Creativity is a buzz word these days. Educators and CEOs are both talking about innovation. People say they want schools that celebrate, reward and even develop the skill of creative thinking. Ken Robinson is now a household name. Books like The Tipping Point are best-sellers, which encourage people to make connections between events and behaviors they would not otherwise consider. Ted Talks dedicates an entire channel to creativity. Check out this great playlist on Creativity. So, what is creative thinking?

First stop in defining anything…well, what does our dictionary say about creativity? states:

“Ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. The term generally refers to a richness of ideas and originality of thinking. Psychological studies of highly creative people have shown that many have a strong interest in apparent disorder, contradiction, and imbalance, which seem to be perceived as challenges. Such individuals may possess an exceptionally deep, broad, and flexible awareness of themselves. Studies also show that intelligence has little correlation with creativity; thus, a highly intelligent person may not be very creative. See alsogeniusgifted child.”

How to define creative thinking on Artist StrongLet’s highlight the key words in this definition.

  1. “New” – The first time we are seeing or doing something. Novel.
  2. “Imaginative” – Our use of our mind, subconscious or with awareness, to develop ideas.
  3. “Skill” – Something you can practice or develop.

This word skill is especially important to me. We’ve discussed before at Artist Strong whether art is a skill or a talent. Skill is something everyone can develop. Some may be better at one skill or another but everyone  has the opportunity to learn it.

The rest of the definition moves into notions of personality and identity. While I’m not sure I would argue creativity is solely a human trait or quality, this definition implies we find it an integral part of human nature. It helps us understand what it means to be human? How much more fundamental can we go than that?!

How to define creative thinking on Artist Strong

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Google Images search for creativity immediately serves me a cliched image (irony, anyone?) of a light-bulb glowing. That is our most used metaphor for a new idea. So, within creativity we need to acknowledge that it is bound by idea and concept. Creativity lies in the conceptual realm.

So, what is creative thinking? It is associated with words like new, imaginative, skill, and idea. But, what does this mean? How can we measure this “skill,” which by its very nature is filled with subjectivity?

I went to workshop by NESA on developing rubrics and since then I’ve been thinking about developing a rubric for creativity or for creative process in the arts. As you all know I’m a goal sett and well, how do I develop my creativity if I don’t have a tool to measure my progress? As luck would have it, while doing work in my other life as educational administrator, I was given the very tool to do this!

Creative Thinking Rubric by AACU

Creative Thinking Rubric by AACU

This VALUE rubric was developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. What an awesome starting point for defining and measuring creative thinking!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you feel this rubric is missing any category or quality of creative thinking? How can we use this to better our creative practice?