvisation is real time composition. Musicians of all kinds “improv” music; this music is not limited to particular genre. Two contemporary musicians that use free improvisation are Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. Through free improvisation, musicians can develop increased spontaneity and fluency.
Each type of improvisation improves the thinking and acting skill of the actor, this is made by using no practise, a similar set of techniques is called Alienation since one of its many techniques uses actors that haven't rehearsed or even read the play, improvisation is an acting skill where actors make up a storyline, start and ending on the spot and actors have to try their best to keep in character.
In problem-solving contexts, the random word creativity technique is perhaps the simplest method. A person confronted with a problem is presented with a randomly generated word, in the hopes of a solution arising from any associations between the word and the problem. A random image, sound, or article can be used instead of a random word as a kind of creativity goad or provocation.
Projective therapy is a form of psychotherapy which uses synthesis to produce original interpretation and problem solving strategies. Fiction is read in the form of a novel or observed in the form of a film. In this therapeutic technique, patients analyze the fictional work and immerse themselves in this fictional world. Rather than focusing on their problems, they analyze the author- or actors- motivation, plot-development and cinematography during the group process. By reading/viewing many consecutive works during this process, the patients are able to achieve a creative link between their own issues and those of the fictional characters. This synthesis is usually unique to each individual since it bypasses the conscious and directly accesses the unconscious by linking with semiotic objects and archetypes which populated this otherwise inaccessible part of the mental process. This technique was first used by Dr. A James Giannini at Yale University using the World of Tiers science-fiction series written by Philip Jose Farmer. A later novel in this series, Red Orc's Rage, was produced by both Farmer and Giannini. This particular novel reviewed the technique of projective therapy; the use of the creativity unleashed in this process: and the evolution of the Tiers series itself.
- AJ Giannini. Use of fiction in therapy. Psychiatric Times. 18(7):56-57,2001.
- AJ Giannini. Afterword. In PJ Farmer, Red Orc's Rage. New York, NY. Tor Press, 1990. Pp. 280-282.ISBN 0-312-85036-0