How Can We Measure Creativity? And Should We Even Try?
Can we measure creativity? How would we go about doing so? Such questions are explored in a new working paper published by the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, reports Erik Robelen of Education Week:
“In the paper, researchers at the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester in England put forward a definition for creativity focused on five ‘core dispositions.’ They field-tested their work in a dozen schools. A creative mind, they say, is:
• Inquisitive (wondering and questioning, exploring and investigating, challenging assumptions)
• Persistent (sticking with difficulty, daring to be different, tolerating uncertainty)
• Imaginative (playing with possibilities, making connections, using intuition)
• Collaborative (sharing the product, giving and receiving feedback, cooperating appropriately)
• Disciplined (developing techniques, reflecting critically, crafting and improving).”
Robelen asked Robert Sternberg, an expert in intelligence-testing from Oklahoma State University who has studied creativity extensively, what he thought of the notion of a “creativity index”:
“We don’t want an index that trivializes creativity, such as by counting numbers of activities that, on their surface, sound creative, rather than exploring what is actually done in the activities to encourage creativity,” said Sternberg. “We don’t want to encourage quantity over quality of activities.”
I’m skeptical of efforts to measure creativity. I do like the framework that these researchers have come up with, though—especially the way they’ve conceptualized creativity as a set of “dispositions,” or orientations toward the world and toward one’s creative work, rather than as something you “get” or “achieve.” (Read more here.)
What do you think—does “inquisitive, persistent, imaginative, collaborative, and disciplined” fit your idea of the creative mind?
(I chose an image of Pablo Picasso to accompany this post because, after visiting the stupendous Picasso museum in Paris, he is my ultimate ideal of the creative mind.)