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Creativity: Untapped Potential

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By Elaine Guerrazzi | January 13, 2020

One of the reasons, I believe, my career path led me to work in higher education research is that I ask lot of questions and am observant.  It is interesting to consider that these two characteristics are also common descriptors of a creative person.  Cherry (2019a), Ossola (2014), and Sutton (2017) support the idea that research and creativity go hand in hand.  

According to cognitive psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, creativity can be broadly defined as “the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile.” Creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and approaching situations. This isn’t a skill restricted to artists, musicians or writers; it is a useful skill for people from all walks of life. 

In October I posted a question on my personal Facebook page.

“What is Creativity? Have you ever thought about how creative you are??”

As you might expect there are several “tools” to measure creativeness.  I am on the fence about if we “can trust” such tests.  However, for the fun of it I thought I would complete three of the “how creative are you” quizzes (see Notes below). Being a “gatherer of credible information” I also researched the idea of creative potential which led me to the writings of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  He is noted for his work on happiness and creativity with research specifically focusing on how people access their creative potential.  Cherry (2019b) and Hoage (2013) summarize the 10 characteristics of creative people outlined in his book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People (ppg. 59-73).

Creative People Are:Description
Energetic, but FocusedBoth physical & mental energy; enthusiastic about tasks
Smart, but Also NaiveFlexibility & fluidity of ideas; consider various perspectives; sees associations; imaginative & curious
Playful, Yet DisciplinedLighthearted while maintaining perseverance; determination
Realistic DreamersDaydreams grounded in reality
Extroverted and Introverted
Social & quiet; interactive with others for inspiration & reflect in private
Proud, Yet ModestRespects others work; thrive on personal successes but focus on the next project/idea
Not Weighed Down by Rigid Gender RolesDominance and sensitivity cross common gender roles; strengths of both genders are highlighted
Conservative, Yet RebelliousEmbraces the past yet seeks ways to improve and modify; conservative traits while taking risks to innovate
Passionate, but Objective About Their WorkWillingness to be critical of own work and seek constructive input from others
Sensitive and Open to Experience, but Happy and JoyfulCreative outcomes is the reward for struggles of the process (internal and external feedback)

Creativity Quizzes I Completed

How Creative Are You by Uzzi from Kellogg School of Management, created a short quiz (40 items) as a self-directed measurement tool.  This tool determines “if you have the personality traits, attitudes, values, motivations, and interests that characterize creativity.”

Test My Creativity by AULIVE measures personal creativity.  AULIVE is business focused collection of “hands-on tools and a systematic method designed to demystify and systematize the space of creativity, innovation and value creation.”

The Creative Types test from Adobe Create is an exploration of the many faces of the creative personality. Based in psychology research, the test assesses your basic habits and tendencies—how you think, how you act, how you see the world—to help you better understand who you are as a creative. 

**These instruments and results are all free and without supplying personal information.  
**These instruments do not provide in-depth description of reliability and validity although all refer to research supporting the creation.

A Summary of My Results

I initially completed the Uzzi assessment in October. Categories range from noncreative to exceptionally creative. I scored in the very creative category. I would not have described myself as “very” creative. I conducted my own “test-retest” process and took the assessment again in November and December. All three times I scored in the very creative category.

My score on the AULIVE was in the “normal” range. Description of AULIVE categories for what is a considered a “normal” range based on metrics are:

Abstraction The ability to abstract concepts from ideas
Connection The ability to make connections between things that don’t initially have an apparent connection
Perspective The ability to shift ones perspective on a situation – in terms of space and time, and other people
Curiosity The desire to change or improve things that everyone else accepts as the norm
Boldness The confidence to push boundaries beyond accepted conventions. Also the ability to eliminate fear of what others think of you
Paradox The ability to simultaneously accept and work with statements that are contradictory
Complexity The ability to carry large quantities of information and be able to manipulate and manage the relationships between such information
Persistence The ability to force oneself to keep trying to derive more and stronger solutions even when good ones have already been generated

I was particularly interested in the Creative Types quiz since it referred to other credible research.  The eight type categories include artist, thinker, adventurer, maker, producer, dreamer, innovator, and visionary.  

My results placed me in the Thinker category.  This assessment provided a more in-depth explanation of the results than the other two.  

The Thinker
Ever the perpetual student, you experience the world as an endless opportunity for learning, discovery, and truth-seeking.

My creative strengths….intellectual curiosity, ability to find and create meaning
My untapped potential…bridging theory and practice, applying ideas to real life
My ideal collaborator…the Adventurer.  The Adventurer has high levels of creative energy, spirit of curiosity and play. The Adventurer is the perfect counterbalance to the Thinker.

My Thoughts on the Results

**The results were similar (no outlier) which adds credibility to the process.
**The results supported the perception I have of myself although Uzzi outcome placed me in a more creative category than I had thought. This outcome (after test-retest process) indicated to me that I have not tapped my potential.
**The results are in alignment with other self-assessments I have completed (Myers Briggs and StrengthFinders).
**There was overlap of my results with the Csikszentmihalyi categories in the table above.

Answering the So What Question

Knowing or at least gaining some insight about my characteristics and strengths will help me explore my creative potential.  I believe my desire to form new connections, associations, and relationships between ideas and people support the purpose of Blooms to Blossoms.  I hope that I can continue to find creative ways to present relevant and interesting ideas to my readers.  The results will guide my future work.  

Creativity = Imagination + Ideas x Connection.

The personal journey to create yourself

It is in…

…singing that you discover song
…writing that you discover story
…painting that you discover art.

It is in the doing that you discover yourself.
~LeAura Alderson, Cofounder-iCreateDaily

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