Attempts to define creativity, predictably, have begun with attempts at some sort of measurement. "Let's count the number of ideas produced by a group under the following control conditions, either singly or in combination: number of participants, activity of participants, temperature of the room, ethnic, age, gender, and hierarchical diversity, etc., etc."
Ideas are, of course, only ideas. Unless they lead to a new product, a new business strategy, a new ad campaign, nothing has been created.
"So let's measure the success of the new products created by the group in terms of number of sales, net revenue, longevity in the market, etc."
But then we'd have to account for a number of external variables, ranging from the weather to interest rates, none of which have anything to do with the creativity we're trying to measure.
And what about writers, who work alone? Do we measure their creativity by how long it takes them to write a book? By how many books they sell? Are we able to compare one writer's creativity with another's? Say, David Sedaris's creativity with William Shakespeare's?
Creativity is sort of like the sky. We know that it exists, so we've given it a name. But we don't know how to define it. What properties does it have? What limitations? Where does it originate?
To be continued.