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If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it

The above maxim is often quoted by results focused organisations and there are varying views whether or not creativity can be measured.  However, when you look at many of the worlds leading companies it is apparent that the success of the companies is quite obviously tied to innovation, creativity and ideas e.g. microsoft and google. It is their competitive advantage over their rivals. Creativity may be difficult to measure, but it is clear that organizations that fail to understand that they need to foster a corporate culture that encourages ideas, creativity and innovation has started to go down the path leading to their demise.


Many Wikipedia writers have contributed their thoughts to the issue of measuring creativity and it is worth reading the article in full.. .  The following is a quote from that article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity.





Creativity quotient

Several attempts have been made to develop a creativity quotient of an individual similar to the Intelligence quotient (IQ), however these have been unsuccessful.[39] Most measures of creativity are dependent on the personal judgement of the tester, so a standardized measure is difficult, if not impossible, to develop.

[edit] Psychometric approach

J. P. Guilford‘s group,[11] which pioneered the modern psychometric study of creativity, constructed several tests to measure creativity in 1967:

  • Plot Titles, where participants are given the plot of a story and asked to write original titles.
  • Quick Responses is a word-association test scored for uncommonness.
  • Figure Concepts, where participants were given simple drawings of objects and individuals and asked to find qualities or features that are common by two or more drawings; these were scored for uncommonness.
  • Unusual Uses is finding unusual uses for common everyday objects such as bricks.
  • Remote Associations, where participants are asked to find a word between two given words (e.g. Hand _____ Call)
  • Remote Consequences, where participants are asked to generate a list of consequences of unexpected events (e.g. loss of gravity)

Building on Guilford’s work, Torrance[40] developed the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking in 1966. They involved simple tests of divergent thinking and other problem-solving skills, which were scored on:

  • Fluency. The total number of interpretable, meaningful, and relevant ideas generated in response to the stimulus.
  • Originality. The statistical rarity of the responses among the test subjects.
  • Elaboration. The amount of detail in the responses.

The Creativity Achievement Questionnaire, a self-report test that measures creative achievement across 10 domains, was described in 2005 and shown to be reliable and valid when compared to other measures of creativity and to independent evaluation of creative output.[41]

[edit] Social-personality approach

Some researchers have taken a social-personality approach to the measurement of creativity. In these studies, personality traits such as independence of judgement, self-confidence, attraction to complexity, aesthetic orientation and risk-taking are used as measures of the creativity of individuals.[6] Other researchers[42] have related creativity to the trait, openness to experience.

[edit] Other approaches to measurement

Genrich Altshuller in the 1950s introduced approaching creativity as an exact science with TRIZ and a Level-of-Invention measure.

The creativity of thousands of Japanese, expressed in terms of their problem-solving and problem-recognizing capabilities, has been measured in Japanese firms.[43]

Howard Gruber insisted on a case-study approach that expresses the existential and unique quality of the creator. Creativity to Gruber was the product of purposeful work and this work could be described only as a confluence of forces in the specifics of the case.


Helping companies be more creative and innovative

If you were to google the above subject you will find a host of companies claiming that they can help companies become more creative. Some of the services offered are: thinking training, creativity courses, creativity seminar, innovation training, creative thinking techniques, creative workshop, innovation sourses and seminar.  I believe that these service providers will help a client company in all these areas because the company’s directors have recognized the need to manage the organizations’s culture.


In the next post I will have a look at the topic of corporate culture and innovation.

Jack Taggerty


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