Research Outline

Creativity Definition and Measurement


To find scientific definitions and ways to measure creativity, as well as deep research into the topic by experts. This information will be used to teach and coach people on how to be creative.

Early Findings

Definition of Creativity

  • Definition 1: "Creativity is what happens when an individual produces something that is novel as well as appropriate, generative or influential."
  • Definition 2: "Creativity is the production of a novel and appropriate response, product, or solution to an open-ended task. Although the response must be new, it cannot be merely different; the nonsensical speech of a schizophrenic may be novel, but few would consider it creative. Thus, the response must also be appropriate to the task to be completed or the problem to be solved; that is, it must be valuable, correct, feasible, or somehow fitting to a particular goal. Moreover, the task must be open-ended (heuristic), rather than having a single, obvious solution (purely algorithmic). Ultimately, a response or product is creative to the extent that it is seen as creative by people familiar with the domain in which it was produced."
  • Definition 3: “Creativity is the ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e. original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e. useful concerning tasks constrains)”.

Measurement of Creativity

  • A common measurement of creativity is done through an activity called the “unusual uses task.” This consists in asking participants to find as many ways to use a brick or a milk carton as possible. However, not all researchers agree with the efficiency of this test.
  • Another common way to test creativity is self-report, by asking a subject to provide a list of his achievements.
  • The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking is also used to test for creativity, it consists in giving the participants a figure that is incomplete which they have to draw and build an object upon.

Scholarly articles, papers, research projects, and books to read

  • The Definition and Measurement of Creativity: What Do We Know? by Jaafar El-Murad and Douglas C. West, published in Volume 44, Issue 2 of the Journal of Advertising Research.
  • The Handbook of Creativity, by Robert J. Sternberg, published by Cambridge University Press, 28 oct. 1998.
  • The Measurement of Creativity: From Definitional Consensus to the Introduction of a New Heuristic Framework , by Mark Batey, published in The Creativity Research Journal in 2012.

Noteworthy people who speak and teach (or spoke and taught) on creativity

  • Teresa Amabile , a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School, with a Phd in psychology from Stanford University. Teresa spent her career researching creativity at work. She has written countless publications on the subject, as well as giving talks and videos.
  • Marjorie Taylor, Professor Emerita at the University of Oregon, whose field of study is the development of imagination and creativity.
  • E. Paul Torrance, a psychologist known as the father of creativity research.
  • Eric Maisel is a creativity coach who is available to give creativity coaching trainings.
  • Mark McGuinness is another creativity coach with 21 years of experience.