I'm going to extend the conversation about creativity by proposing that everyone, including the people we observe or talk to in doing research, is creative. We have seen this in practice over and over again. We have identified several levels of creativity which I summarize here. (There is more in a paper that can be found at http://www.ualberta.ca/COMSPACE/coneng/ ... apers.html
The most basic level of creativity is doing. The motivation behind doing is to accomplish something through productive activity. For example, people have told us that they feel creative when they are productively engaged in everyday activities such as exercising or organizing closets. Doing requires a minimal amount of interest. The skill requirements are low as well.
The next level of creativity, adapting, is more advanced. The motivation behind adapting is to make something one’s own by changing it in some way. People might do this to personalize an object so that it better fits their personality. Or they might adapt a product so that it better fits their needs. We can see adaptive creativity emerging whenever products, services, or environments don’t exactly fit people’s needs. Adapting requires more interest and a higher skill level than doing. It takes some confidence to go “outside of the box.”
The third level of creativity is making. The motivation behind making is to use one’s hands and mind to make or build something that did not exist before. There is usually some kind of guidance involved, e.g., a pattern, a recipe, or notes that describe what types of materials to use and how to put them together. Making requires a genuine interest in the domain and experience in it as well. People are likely to spend a lot of their time, energy, and money on their favorite making activities.
The most advanced level of creativity is creating. The motivation behind creating is to express oneself or to innovate. Truly creative efforts are fueled by passion and guided by a high level of experience. Creating differs from making in that creating relies on the use of raw materials and the absence of a predetermined pattern.
So everyone is creative at some level. We are probably all creative at each of these levels across the various domains in our lives.