Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Seven Characteristics of the Creative Employee.

How to Find Good Employees:

On my post of February 18th of this year, we talked about the role of managing stupidity in the success of any organization.  "Stupidity Management" refers to the real need of a business to know the difference between routine tasks that must be completed by rote and those tasks that require innovation and fresh thinking.  

Every business has a need for discipline in tasks that must be performed the same way, each and every time.

Every business has a need to creative thinking and fresh ideas on certain other tasks or problems, just not every task of problem.  

The Hunt for the Creative Individual
There are certain jobs in every organization where you, the owner, need original thinking.  Or perhaps you're running a business that lives off original thinkers.  An advertising agency is a business where the company's assets walk out the door every day at five (ish).

Professor Øyvind L. Martinsen at BI Norwegian Business School has conducted a study to develop a personality profile for creative people: Which personality traits characterise creative people?  In his study Martinsen identifies seven paramount personality traits that characterise creative people: 

  1. Associative orientation: Imaginative, playful, have a wealth of ideas, ability to be committed, sliding transitions between fact and fiction.
  2. Need for originality: Resists rules and conventions. Have a rebellious attitude due to a need to do things no one else does.
  3. Motivation: Have a need to perform, goal-oriented, innovative attitude, stamina to tackle difficult issues.
  4. Ambition: Have a need to be influential, attract attention and recognition.
  5. Flexibility: Have the ability to see different aspects of issues and come up with optional solutions.
  6. Low emotional stability: Have a tendency to experience negative emotions, greater fluctuations in moods and emotional state, failing self-confidence.
  7. Low sociability: Have a tendency not to be very considerate, are obstinate and find faults and flaws in ideas and people.

Among the seven personality traits, associative orientation and flexibility are the factors that to the greatest extent lead to creative thinking.

"Associative orientation is linked to ingenuity. Flexibility is linked to insight," says the professor. The other five characteristics describe emotional inclinations and motivational factors that influence creativity or spark an interest in creativity.

The Hunt for the Creative Individual
"An employer would be wise to conduct a position analysis to weigh the requirements for the ability to cooperate against the need for creativity," Martinsen believes. He also emphasises that creative people may need help to complete their projects.

"Creative people are not always equally practical and performance-oriented, which is the reverse side of the "creativity medal."

Story Source:  Øyvind L. Martinsen. The Creative Personality: A Synthesis and Development of the Creative Person Profile. Creativity Research Journal, 2011.


  1. Is there something that can help profiling people based on the traits as it can be a great tool while accessing the people during interviews?

  2. For a simple model of consumers in the U.S. economy, visit: www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/ustypes.shtml.

    The company offers what they have branded the Values And Life Styles system that breaks our economy down into eight segments. SBI also offers a UK version of this, but you must contact an SBI representative to get an overview.

    The eMail address is: euroinfo@sbi-i.com

    Hope this helps, and best wishes.


  3. You are right, Jim. Creativity in the workplace is needed, but it should also be coupled with discipline to finish the job on time. A good team of people specializing in recruitment can do this probing on the any applicants. Most creative geniuses have the tendency to slack, but not all the time. Thank you for sharing :-)
    Adina Mauch

  4. It seems, at least according to this study, the creative types need someone to stay on them to finish what they start. It's part of the personality type.

  5. What does it take to be a WOW professional? Here are five signs of a WOW professional according to the experienced managers at Bayt.com: http://goo.gl/KIkwbJ