Creative Intelligence

Creative intelligence is simply how an individual perceives the world around them (Rowe, 2004). Rowe (2004) continues to point out that any act which is new and has a useful outcome can be considered as using creative intelligence . This opens the door for many different types of creativity and allows for all individuals to be creative. While certain individuals are more certainly more creative than others everyone has the potential for creativity, and no one falls into only one of the following four styles; all individuals have a somewhat unique combination of all four. As a side note, I am also familiar with the Kolbe index, which is a validated method of “measuring instinct-based actions” (, n.d.,  1).

Rowe’s Four Styles of Creative Intelligence (2005)


Intuitive intelligence is characterized by experience and is results driven. Many of the top CEO’s are known for intuitive intelligence and are guided by years of experience. These people generally do not think outside the box, but have so much experience that decision-making is very easy. Intuitive leaders are who most people would identify with as the crusty C level executive, the grizzled veteran of many business battles. Through self-confidence and the knowing the facts behind the issues, intuitive leaders are usually talented strategists with little use for indecision.


Innovative intelligence is characterized by systems and data. Innovative people are drawn to precision and very specific problems. Albert Einstein could be thought of as a quintessential innovative creator. Innovative people are known for their single-mindedness and Einstein certainly fit that profile. Einstein always had a clear vision of a specific physics problem and could also visualize the solution (The Nobel Foundation, n.d.). This is similar to other giants of innovative thinking like Nikola Tesla. Innovative leaders have the hardest time motivating and influencing the workforce. Innovative leaders, being so single-minded, tend to work on a problem to the exclusion of others. While talented tacticians, many died poor due to lack of strategic planning skills.


When most people think of creativity, they probably think of artists and musicians. Thus, imaginative intelligence is the most known of the four types. People with imaginative intelligence can clearly visualize solutions and most of the notable “outside the box” ideas are products of this creative intelligence. Creative intelligence is characterized by leadership and artistic tendencies. Rowe (2004) mentions Winston Churchill as an example of this type of mindset; at once imaginative, inspirational, and a prolific writer and artist. Other imaginative leaders would include Rembrandt, Richard Branson, and Benjamin Franklin. By the shear appearance of getting ideas from thin air, imaginative leaders motivate the workforce through awe and talent.


Inspirational intelligence is characterized by selfless service and commitment to social change. Jesus Christ would certainly be classified in this mindset. He could deliver soaring oratory and his passion for change led to many followers and a legacy lasting for more than 2000 years. He, like others after him, was willing to die for his convictions. A visionary, Jesus Christ led a social, moral, and legal rebellion, much like Martin Luther King, Jr. would do in the 1960s. Inspirational leaders can motivate a workforce through passion and selflessness.

Mental Models

How the brain processes and ultimately uses to make decisions about data is called a mental model (Wind & Crook, 2005). Several forces throughout all phases of life can influence the how an individual envisions the world around them. Wind & Crook identify five forces that impact a person’s mindset.

Five Forces

Many forces have an impact on the way a person’s mental model is influenced. Five forces have been identified by Wind & Crook (2005) and include; (1) education, (2) training, (3) influence of others, (4) rewards, and (5) personal experience. An individuals experience and past failures and successes become ingrained in the psyche. In order to avoid a past mistake or recreate a previous success, the individual relies on these old mental models.


Education may influence the mindset the most broadly, forming the foundation of an individual’s mindset (Wind & Crook, 2005). In the broadest sense, education is the common glue that binds societies and communities. In the United States and some other western cultures, a liberal arts education is the norm. This gives the recipients a similar background in which to view life. Contrast that with cultures like Cuba which use the Russian system of specialized education. In these countries students are given only a minimal amount of schooling in general education; the majority of class time is spent on the chosen, or chosen for them, subject.


Using the example above, individuals in the liberal arts based schools eventually start getting trained instead of getting educated whereas individuals in the specialized school systems reach this point much earlier. This may occur after high school, or maybe in the upper division classes in a university. Training is a much more visible force on the mindset. A musician is going to have a different way of seeing the world than an economist. A danger exists for training to stagnate and not allow for changes needed in life.

Influence of Others

Family, friends, experts, and mentors, all have an influence on an individual’s mindset (Wind & Crook, 2005). This influence can be negative or positive. Late night infomercials may influence some to believe that all doctors are quacks, and only the huckster’s medicine is reliable. Other influences are media outlets and publications. Certainly listening to talk radio or talking heads on the television is going to affect an individual’s view of the world. The influence of family and friends, while possibly changing over time, also plays a critical function, especially in the formative years, in mindset. One of the reasons that friendships tend to come and go is related to the influence of others. People like to be around like-minded people and when mindsets change, so do all but the strongest friendships.


Individuals want to be accepted. They also like to feel special. Rewards influence mindset by appealing to the part of the mind that likes pleasure. Peer acceptance is a pleasurable and fundamental goal for most individuals. Monetary rewards for some action are also pleasurable. Striving for rewards influences mindset and through it morals. Rewards can seem so enticing that crimes may be committed to receive them, or the quest for acknowledgment can overwhelm even the most upstanding person. Rewards can also shape good behaviors. A business goal, when met, may reward a bonus or extra time off.

Personal Experience

The reliance on experience can create both opportunity for success as well as failure. Experience can be used to apply knowledge not necessarily related to the problem at hand. This application of cross-experiential knowledge creates a new vision or approach to solve the problem at hand. Experience can also be limiting by allowing an individual to only see what they already known. New ideas are not apparent and the same old, possibly inefficient, processes are used.

References (n.d.). Kolbe A™ Index - Measures instinct or conative-based actions - Retrieved September 11, 2008, from

Rowe, A. J. (2004). Creative intelligence: Discovering the innovative potential in ourselves and others. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

The Nobel Foundation (n.d.). Albert Einstein biography. Retrieved September 11, 2008, from

Wind, Y., & Crook, C. (2005). The power of impossible thinking: Transform the business of your life and the life of your business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.