According to conventional wisdom, creativity is something done by cre- ative people. Even creativity researchers, for several decades, seemed to guide their work by this principle, focusing predominantly on individual differences: What are creative people like, and how are they different from most people in the world? Although this person-centered approach yielded some important findings about the backgrounds, personality traits, and work styles of outstand- ingly creative people,’* it was both limited and limiting. It offered little to practi- tioners concerned with helping people to become more creative in their work, and it virtually ignored the role of the social environment in creativity and inno- vation. In contrast to the traditional approach, the Componential Theory of Cre- ativity assumes that all humans with normal capacities are able to produce at least moderately creative work in some domain, some of the time—and that the social environment (the work environment) can influence both the level and the frequency of creative behavior.
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The Componential Theory of Individual Creativity