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Jun
16
Rick Boersma

Ever heard of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking?

Developed by psychologist Ellis Paul Torrance (1915-2003), the TTCT (Torrance Test of Creative Thinking) uses simple exercises that test divergent thinking and problem-solving skills.

As part of Juice’s innovation training, we use a sample TTCT activity to measure the number of ideas that participants can think of in a limited period of time:

Their assignment? Write down as many uses for a tin can as possible.

Innovation insights

After participants have written their list, we then look at their output, and discuss the implications.

A full TTCT measures five attributes:

  1. Fluency—the number the ideas a person can think of in a given period of time
  2. Flexibility—the range of categories for the ideas participants came up with
  3. Elaboration—the amount of detail in responses
  4. Originality—the rarity of the idea
  5. Openness—resistance to premature closure

This test and the scales that it measures can be insightful. For example:

  • a moderately creative person will produce a few ideas that tend to be similar to one another, and similar to what the majority of participants produce; but
  • a highly creative person will often generate a larger number of original ideas that will be diverse in nature.

The usual takeaway from this is that, “Well, that just proves the point: some people are wired for innovation, and others aren’t.”

We’d beg to differ.

A test may measure innate creativity, but the results don’t equate to real-world utility.  Innovation happens in messy contexts, while a test happens in sterile isolation.

Boosting your level of contribution

Even if you regard yourself as someone who is not that naturally creative, there are two ways to help increase idea generation:

In our client work, we see individuals and teams who time and again “fail” at the Torrance test.

But then, they turn around and succeed powerfully using a structured innovation process to generate solutions that are grounded in reality—and they will make a real difference.

Learn more about the Torrance Tests of Creativity! Download Rick Boersma’s FREE innovation comic book, Innovation In A Box: An Introduction.

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Brady Wilson

Brady Wilson

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