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Winter 2016

Journal Title

Journal of Genius and Eminence

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Post-print: the version of the article having undergone peer review but prior to being published


creativity, inspiration


Leadership Studies


Creativity is valued as an essential human ability. For much of recorded history, the ability to produce creative outcomes has been seen as a gift bestowed rather than as a capacity commonly existing in humans. In more recent times, however, research has suggested that there are a number of personal attributes commonly present in individuals who have established a reputation for being creative in their respective fields. Findings from a recent research study support this assertion. The eight participants in this study were high-achieving and highly creative individuals who had received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation award for creativity. They work in a range of fields including physics, agriculture, computer technology, human rights, conservation, pharmaceuticals, environmental policy, and music. Each is a founder of either a for-profit or nonprofit organization. Findings suggested that the study participants rely on specific habits and practices in their pursuit of creative outcomes. Particularly important are (a) the ability to take a big picture view of a situation, (b) the tendency to combine disparate ideas, and (c) the capacity to live with ambiguity during the creative process.


Original citation: Hennessy, L. A. (2015). High-level creativity for nonprofit and for-profit organizations: Inspiration or perspiration. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 1(1), 61-71.