The rise of creativity
A creative challenge and a challenging perspective on creativity
Creative challenge no. 2
Developed in the 1960s by psychologist Ellis Paul Torrance, the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) sought to identify a creativity-oriented alternative to IQ testing. One of the most iconic elements of the TTCT was the Incomplete Figure test, a drawing challenge that’s similar to a game of exquisite corpse*. You’re given a shape like in the picture above and then asked to complete the image. The test was updated throughout the years and it is one of the most used creativity tests in the world today to predict creative achievement. Like the Alternative Uses test that we presented in the previous newsletter, this test also looked at fluency, originality, flexibility and elaboration. In 1984, a new version of the test was developed that eliminated flexibility as a scoring mechanism. Two new dimensions were added:
Resistance to Premature Closure: how open-minded your drawing is - this measures curiosity.
Abstractness of Titles: how original your title is (‘Brad Pitt’s Mansion’ would score higher than ‘House’) - this measures synthesis and organisation.
Up for a challenge? Print out the figures (or draw them on a piece of paper) and give yourself five minutes to see what you can turn them into. Uncommon subject matter, implied stories, humour, and original perspective all earn extra points.
The rise and rise of creativity
Once seen as the work of genius, how did creativity become an engine of economic growth and a corporate imperative? And was it always looked upon with such enthusiasm? Is creativity enough?
This article on Aeon by Steven Shapin explores the history of creativity in relation to science and business. Creativity has a written history that starts in the 17th century and back then it was seen as a divine gift, something that cannot be controlled. It evolved into what is now seen as planned creativity, with companies trying to harness its power through a scheduled dedicated time where the focus is producing something new and useful. It is not the easiest read, but it does bring together different perspectives on creativity and its role.
Steven Shapin (born in 1943) is an American historian and sociologist of science. He is the Franklin L. Ford Research Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is considered one of the earliest scholars on the sociology of scientific knowledge and is credited with creating new approaches.
David Lynch on where great ideas come from
In 2008, The Atlantic sat down with the filmmaker David Lynch as he mused about inspiration and how to capture the flow of creativity. What resulted is an animated video with a few short ideas about… ideas!
*Exquisite corpse, also known as exquisite cadaver is a game in which an image of a person is drawn in portions, with the paper folded after each portion so that later participants cannot see earlier drawings. This technique was invented by Surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when Surrealists first played the game: Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau (‘The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine’). Read more about it.