The Drive to Create

In order to create, a man must be dissatisfied. The creative individual is a driven man. He has an inner compulsion to bring something new into the world, to make the world different. This is as true of the scientist as of the artist or poet.

The accelerated development of the sciences and the useful arts has built up a pressure to increase not only the numbers of research workers but the very pace of creativity. A flood of theories, systems, and panaceas has engulfed both the research worker and the administrator. Most of these proposals are based on unproved assumptions about the nature of the creative process. There are, however, studies now being made that give some hope of providing the quantitative data which would help answer two basic questions: How can one identify potential creativity; and what environments will stimulate the creative process? One of the most promising of the current investigations is being made by Professor Morris I. Stein of the Department of Psychology of the University of Chicago, who is studying both psychological and sociological factors in relationship to the creativity of industrial research chemists.

A different approach to the problem is that of Professor John E. Arnold of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is attempting to stimulate creativity by varying both the intellectual and physical environment of his students. In some of his courses science fiction is required reading. Students are asked to design household and industrial equipment for beings with unusual numbers of fingers, arms, or legs, on worlds with gravitational fields and atmospheres very different from our own.

After the questions about identification of creative people and the proper environment for research, the problems of incentive and reward are probably the most important. Studies of these are under way with coöperative effort by universities, industry, and professional societies. In many respects incentive and reward are more difficult to analyze than the other factors involved in creativity. The basic motivation is internal, but this inner drive may be diminished or aborted if the individual does not receive what he considers adequate compensation and, more important, recognition.

A specialist in petroleam technology, Harold Gershinowitz joined the Shell Oil Company in 1938. For a number of years he has been in charge of exploration and research and since 1953 has been president.