Organizations must be creative continuously to survive and thrive in today's highly competitive, rapidly changing environment. A century of creativity research has produced several descriptive models creativity, and hundreds of prescriptions for interventions that demonstrably improve creativity. This paper presents the cognitive network model (CNM) as a causal model of the cognitive mechanisms that give rise to creative solutions in the human mind. The model may explain why creativity prescrip- tions work as they do. The model may also provide a basis for deriving new tech- niques to further enhance creativity. The paper tests the model in an experiment where 61 four-person groups used either free-brainstorming or one of three variations on directed-brainstorming to generate solutions for one of two unstructured tasks. In both tasks, people using directed-brainstorming produced more solutions with high cre- ativity ratings, produced solutions with higher average creativity ratings, and pro- duced higher concentrations of creative solutions than did people using free-brainstorming. Significant differences in creativity were also found among the three variations on directed-brainstorming. The findings were consistent with the CNM.
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