Measuring Creativity, Diy Style
Creativity measurement is often required in order to benchmark existing competencies, monitor improvement, increase output and generally provide tangible and useable processes and structures for clients.
Individuals can measure their own creativity, the creativity levels of their group, department or organisation.
However, a fundamental lack of understanding of creativity and innovation seems to make this a difficult task for many.
First, we need to define the difference between creativity and innovation. Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation. This reveals at least two issues:
a)Creative measurement requires isolation of problems and ideas.
b)Innovation measurement requires isolation of idea selection, development and commercialisation processes.
The above means that creativity can be measured without the production of a final, commercially successful product or service. We can simply measure how good an organization is at identifying problems and generating ideas. If an organization scores relatively high at this stage (and is not producing adequate commercial output), we can then look deeply at their innovation processes.
Second, we need a measurement system. A very simple and often used quantitative system is to list criteria and rate them on a scale. A rating before and after, say, a training session or activity, will indicate tangible levels of change.
Third, we need to discern the criteria we will measure.
There are in fact a number of definitions of creativity. One of the most useful is that it is:
a)The production of a quantity of ideas.
b)The production of a number of diverse ideas.
c)The production of a number of novel ideas.
Using all of the above, we can begin constructing a quantitative sheet that lists:
b)Generation of a number of ideas
c)Generation of a number of diverse ideas
d)Generation of a number of novel ideas.
For each criterion above, we can grade, for example, from 1 to 10, before and after a training session. We can also grade before and after an activity or an idea generating technique (lateral thinking, association, linking etc), in order to gauge the exact value of each tool.
All of the above is, in fact, not rocket science.
Going a bit deeper.
Each of the above criteria can be extrapolated to draw out the analysis (number of different perspectives used to analyse problem, number of dominant ideas basing the problem etc).
To construct a much more meaningful analysis, travel down the following path:
Each environment consists of a range of dimensions that affect creativity. On an organizational level, for example, we can measure attitudes, competency make-up, organizational structure, organizational culture, team structure, knowledge mix and so forth.
These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com
Kal Bishop, MBA
You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.
About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.