In this episode of the Idea to Value podcast, we speak with a cornerstone of the creativity research field, Prof Dean Keith Simonton. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology at the University of California, Davis as well as author of some of the most important books and hundreds of pieces of research around genius and creativity.

In today’s wide-ranging interview, we speak about the history of Genius, how creative geniuses produce their best work, and what hope there is for the “normal” people who do not consider themselves to be a genius but want to be more creative.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • 00:01:30 – Dean’s history in creativity research and how it brought him to studying Geniuses
  • 00:05:00 – Why there are Golden Ages of multiple Geniuses, interspersed by periods of lower creativity, and the importance of predecessors
  • 00:10:00 – The difference between craftsmanship and creativity
  • 00:12:30 – The requirement for financial support for these creative eras, but even unlimited money cannot buy creativity
  • 00:17:30 – How civilisations become more creative as they become more open to ideas from other civilisations. For example: ancient Japan, but also within individuals with openness to new experiences
  • 00:22:30 – What is a Genius? They need to be intelligent enough to master the demands of their field, which differ between domains, and be fascinated by the domain
  • 00:26:00 – How much of our creativity is determined by our genetics compared to our surroundings? Nature vs Nurture. And how your genetics end up influencing how you design your environment
  • 00:32:00 – How people perceive their own creativity when they compare themselves to influential creative geniuses
  • 00:36:00 – How people go through creative phases throughout their lives, where they exhaust what they can say in a certain style
  • 00:38:30 – Creativity is not easy, even for a genius. It is a hard work, and you have to be willing to fail.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Did you know that scientific evidence shows your creativity decreases over time

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.