A musician composing an orchestral symphony who struggles to originate a melody for the scherzo must use creativity to solve the problem.
An engineer designing an electricity circuit for a tower who finds that it collides with the water pipes must also use creativity to solve the problem.
While one might think the type of creativity used in solving these problems differs—with the musician versed in chords and arpeggios and the engineer in voltages and linear algebra—one would be wrong, says a new study from the University of South Australia. According to study authors, the creativity toolkits used in the arts and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are actually very similar.
Fundamentally, both rely on being open to new ideas, employing divergent thinking, and maintaining a sense of flexibility, they say.