Where does your creativity come from

6 factors that determine your creativity

You don't have to turn the world upside down to develop creative and innovative ideas. Whether and how creative you are depends on various factors and skills. Basically, creativity is an interplay of intellectual abilities, knowledge, ways of thinking, personal characteristics, motivation and environmental conditions. These can, at least in part, be learned and consciously controlled if you know them.

Intellectual ability

Three intellectual abilities in particular are particularly creative: a) the ability to view problems from new perspectives and in new ways, b) analytical abilities to judge which of the (creative) ideas are worth pursuing, and c) practical and rhetorical Skills to convince others of the value of your own ideas.


The better people know about a topic or the more theoretical and practical knowledge they have about the elements and relationships in a topic, the better they can contribute to its further development or change through their own creative ideas. If there is little knowledge of a topic, innovations or changes may only relate to the surface and neglect important relationships that lie below this surface. The greater the knowledge about these relationships, the deeper (below the surface) ideas can go and the more detailed they can be.

ways of thinking

Mindsets are an expression of which of one's own abilities are preferred. Mindsets can therefore be creative, but not necessarily target-oriented or valuable or vice versa. Point 1 comes into play here again: Creative ideas should also have value. The ability to think abstractly, i.e. to think globally and locally and to be able to “distinguish the forest from the trees”, has a positive effect on creativity.

Personal attributes

Personal characteristics that encourage creativity include the will to overcome obstacles, the willingness to take reasonable risks, the willingness to accept ambiguities and ambiguities and self-efficacy,


Motivation in relation to creativity should above all be intrinsic in nature, i.e. come from within. This basically includes loving what you do. But it can also be possible that the creativity to change something arises from the fact that one does not love something that one has to do and is thus internally motivated to change the existing circumstances for one's own benefit and gain.

Environmental conditions

Creative minds need an environment that encourages and rewards creativity. The environment sometimes also determines creative ideas itself. That is why there is usually no environment that can be 100 percent creative. Here it is up to the individual whether and to what extent they can be restricted in their own creativity by the obstacles in the environment.


Creativity is formed by internal characteristics and external factors. However, it is not a skill that you need to get recognized by a third party. Do not let third parties restrict your creativity. Even if not all ideas can be implemented immediately and some may not be at all, collect them. The day may come when you can pull it out of the drawer, change it, develop it further or implement it. Overall, from my point of view, the following applies: "The only limits that exist are those that you set for yourself!"

Read the entire text by Robert J. Sternberg (2006): Creativity under the following link: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/classes/AY2013/cs7601_spring/papers/Sternberg_Nature-of-creativity.pdf