There’s a great post at What Makes Them Click that explains research detailing the 4 types of creativity. Above is a matrix showing how they relate and descriptions are below:
· “Thomas Edison”
…In order for deliberate, cognitive creativity to occur, you need to already have a body of knowledge about one or more particular topics. When you are being deliberatively and cognitively creative you are putting together existing information in new and novel ways.
· “a-ha” moments
If you’ve ever had a personal crisis (relationship break-up, got fired, gone through a bankruptcy), and then had a flash of insight about yourself and what chain of bad decisions you might have made that contributed to the crisis, then you may have experienced deliberate, emotional creativity…
· Isaac Newton “Eureka” moments
Have you ever been working on a problem or idea that you can’t seem to solve… Then you go to lunch, and on your way back you get a flash of insight… This is an example of spontaneous and cognitive creativity…
…This is the kind of creativity that you think of when you think about great artists and musicians. Often these kind of spontaneous and emotional creative moments are quite powerful, such as an epiphany, or a religious experience. There is not specific knowledge necessary (it’s not cognitive) for this type of creativity, but there is often skill (writing, artistic, musical) needed to create something from the spontaneous and emotional creative idea.