“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:
- James Kaufman (professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut) shared a few thoughts on assessing creativity earlier in the week on the P21 blog.
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.
- Association of American Colleges and Universities
- Creativity and innovation for dance – McCaffrey & Schmid (2002)
- Australian Assuring Graduate Capabilities website criteria for assessing creative thinking, judged from beginner to expert: acquiring competencies; taking risks; solving problems; embracing contradictions; innovative thinking; novelty or uniqueness; connecting, synthesizing, transforming; ending with exemplars of creativity in this context.