Date of Award


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Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

Creative Studies, M.S.


International Center for Studies in Creativity


Dr. Scott G. Isaksen

Department Home page

First Reader

K. Brian Dorval


This was a study about creative process. This project dealt with visual descriptions of creative process, in the form of drawings, that were expressed by ordinary people including students, laborers and professionals. the objective for this project was to create, as a product, a variety of graphic images that represented the way people naturally described their creative processes. The goal of this project was to support the expressed need for using graphics more deliberately to broaden the approach to understanding Creative Problem Solving (CPS). The Isaksen and Treffinger (1985) version of CPS, and its six stage graphic depiction, was the basis for this research.

A graphic analysis was performed on 163 individual drawing of innate creative process. A complete set of data, which included drawings of creative process and completed Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventories, was collected from the 136 subjects over three separate studies.

Many interesting similarities and differences in the way people illustrated their own creative processes were observed. Six formats for graphically describing personal creative process were identified and categorized which included: flow chart, numerical order, process metaphor, storyboard/comic strip, snapshot and combined. The most common format used to describe process was the flow chart which was predominantly constructed with text in abstract geometric shapes. This format tended to communicate information about the organization and interrelationships of steps, stages and actions in creative process. A continuum emerged in the configurations of the flowcharts where natural processes were graphically categorized as linear, orderly and targeted at one end, and complex, random and spontaneous at the other. Most of the people described their natural creative process somewhere in between the two extremes, containing varying degrees of both.

Eight graphic examples of innate creative process were graphically designed for this project that represented some of the ways people arranged steps in creative process when using flow charts. These graphic examples are presented and discussed.

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