No Image Available

Owen Smith

Burberry Ltd

Service & Productivity Manager - Emerging Markets

Read more from Owen Smith

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

How to measure ‘Creativity’


I was recently talking to a fellow L&D person who works in the creative industry. We were discussing performance management amongst other things, and he described one of his biggest challenges as working out how to measure 'Creativity'. Coming from retail I'm used to fairly 'hard' measures - sales, profit, LFL growth etc - but his challenge intrigued me. Anybody got any suggestions? Oh, and it had the additional challenge of being a not-for-profit organisation.

7 Responses

  1. Try Mike Morrison
    A regular TrainingZone contributor, Mike has a tool for measuring creativity that I have seen in action and it is very good.

    Hope this helps.


  2. for what purpose?
    Hi Owen
    Years and years ago I worked in advertising; agencies won awards for “creative” work which looked very nice in a glass case in reception. The interesting point was made when the VT department made a tape of award winning adverts but with the actual product name removed; the quiz was “What is/was the product this was advertising?”. In the majority of cases the viewer couldn’t tell or remember who/what the advert was for.
    My point here is that creativity for the sake of creativity is potentially dangerous in a work environment.

    I know that this doesn’t answer your question but it is that deeper issue of ROI~ “If I’m going to pay someone to be creative I want them to be creative within the parameters of some sort of business benefit”. This is even more important for a not for profit organisation who probably don’t want to spend donated money (or tax-payers money) on something that looks good but doesn’t have the desired effect (presuming that they have worked out what the desired effect is).

    Interesting thought; we usually associate “creativity” with “new” yet sometimes the “creative” ideas are the ones that are old (eg wind turbines) or just honest (Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain; it does exactly what it says of the tin).
    The ultimate irony of “creativity” was the tinned s**t!

  3. A collective measure

    We have many statements that capture this:

    • You can’t rush art
    • You can’t measure innovation.
    • You can’t force creativity

    In other words, creativity on its own and for its sake is not something you can measure. Creativity can lead to new invention that will come to change the world, and even if change the world you still wont be able to measure its effect. For example, can you compare the benefits of laser with penicillin, or a transistor with Wikipedia. Its very hard if not impossible.

    On the other hand, we can always tell if a company or organisation is innovative. They tend to come up with new ideas or products all the time, while their competitors stagnate. Same is true for creative individuals. We have a heuristic ability to feel if someone is creative or artistic. Maybe putting it into a universal value is very difficult, but qualitative analysis can help us to know more.

    At the end of the day, the reason that you want to measure this creativity is because of performance management and is effectively a financial incentive. A creative individual’s work may directly lead to money, which is measurable, or may lead to money 3 years later which is far more difficult to measure now. Because of this difficulty, may be we shouldn’t be too bothered about measuring creativity and instead focus on building a creative environment where synergy leads to creativity and production of lots of new ideas and products. Go for quantity and hope that  some of these inventions will be the ultimate service or product. Some companies are doing just that and I have a strong feeling that they are not measuring each individual’s creativity input, but instead focus on enabling the whole organisation to be more enthusiastic and free to think of new ideas…

    Creativity & Innovation Training Materials

    Ehsan Honary

  4. Creativity
    Hi Owen. I have a short questionnaire that provides a simple measure of creativity potential based on personality, problem solving approach and work environment. It’s not perfect but is a base for discussion. If you’re interested drop me an e-mail.


    Phil Wheeliker

  5. Measuring Creativity

    A bit of a crude response I’m afraid but my response is based on my experience of having delivered creativity workshops when at Channel 4 and in the creative industries in general as a creative trainer and coach. The true measure in a snack and famine sector is if the creative idea becomes a working project, ideally returning revenue at some point. I also feel creativity is a bit like art – you either like an idea or not. If you like it, then you kind of hope others will like it too.

    To be fair, there are measuring tools out there, some quite useful. However, in the creative industries, the reality is that the idea is the asset adn when it generates interest and value, that tends to be one of the key measures. Crude I know. All complaints to my Mother.


  6. How to measure something that the people in the sector don’t wan

    Creativity is (or can be) very subjective, certainly in the minds of those that can and do – they almost want to keep it a ‘black art’ as people that are not perceived as creative value it… a classic we can do it for you…


    The reality is very different.

    Organisations like Knight Chapman in the UK and the Richard Byrd co in the US have used extensive research to look at the factors which encourage creativity in individuals and teams, and on the whole many of these facets are measurable, and also develop-able.

    For example Knight Chapman have a proven level A psychometric test (Creative Thinking) which measures – Fluency, Laterality, Originality In a consistent and reasonably accurate way (or it would not be classed as a level A ability test!

    The Richard Byrd Co have an instrument called <a href="">The Creatrix</a> which looks at the behaviours which lead to creativity and that can be developed to increase or decrease creativity (yes there are times when organisations need this).

    Neither of these are ‘new’ tools. They have been around for some time an proven in the field (over 30 years). For example in the case of the Creatrix, small organisations like 3M use it to develop creativity and innovation…

    The creative industry is as much an attitude as it is a skill – for example are we saying that the creative industry has exclusivity on creativity? what about product design, engineers, software writers – often highly creative people too..

  7. Can creativity be observed?

    Creativity can be considered to be a behaviour – we all know people who are creative, but how did we form that impression?  It certainly wasn’t purely on output i.e. a pretty object in a glass case or a glossy deisgn, but rather a number of indicators that the individual is or can be creative.

    If your client organisation can draw a ‘pen portrait’ in terms of the observable behaviours of creative people, then you can use all manner of assessments, such as 360 degree feedback, to identify those who exhibit those underpinning behaviours more often or to a greater extent.

    And as another poster said, creativity exhbits itself in relation to the role – sales creaivity is different from that of a software engineer, yet still observable with a different set of behaviours.  Keep your asessment role specific and you could have great benchmarks for creativity in a specific role that you could then use to recruit against and/or develop people to.


No Image Available
Owen Smith

Service & Productivity Manager - Emerging Markets

Read more from Owen Smith

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!