Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

Big C, Little C, Howard, and Me: Approaches to Understanding Creativity

by Teresa M. Amabile

Abstract

This essay, which highlights some of the major contributions that Howard Gardner has made to creativity research, contrasts his approach to my own. While he analyzed cases of "Big C" (world-renowned creativity), I have focused on the more ordinary "Little c" (creativity manifested in the work of non-eminent individuals). This essay addresses several questions: Does it make sense to call both "creativity?" Is there a single underlying process? What sort of understanding can each approach provide, and can they ultimately yield similar—or at least complementary—answers? In addressing these questions, I aim to further our understanding of this most astonishing form of human performance.

Keywords: Creativity; Research; Learning;

Citation:

Amabile, Teresa M. "Big C, Little C, Howard, and Me: Approaches to Understanding Creativity." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 12-085, September 2013.