Explain the Investment Theory of Creativity.

The Investment Theory of Creativity by Sternberg, creativity has six sources that require confluence:

  1. Intelligence,
  2. Knowledge,
  3. Style of thinking,
  4. Personality,
  5. Motivation, and
  6. Learning environmental contexts.

Ultimately, creativity is not about one thing, but about a system of things.


Intellectual abilities are generally acknowledged to be necessary but not sufficient for creativity. Intellectual ability consists of three aspects: the ability to see problems in new ways, the ability to recognize which ideas are worth pursuing and which are not, and the ability to persuade others that one’s ideas are creative.

Synthetic ability in the absence of the other two abilities results in new ideas that are not subjected to the scrutiny required to make them work. Analytic ability used in the absence of the other two abilities results in powerful critical, but not creative, thinking.


If one has to know, he must learn about it and if one can’t move beyond where a field is in case he or she doesn’t know where it is. The other side of the coin is that knowledge about a field can result in a closed and entrenched perspective of the person concerned. This may result in a person’s not moving beyond the way in which he or she has seen problems in the past (Sternberg, 1989): Thus, one needs to decide to use one’s past knowledge, but also decide not to let the knowledge become a hindrance rather than a help.

Style of Thinking.

Thinking styles are related to creativity (Kogan, 1973). With regard to thinking styles, a legislative style is particularly important for creativity, that is, a preference for thinking and a decision to think in new ways. To be creative, a person has to like using the kinvesting thinking style and have preference for thinking in novel ways of his choosing.

We have seen people we have the ability to forge their their own paths but simply prefer not to. Although they are wired for creative, they never turn on the juice. On the other hand, there are some people who want to come up with new ideas who have the inventing style preference but who don’t have the synthetic intellectual abilities to do effectively.


Certain personality traits such as self-efficacy, willingness to grow, risk, and overcome obstacles, ability to tolerate ambiguity, perseverance, and courage about convictions are essential for the creative process to occur.


Intrinsic motivation is defined by an individual who engages in an activity for its own sake and focuses on the challenge and enjoyment of the work, instead of engaging in the task because of factors such as promise of rewards and punishments, dictates from superiors, and competition. High levels of intrinsic motivation have been shown to increase creative potential (Collins & Amabile, 1983) and therefore are necessary in order to produce creative products.

Learning environmental contexts.

Finally, Creativity cannot occur without a supportive and rewarding environment. A supportive environment completes the creative process by accepting and recognizing products as creative. Only with support from peers and rewards for creative production (e.g. recognition, compliments), will an individual’s creativity continue to flourish. Different cultures support creativity differentially and May even have different conceptions of what constitutes creativity, so it is important to take the environment into account when assessing creativity.

Confluence: As regards components confluence, creativity is believed to involve more than a simple sum of a person’s level on each component. One, is knowledge which creativity is not possible, regardless of the levels on other components. Secondly, is motivation, third is counteracts a weakness on another component (e.g., environment). Third, interactions present between intelligence and motivation, in which high levels on both component could multiplicatively enhance creativity of the individual.

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