Each country has its own established way of testing how good we are at retaining and communicating knowledge. We measure numeracy and literacy, but with creativity there is no set measure or agreed approach. No uniform test. Given the subjectivity involved, I’m not convinced a uniform test is even desirable simply because there’s nothing uniform about it. Therein lies its beauty and its mystery.

Bruce Nussbaum, professor of Innovation and Design at Parsons The New School of Design in New York City, thinks there are characteristics we can look for in people with high creative intelligence. CQ v IQ? It’s a question that sparked Nussbaum to write the book Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect and Inspire.

What interested me was his assessment of creative competencies. A lot of what he refers to is the ability of people to recognise patterns and understand needs. It’s about being able to connect the dots. Knowing what is meaningful to people. Seeking ways to improve their lives through the skills at their disposal. Nussbaum also highlights the importance of self-awareness. Not just understanding our specific skill-sets, but looking at how we can re-frame them to work in multiple scenarios.

He also makes the valid point that we’re being wrongly taught creativity is a rarity reserved for ‘special’ brains. As a result, we are rejecting creative thinking in favour of predictability and conventionality. The safe ground. As I’ve said before, we’re seeing this routinely in our schools. The question is whether, having identified these competencies, there is a way to accurately measure them through a test. We are all capable of creativity. But ultimately, testing for it is no substitute for actively encouraging it.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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