14 July 2010

The Creativity Crisis ~ Predicting & Intervening

Thanks to a great troika of recommenders -- Joshua Schuler, Jose Gomez-Marquez, Lily Kim -- for spotting The Creativity Crisis piece by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in Newsweek. Starting a half-century ago, some 400 Minneapolis children completed a series of creativity tasks designed by Professor Paul Torrance...
"In the 50 years since [then, researchers] have been tracking the children, recording every patent earned, every business founded, every research paper published, and every grant awarded. They tallied the books, dances, radio shows, art exhibitions, software programs, advertising campaigns, hardware innovations, music compositions, public policies (written or implemented), leadership positions, invited lectures, and buildings designed. Nobody would argue that Torrance’s tasks, which have become the gold standard in creativity assessment, measure creativity perfectly. What’s shocking is how incredibly well Torrance’s creativity index predicted those kids’ creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance’s tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University recently reanalyzed Torrance’s data. The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ."
Fascinating stuff and food for thought about what a parent might do to provoke, encourage, cajol, intrigue, and otherwise inspire their children. The punchline of the story is that the creativity indicators have been dropping since 1990. There's debate about why and what to do about it. Read the piece!

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