cognitive process whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed

Creativity is the ability of a person or group to make something new and useful or valuable, or the process of making something new and useful or valuable. It happens in all areas of life - science, art, literature and music.

As a personal ability it is difficult to measure. The reason is that we don't understand the mental processes that help some people be more creative than others. Judging what is creative is also controversial. Some people say only things which are historically new are creative, while other people say that if it is new for the creator and the people around them, then it is also creativity.

Some think that creativity is an important thing that makes humans different from apes. Others recognize that even apes, other primates, other mammals and some birds adapt to survive by being creative (for example - primates using tools). Liane Gabora believes that all culture comes from creativity, not imitation. Therefore, these people say, human science should focus on it (pay special attention to it): Ethics for example would focus on finding creative solutions to ethical dilemmas. Politics would focus on the political virtues that need some creativity. Imitation would not be the focus of education. Linguistics might be more interested in how new words are created by culture, rather than in how existing ones are used in grammar.

Intellectual interests (recognized as intellectual rights or intellectual property in the law) are a way to reward creativity in law, but they do not always work very well. A good example is copyright which is supposed to pay writers and artists, but may only pay lawyers to make (imitative) arguments in court.

Creativity is a central question in economics, where it is known as ingenuity (the ability to come up with new ideas) or individual capital - capacities that individuals have, that do not arise from simple imitation of what is known already. This is separate from the instructional capital that might try to capture some of that in a patent or training system that helps others do what the individual leader or founder of the system can do. In urban economics there are various ways to measure creativity - the Bohemian Index and Gay Index are two attempts to do this accurately and predict the economic growth of cities based on creativity.

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