Introduction To This Creative Thinking Journal (4 of 4):
This journal was written by a Creative Thinking third level student. It was the last of four journals written by the student, the others included the Creative Press, the Creative Person and the Creative Process. This journal emphysis the importance of creating a product or output as the final stage of being creative, and exhibts some of the fun necessary for creativity to flourish.
The Creative Product
In our final Creative Thinking assignment, we studied the last of the ‘Four P’s’ (Mel Rhodes, 1961) – the Creative Product. We discovered, “They [Creative Products] can be the results of a group effort or the work of an individual.” (Fox). In this reflective document I will describe our teams creative product, and briefly discuss some of the theories and tools used to try evaluate the level of creativity of a creative output.
The challenge we were assigned for this project was to create a business product solution for a fictitious derelict girls boarding school, located somewhere in Ireland on a 20 acre site. We produced a physical model approximately 9ft by 4ft, that included several elements representative of our overall solution.
Those elements included:
- Outdoor astroturf tennis courts/football pitches – represented by green material with playing areas drawn with pen
- Family cycling and adventure biking tracks – represented with earth, grass, and wooden logs
- Kayaking – represented with blue area for lake/river
- Petting farm and organic gardens – represented by toy farm animals, and green areas
- Mobile home accommodation park
- Library and heritage centre – represented with music CD’s, trophy’s and books
- Outdoor assault course
- Indoor climbing wall
- lazer tag
- Indoor play area
- Cafe/dining and gift shop
[Final Creative Product photographs removed as the copyright of the image belongs to all the team and not just the author of this journal.]
Creative Product Elements:
A creative product can be the result of both creativity and innovation, and can be tangible and intangible. Creativity is concerned with idea generating, imagination, novelty, the processes used and also promotion. Innovation is focused on the product, it’s implementation and development, as well as it’s usefulness and packaging (Fox). Referring to these guidelines, I believe our creative product was innovative in nature as its elements are not very novel. However, the combination of all the elements we used in one resort may be novel to some extent.
Four Approaches To Evaluating The Creative Product:
- KacKinnon states that for a product to be creative it must be new, useful and produced. Beyond these requirements, MacKinnon has two more optional criteria; that the product be aesthetically pleasing (well designed) and transformational (radically change peoples view of the world, e.g. Darwin’s theory of evolution).
- Besemer and O’Quin’s developed the semantic scales for evaluating a product
- Fox & Fox believe the act of simply bringing anything into existence makes it creative. The challenge then is to measure it’s level of creativity.
- Amabile and Hennessey’s Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) advocates that experts in a particular field can consensually determine the relative level of creativity of a product.
Besemer and O’Quin’s studied ways researchers have tried to evaluate creative products, and grouped them into four categories. One of these categories they call Peer Nominations. This allows peers to decide how creative a product is. Our class teams voted for the most creative product, and our product won by a landslide. Our team agreed this to be a satisfactory way of measuring creative output. We were each rewarded with bars of Cadbury’s chocolate by our lecturer [name removed], and our delicious prizes made victory all the sweeter.
There are many theories for evaluating the level of creativity of a product, but none that is conclusive or agreed upon by all. However, it is clear that the product output is key to creativity, when the idea moves form concept to reality.
- Fox, J.M. & Fox. R. (2008) Exploring the Nature of Creativity, Kendall Hunt Publishers.