Who or what is creative? Is it a person with especially brilliant ideas? An inventor, scientist, or artist? Is it a certain way of thinking? Is it imagination, inspiration, intuition, or systematic problem solving? Is it the environment, in which problems are worked on? Is it the perceived problem itself, the starting point, which enables creative problem solving? Or is it the result, as a product of problem-solving processes? All of these have been used in defining creativity.
Person, process, press, problem, and product are integrated in basic models of creativity (see Mooney, 1958; Preiser & Buchholz, 2004; Urban, 2003a) in the United States as well as in German-speaking countries. The models' focus lies on creative cognitive processes, which are initiated by a problem. These can be subdivided into different phases. In the end they should lead to a creative product. The creative processes are influenced by general and specific knowledge; by expertise, abilities, cognitive styles, and strategies; and by creativity-relevant personality traits, motives, interests, and task commitments (cf. the componential model of creativity by Urban, 2003a). Supporting or hindering environmental conditions and creativity techniques are also important. Only the result shows if an idea can be seen as successful and creative, explaining why the definitions of creativity revolve around the final result. The central criteria, which have been adopted from the United States, are novelty, suitability or usefulness, and social acceptance. What is accepted as useful or original depends on the historical situation as well as the social context.