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Create better and relate better: 4 creativity styles

Even after more than a millennium, Socrates' dictum "know thyself" is still good advice, particularly for those of us working in the creative industry. Self-awareness is key to delivering the best results and collaborating effectively with others, whether you're a marketing leader, creative director, copywriter, or designer.

One important aspect of self-awareness is understanding your preferred creativity style. Arne Dietrich offers a helpful framework synthesizing four key dynamics: reason vs. emotion and deliberate vs. spontaneous energy. He breaks it down like this:

If your creativity style is deliberate and cognitive, you're all about trial and error, learning, and trying again. You prefer to have enough time for research and learning, as exemplified by Thomas Edison.

If your creativity style is more deliberate and emotion-driven, your creative production often results in "A-ha" moments. You enjoy pondering questions and considering possibilities before making decisions.

If spontaneity and focused thinking describe your creative approach, solutions tend to come while you engage in unrelated activities like swimming, playing video games, or whatever diversions you enjoy. You prefer a framework that allows you to ideate, take a break, and return to the task. Sir Isaac Newton and his falling apple come to mind.

Lastly, if your creativity is shaped more by spontaneity and emotion, you thrive on diverse ideas and skill sets. You like to explore and apply different possibilities in new and unexpected ways. Artists and musicians often embody this type of creativity.

While no paradigm or typology is perfect, understanding your personal creative style preference can help you better understand yourself and collaborate more effectively with others. It'll be a little bit easier to relate to other teammates and for them to relate to you.

By knowing your strengths and preferences, you can optimize your creative output and contribute to your team's success. "Know thyself."

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