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Creative Excellence Model

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

The behaviors, knowledge, skills, and proficiencies to build creative competency.

The Creative Excellence Model is a guide to help creative leaders, teams, and organizations build sustainable creative capability. Grounded in real patterns and insights gleaned from some of the most creative teams and organizations globally, it formalizes behaviors from a cluster of knowledge, skills, abilities, and motivations. It prescribes the desired performance patterns required by diagnosing and evaluating performance and talent.

There are five learning stages of creative leadership: Fledgling, Journeyman, Expert, Innovator, and Artist; there are also four distinct behaviors, knowledge, and skill clusters: leadership, aesthetics and identity, industry and cultural insights, and craftsmanship. These make use of three proficiencies: discovery, invention, and innovation.

The Creative Excellence Model is a collection of skills and competencies identified as necessary for success in creative leadership positions. It comprises a set of principles defining what creative leaders must know and do. It incorporates practices essential for all levels, from Fledgling to Expert to Innovator to Artist. It holistically addresses leadership at the individual, team, and organizational levels.

It contains definitions and examples of each competency, particularly where it deals with different performance levels for each of the expected behaviors that contribute to advancement. Using a competency-based approach to leadership, organizations and teams can better determine and grow their next generation of creative leaders by instilling which behaviors, values, skills, and competencies are required, valued, recognized, and rewarded in their performance management systems.

The five learning stages require a balance of people at each level, with a majority at the expert stage. People will move through the stages in different times throughout their careers.

The five stages are:


Acquiring knowledge and know-how.


Applying insight and contributing independently.


Guiding through domain expertise.


Innovating through breakthrough execution.


Leading through artistry and personal mastery.

Learn about how to become a influential creative leader and apply the Creative Excellence Model to holistically address leadership at the individual, team, and organizational levels.

Buy now: "Creativity Without Frontiers" at Amazon


Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

Unknown Origins. All rights reserved © copyright 2021.

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