Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 500,000 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join 298,220 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join over 250,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 395,613 cutting edge ideas.

The Science of Creativity

Keith Sawyer, Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations
Armida Ascano
February 9th, 2015

Related Trend Reports

Art & Design, Business, Lifestyle, Multimedia, Tech, Toys, Youth
Keith Sawyer, Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations and creator of the blog Creativity and Innovation, is a man who has more invested in creativity than the most iconic visual artist or the CEO of any Fortune 500 company. A scientific expert on creativity, the academic researcher has authored and edited 14 books -- not to mention his successful blog -- to disseminate his research for a larger audience. What one gets from a conversation from Dr. R. Keith Sawyer is a look into the true engineering of creativity.

1. How do you define innovation and creativity?
I divide creativity and innovation into two definitions. For example, some study the individual and what goes on in the singular mind. That's individual creativity. Though your idea is great, it may be an idea that hundreds have. It may be something that is not original to the world, but is original to you. Most would not consider this to be an innovation, but it is a form of creativity.

The second definition is socio-cultural. This is when an idea is seen by objective observers to be genuinely new in the world; the birth of a social rebel. With this definition, no one person can be creative all themselves because the creativity is determined by a community or a company.

You can get a lot of benefit from research on both areas. In most cases, the former doesn't result in a new business venture, but it helps to understand what's going on in the mind.

2. How do you motivate yourself or others to generate good ideas or creative input?
If you're a creativity researcher, you practice what you preach. My latest book, Zig Zag, gives more practical advice for encouraging creativity. I developed 120 hands-on exercises you can do in 5-10 minutes to enhance creative potential, which I actually do myself sometimes to stay sharp.

One of my favorites is forcing yourself to meet new kinds of people. Most people see the same faces every day -- same friends, same coworkers, same family. However, it's not just about meeting new people. You need to meet people very different from yourself -- cognitively different -- and just interact with them.

The exercise is grounded in a basic psychological finding that really dramatically new ideas are distant combinations of different kinds of thoughts or concepts in one's memory. You're more likely to have those dramatically new ideas with bodies of knowledge very different from yourself.

3. How do you create an innovative culture?
My 2007 book Group Genius explores the implications of organizations and their effect on group creativity, which is either constrained or enhanced by your environment. The book outlines five things organizations should do to ensure they're fostering creativity.

One tip is that really innovative organizations are structured (or unstructured) in a way that allows for new ideas and innovations to emerge from the bottom up. New concepts do not come from the top down. If someone at the senior level has ideas and imposes them on the organization, it will almost never work.

4. What emerging innovations or trends do you predict will have a big impact on the future?
I work in an educational environment and do research on the science of how people learn. It's very exciting research with very big implications. There is lots of time spent on the futurism of learning, and there will be lots of dramatic changes in the delivery of education in the next 10 or 20 years.

Lots of futurists talk about the Internet changing how we learn, but that change won't be driven by technology. It's people who are changing, not just their surroundings. The real story is about understanding the science of how people learn. That's what fuels the future of education.