Measuring creativity


Image: Stefan Krause, Germany

“Not possible,” you cry! Well, how are you going to value creativity? Is it worth doing or should we just ignore it altogether and leave it in the too hard basket? I too shudder at this point, but my research tells me that creativity can be measured, though as you know, there are many minefields to be traversed before the problem is solved. So we’ll continue on bravely, knowing that creativity is all about allowing for risk and preparing for hazards.

One thing you can do to reduce the hazards of measuring creativity, is to be clear about what we are measuring, the context in which it is to be measured (put some boundaries around the creative process and product – yes boundaries, it’s not all about freedom), explain how and why it is valued in a particular way, and what measuring stick you propose for that purpose.

An excellent strategy is to talk with those who are about to be judged and tease out what they think creativity means as applied to the task at hand. Clarify expectations. Don’t assume anything. My conception of creativity is different to yours. The baggage, knowledge and skills I bring with me will colour my take on what creativity. What is novel to you may not be novel to me, and vice versa. And novelty and originality are only one dimnension of creativity.

Food for thought:

More food for thought – three rubrics for comparison and discussion – keeping in mind the comment made by one of my interviewees : “Assessment is a real killer when it comes to creativity”. Wield that creativity measuring stick with care.


Image: Stefan Krause, Germany (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons. Picture of the year 2013, Incandescent lightbulb with the tungsten filament smoking and burning with a flame due to the presence of oxygen.

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