Measuring Creativity

Creativity.  An immensely valuable and important skill.  Yet strangely intangible and wildly unpredictable.  A rather uncreative person can have a brainwave and create something truly spectacular.  A very creative person can go for days,  weeks even,  only producing mediocrity.

I am fascinated by creativity and how we may teach people to be more so.  It is fun,  rewarding and goes on to have a definite positive impact on the world.  So two questions arise:

  • How may we better teach and foster and unleash creativity?
  • Is it possible to measure creativity?

The first question I am answering through practice.  My teaching is centered around this idea,  my website strives to encourage and promote creativity.  I bring it into the spotlight where-ever possible.  This is an evolving process,  a creative process.  Creativity is novel in that to teach creativity more effectively we need to be creative.

The second intrigues me immensely.  While I would be perfectly happy to be able to develop creative ability well and not have any means to measure it,  having the ability to measure it would be beneficial.

The search for a means to measure creativity,  if nothing else,  would lead to a better understanding of what creativity is.  People have been in search of this for a while already.  The Torrance test in one such attempt.  Like other tests,  it can determine if you are particularly creative or not very creative but that is about it.

Here are some questions I’m tossing around at the moment.  Over time they will develop and with any luck will lead to some tangible outcomes.

  • Is it in fact possible to put a quantitative value on something that is qualitative?
  • Would it do more harm than good to achieve this?
  • Would it be more appropriate to categorise creative ability instead?
  • How do you accurately measure something where someones performance can vary wildly day to day?
  • If you take creativity to be creation that has value then how do you assign value?
  • Can we create a test that cannot be gamed (eg.  doing many IQ test has been shown to improve your marks in said tests without necessarily improving your IQ)?
  • What motivates someone to be creative?
  • If creativity is a frame of mind,  can we improve the ability of people to attain that frame of mind?
  • Instead of a 1 dimensional scale would a multi-dimensional scale be more appropriate and what should the dimensions be?
  • Can creative ability be harnessed as a motivator?

If you have any thoughts it would be great if you left us a comment.

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