Innovation. It's a cornerstone of any successful business -- the
skill that makes the difference between adapting to a changing
market or joining the ranks of the obsolete.
But innovation requires creativity. And that's a problem for many
businesses where the industrial model, which says there's a set way
to respond to each specific problem, is still king.
So how can companies encourage worker creativity? That's where
Kathy Goff, founder of McGoff Creativity, thinks she can help. Goff,
a creativity consultant, has developed a test that can identify a
worker's creative abilities and help remold the company structure to
take advantage of those strengths through development of creative
Goff insists that everyone has a creative streak.
"Everyone has creativity; it's a part of everybody's life because
everybody has to figure out answers to problems that you've never
faced before," she said. "And when you have to do that you have to
Goff, joined by co-author Dr. E. Paul Torrence of the University
of Georgia, has developed a creativity test that can identify four
components of a test subject's creative ability: fluency,
flexibility, originality and elaboration.
"To our knowledge, it's the only creativity assessment for adults
that's on the market," Goff said.
The Scholastic Testing Service publishes the test.
Once the test has identified the components of a person's
creativity and the degree of ability in each area, that employee can
be grouped with people whose strengths complement his or her own,
making better use of the company's talent pool, Goff said.
In addition, Goff provides a compact disk of activities that help
employees develop the four components of their creativity. Those
activities can be conducted at an individual's own pace.
To aid the process, Goff also conducts workshops that help foster
the creative process in a company. Those sessions help participants
experience the skills of personal and collective creativity through
hands-on experience, Goff said. The sessions also focus on the
development of business strategies that encourage creativity.
The McGoff Creativity packet, which includes a book and compact
disc, costs $150, with one packet provided per person. That cost
includes the expense of scoring the tests.
The price of Goff's workshops varies based on the length of the
workshop and the number of people involved.
The test itself, which involves three activities, can be
completed in as little as nine minutes, Goff said. Scholastic can
grade and return the test within a week to 10 days.
The time involved in the total process varies from company to
company, depending on the amount of training desired and the number
of employees involved. Goff said that within three eight-hour
training periods, she can "significantly impact" the creativity of
Goff said her service helps business owners foster a more
"tolerant" atmosphere for creative people, helping those
entrepreneurs determine "ways that people with creative ideas can
"Businesses, they're interested in creativity but they really
don't know how to go about it," she said.
By providing tests that clarify creative ability, Goff said, "it
becomes a lot more clear as to what's needed for people in order to
do creative kinds of things."
An important component in nurturing creativity in the workplace
is to increase the rewards for creativity while limiting the
penalties, Goff said.
"There's a lot of failure involved in being creative. But that
failure, if it's gonna be penalized, people aren't gonna do it," she
said. "So we have to figure out a way so that taking chances and
taking risks can be rewarded."
She said businesses should offer bonuses, time off or other
benefits to employees who develop creative solutions to problems. …