Elaboration {part of the Be Creative Series}

To solve a problem creatively, an idea must be developed and details considered before an idea is executed and implemented. This attention to detail is called "elaboration." Elaboration is another characteristic - like fluency and originality - that creative thinkers possess.  You (and your students) need strong elaboration skills.  Got it?

Elaboration - Attribute of Creative Thinking
(chalk drawing by Prof. KP and her lovely daughter, G)

Here are some tricks and tips to help you develop elaboration skills for yourself and others.....
  • Experience an activity by incorporating more senses.  What does the setting in a book smell like?   What taste does E=MC2 have?  What tactile feeling does a favorite song possess?
  • Visualize what is read or seen by creating a drawing, flowchart, or sequencing of sounds or movements.
  • Find the balance between having enough details and too many details; too many details can become overwhelming. 
  • Learn the “Rules for Converging” - not now, but in the future.  Converging is what happens once brainstorming has taken place.  I think I will blog about convergence soon.
  • For parents and educators, consider what tools you encourage your children or students to use to  manage details and plan ahead (e.g.: To-do lists, checklists, iPad apps, etc.). What tools does your child see you using? 
  • Like all creative attributes, a nurturing, non-rushed environment that encourages attention to detail and careful planning is preferred, especially in a demanding and busy 21st century.

Did you know elaborative thinking has consistently correlated higher to student achievement (like grades) more than any of the other creative attributes.  This makes sense as learning requires attention to detail and planning. 

Happy elaborating,


Did you miss part of the Be Creative Series?  Click on each link below to catch up.


  1. Elaboration is a huge part of creativity. It helps you fully understand and execute an idea after you have decided which idea to use. At my after school care program we go through the creative process with the children every year while planing our Gingerbread village for the last day of school before the holiday break. I still think the best part is destroying it though :P.

    Mike H.

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