Creativity as It Unfolds: An Examination of Temporality in the Creative Process

Gerben Tolkamp*, Bart Verwaeren, Tim Vriend, Aart-Jan Riekhoff, Bernard Nijstad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Scholars view the creative process as a sequence of activities (e.g. problem construction, information search, idea generation, and idea development) that unfolds over time. This implies that time plays an important role in creativity. Unfortunately, however, the field lacks clear and explicit propositions about the temporal aspects of the creative process and lacks suitable methodology to examine this process in detail. In this paper, we firstly outline two broad perspectives on the creative process, the linear and iterative perspectives, and translate their implicit theories of time into temporal propositions regarding the duration, frequency, timing, and sequencing of creative process activities. Secondly, we develop and use an experimental framework that enables us to test these propositions, and offer some initial insights into how the creative process unfolds. These analyses suggest 1) that some people followed a more linear approach to creativity, whereas others behaved more in line with the iterative approach; 2) that those who followed the iterative approach generated more original solutions; and 3) this difference mainly occurred because people who followed the iterative approach spent more time on idea selection and development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18-Jul-2023

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