The Science Behind Creativity Development: How to Foster Innovation


Creativity is a highly sought-after skill in today’s rapidly changing world. Whether you’re an artist, entrepreneur, or professional, the ability to think creatively and generate innovative ideas can give you a competitive edge. But how exactly does creativity develop and what can we do to foster it? In this article, we will explore the science behind creativity development and delve into strategies that can contribute to nurturing innovation.

1. The Role of Divergent Thinking

One key aspect of creativity is divergent thinking, which involves generating multiple solutions or ideas from a single problem or stimulus. According to cognitive psychologist and author Scott Barry Kaufman, divergent thinking is the backbone of creativity. In his book « Wired to Create, » Kaufman explains that creative individuals tend to have a greater capacity for generating a multitude of ideas.

Let’s take the example of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. Edison tried over a thousand different materials for the filament before he succeeded. His ability to think divergently and explore numerous possibilities ultimately led to his groundbreaking invention.

To foster divergent thinking, experts suggest practicing brainstorming sessions, engaging in mind mapping exercises, or challenging oneself to find unconventional solutions to everyday problems. These activities encourage the mind to explore different paths, thereby fostering creativity.

2. Embracing Constraints to Find Innovative Solutions

Contrary to popular belief, constraints can actually fuel creativity rather than hinder it. When faced with limited resources or restrictions, individuals are often pushed to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. This concept, known as « constraints-driven approach, » is supported by research in the field of psychology.

In his famous TED talk titled « How Constraints Can Spark Creativity, » neuroscientist Mariano Sigman explains how embracing constraints can lead to breakthroughs. He cites the example of Picasso’s renowned painting « Guernica, » which was completed within a tight deadline due to the urgency of the subject. Picasso’s creative genius was unleashed by accepting the constraints of the situation.

By intentionally imposing limits on oneself or one’s team, you can force your brain to find alternative paths and think unconventionally. This approach has been successfully used by many innovative companies, such as SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, who set seemingly impossible goals to encourage creative problem-solving.

3. Nurturing a Growth Mindset

The groundbreaking work of psychologist Carol Dweck on mindset reveals that individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to embrace challenges and persist in the face of obstacles. This mindset, which views abilities and intelligence as traits that can be developed through effort and practice, is closely linked to creativity.

In her book « Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, » Dweck explains that individuals with a growth mindset are more inclined to take risks, experiment, and learn from failure. These qualities are essential for fostering creativity and innovation.

The story of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., is a concrete example of the power of a growth mindset. Despite setbacks and being ousted from his own company, Jobs never gave up. He continued to learn, grow, and innovate, eventually returning to Apple and revolutionizing industries with products like the iPhone and iPad.

To develop a growth mindset, it is essential to embrace challenges, view failure as an opportunity to learn, and surround oneself with a supportive environment that encourages exploration and experimentation.


The development of creativity is a scientifically studied and evidence-based process. By encouraging divergent thinking, embracing constraints, and cultivating a growth mindset, individuals and organizations can unlock their creative potential and stimulate innovation.

Remember that creativity is not reserved for the privileged few; it is a skill that can be refined and nurtured. So, embrace the science behind creativity and unleash your spirit of innovation. Thank you for reading this article and we hope it has been helpful. Don’t forget to explore other articles on and check out the books we publish, which you can order directly online.

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