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We can define creativity as innovation. While for many the word most immediately conjours associations with artistic endeavours and writing, it has also been linked to science as far back as the muses of Ancient Greece. Today, creativity forms the core activity of a growing section of the global economy - the creative industries - generating wealth through the creation and exploitation of intellectual property or the provision of creative services.

Much praised in principle, much derided in fact, popular legend sees creativity serves as a refuge for the outsider with imagination. Some of the ambivalent attitude to creativity may stem from seeing the creative process as parallelling or suggesting the ingesting of drugs to generate visions, or simply from viewing creativity as eccentric behavior outside of the mainstream.

The word "creativity" bears an implication of constructing a novelty without constituent components ex nihilo (compare creationism), as opposed to (say) alternative theories of artistic inspiration which posit the transmission of visions from divine sources such as the Muses.

Compare invention.

Professional "creatives" do not have a monopoly on the concept of creativity. Problem solving in general may require a creative mind. Employers may value lawyers, accountants, people in sales, and others more highly if they can use a "creative" approach to their work. The phrases "thinking outside the box" and "thinking outside the square" express this idea.

Is it possible to learn how to be more creative? Several approaches have been proposed, ranging from the psychological-cognitive such as lateral thinking initially developed by Edward de Bono, to the highly structured such as TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving and ARIZ an Algorithm for Invention, both by the Russian scientist Genrich Altshuller

Some scientists term the scientific study of creativity creatology, but this term is not in widespread use.

See also: design, visual arts and design, fine art, creative accounting, Flow (psychology).