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Innovation&: Creativity

Updated: Oct 9, 2023


Image: Creative moments often happen outside the formal workplace e.g. in the shower

Creativity is a fascinating quality of the human mind that enables us to generate innovative ideas and tackle problems in new ways. But what exactly influences our creativity? In this blog, we will explore different aspects of creativity, focusing on personality, subconscious, expertise, domain knowledge, amount of ideas and filter, and presentation to domain experts and reflection.


Personality plays an important role in the development of creativity. Research has shown that certain personality traits, such as openness to experience, curiosity and tolerance for uncertainty, correlate with higher creativity. People with an open and flexible mindset are often better able to generate unconventional ideas and push existing boundaries. In addition, high emotional stability can enhance creativity, as anxiety and worry can hinder the ability to freely develop the mind. A simple test of divergent thinking can be found here.

Subconsciousness and consciousness

The interplay between the subconscious and conscious mind plays a significant role in creative processes. While the conscious mind thinks actively and rationally (linearly), the subconscious mind is responsible for spontaneously processing and linking (parallel) information at a deeper, less conscious level. Often creative breakthroughs are achieved at the moment of relaxation or when the conscious mind shuts down, when the subconscious mind has room for unusual connections and ideas. The conscious mind, in turn, can then analyze and develop these ideas.

Place and time

The influence of place and time on creativity is significant. Often, activities such as walking, jogging, showering, or driving that are based on automaticity can foster new perspectives and unconventional connections. These activities allow the subconscious mind to generate ideas away from traditional (branch) thinking. By consciously integrating such activities into our daily lives and giving them space, we can expand our creativity and find innovative solutions. Likewise, a creative and individual environment plays a factor. This does not mean that we have to start right away with hiring an interior designer and launching innovation labs (with table soccer, ping pong tables or slides), but rather giving people the opportunity to design the place themselves. Be it e.g. matching furniture from 2nd hand trade, getting objects from home or setting up a simple workshop #byebyecleandesk. Place and time in combination with automatic activities are a fertile ground for creative inspiration.


Expertise, i.e. the specialist knowledge and skills in a particular field, has a significant influence on creativity. Creative people often have a deep familiarity with their field and understand the existing rules and conventions. Their expertise enables them to consciously break with these rules and find new approaches. At the same time, too much expertise can also become a bottleneck, as it can be more difficult to break away from established thought patterns and adopt new perspectives.


Domain knowledge refers to the knowledge of customs in a particular field, system or industry, be it art, science, music or technology. Creativity is often supported by a deep understanding of the domain, as it makes it easier to identify problems and find innovative solutions. The deeper the domain knowledge, the greater the potential for creative breakthroughs. However, it is also important to think outside the box and draw inspiration from other disciplines to gain new ideas and perspectives.

Quantity of ideas and filters

The amount of ideas that are generated is another factor that influences creativity. Creative people are often able to generate a variety of ideas (divergence) and filter them consciously or unconsciously (convergence). The ability to be idea-rich while making effective choices is critical to selecting and developing the best ideas. An overly critical filter can limit creativity, while an overly lenient filter can lead to a flood of useless ideas.

External presentation and reflection

The presentation of creative ideas to domain experts and subsequent reflection play an important role in the validation and further development of the ideas. Through exchange with experts, ideas can be refined and placed in the context of the domain. Feedback from others enables blind spots to be identified and new perspectives to be adopted. Only an innovation that is accepted and applied by the domain has a chance of survival. In addition, reflecting on one's own ideas and examining one's own creative process is an essential part of creativity. By analyzing one's own thoughts and actions, new insights can be gained and one's own creativity can be further developed.

Conclusion - Creativity in Innovation

Creativity is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by a variety of factors. Personality, the subconscious, expertise, domain knowledge, the set of ideas and the filter as well as the presentation to domain experts and reflection all play an important role in the unfolding of creativity. By understanding and targeting these factors, we can strengthen our own creativity and find innovative solutions to the challenges of our time. The study of creativity remains an exciting field that continues to offer us new insights and inspiring insights.


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