4 Ways to Be Creative

Anna Marcinkiewicz - 4 Types of Creativity

4 Ways to Be Creative

Do you think that creativity is the domain of artists? Nothing could be further from the truth. In the book 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, Susan Weinschenk shares the work of professor Arne Dietrich. He identifies four ways to be creative, based on different brain activity.

  • Deliberate & Cognitive
  • Deliberate & Emotional
  • Spontaneous & Cognitive
  • Spontaneous & Emotional

After reading about these types, I have also had my moment of creativity (spontaneous and cognitive). I discovered that, in many cases, creativity is connected with logical thinking, analysis, hard work and emotions more than with artistic skills. So … everyone can be creative!

Ways of being creative and how to distinguish them

Deliberate & Cognitive


  • Work and discipline to repeat attempts, experiments.
  • Knowledge in different topics and ability to connect information.

Result: Invention.

Example: Henry Ford was constantly improving models of his motors. Thomas Edison with his 1,093 U.S. patents, and more abroad.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

Henry Ford

Deliberate & Emotional


  • Analysis of feelings and emotions, also more complex like your place in the world.

Result: ”AHA!” Moment.

Example: I was worried about my stomach pain because doctors couldn’t find its root. Then I discovered that it is related to stress and it passes when I calm down.

Spontaneous & Cognitive


  • “Out of the box” thinking.
  • Exclusion of conscious awareness by doing a different, unrelated activity.

Result: Flash of idea that solves problems.

Example: Isaac Newton thinking of gravity while watching a falling apple.

Spontaneous & Emotional


  • Based on emotions – no specific knowledge necessary.
  • Skill (writing, artistic, musical).
  • Unconscious.

Result: Epiphany, artistic creation, religious experience.

Example: Pianists playing without sheet music, relaying on their muscle memory.

My Ways to Be Creative

The type Spontaneous & Emotional I usually manifest by art, but also by cooking.⁠ I think it is the most natural for me. One example of Deliberate & Cognitive is the constant improvement of CVs and portfolios. I already had 100 versions. Fortunately, after many trials, I developed a convenient way of introducing changes.  I had my “AHA!” moment (Deliberate & Emotional) when I was creating a website and the section “about”. I thought that one of my main qualities that I should accent there is being tough. Fortunately, I asked my friends for a comment. Almost everyone mentioned not strength but sensitivity. This is how I started to see myself from a different perspective. It is difficult for me to find an example for the last Spontaneous & Cognitive type. However I always try to catch and write down random ideas that come to my mind – just for the future.⁠⠀

I’m really curious about your moments of the creativity. Let me know in comments!

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