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Research Essay on Creativity Models

April 2014
Toshihiro Enami
Senior Fellow



Much is expected of the implementation of Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s new growth strategy, the third and final arrow of his eponymous economic strategy, Abenomics. The new strategy contains three keywords: Challenge, Open, and Innovation. Japan must create new services and products in this globalizing world if it hopes to achieve economic growth. Innovation has never been needed more than it is now.

However, very little research has been done on the mechanisms of creativity, i.e., the manifestation of ideas and invention, the primary parts of innovation, and words such as “flash of inspiration” or “intuition” are often used. This study seeks to identify the mechanisms of creativity.

First, by laying out the results and limitations of previous research done on creativity in the four contrasting fields of psychology, science, economics, and human resource development, I confirmed that there is no current model which can effectively define the mechanisms of creativity. Examining the two contrasting views of creativity in previous works, i.e., whether it is something “mysterious” or “logical”, I concluded that explaining this dichotomy was the key to understanding the phenomenon.

Next, under the assumption that “Eureka!” events of creativity are in fact the acquisition of new concepts, I borrowed concepts from Saussure’s philosophy of language and created a model of creativity using the originally defined concepts of “segmentation”, “sense map”, and “object”. This model has the advantage of being able to explain both contrasting schools of thought and resolve the apparent contradiction by treating non-verbalized things as abstract concepts.

Finally, I tested the effectiveness of the model by using it to interpret creativity-related phenomena identified in previous studies as well as the resultant discourses. Putting aside the issue of whether or not the model is correct, I believe that it gave very convincing interpretations and seems to be an effective model.

This model will be useful in the following ways:

・It will produce ideas more efficiently than other ad hoc or superstitious methods;

・Ideas can be created by anyone, not only an exclusive group of people;

・It can lead one to the exit when one is lost in a maze looking for creative ideas;

・It shines new light on the relationships between creativity and information processing.

More Information

  • The full text is unavailable in English for this report.
    The original Japanese text is here [2258 KB].