How To Judge Creativity

By Martin Gilliard

A warm welcome to the how to judge creativity section of the web site.

Judgement and creativity is an interesting topic. On one hand you need to avoid being judgemental in order to let creativity flourish, but on the other hand at some point you have to make judgement on whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

Is Judgement OK?

So judgement is OK as part of the creative process but just not at the start of the process. Freedom from judgement at the start of the process is extremely important otherwise it would hinder the flow of new ideas.

Ideas often lead to more ideas. Start judging ideas too early and people will start to shut down their creative thoughts and soon you will have no new ideas coming into the process.

how to judge creativity

(Photo Credit: Nick Helderman)

Does Judgement Have A Part To Play In The Creative Process?

There are some schools of thought that suggest judgement should be left out of the creative process entirely but in my opinion the problem with that is you end up with nothing to really focus on. You have many ideas but no priorities.

So yes, judgement does have a part to play in the creative process. It’s just that you need to ensure that your judging is done in the latter part of the creative process. After all the new ideas have been thought up.

Judging creativity gets you to an end point. Ultimately you need to produce results from your creative exercise and it’s the judgement of what best to focus that will get you those results.

How To Judge Creativity?

When judging creativity you need to think about the ideas novelty. Just how new and unusual is the idea? Does it excite you or interest you? Is it completely new or will it only be new to the organisation or area to which it will be introduced?

You also need to consider if it’s fit for purpose. Will it work? Will it do what was intended for it to do?

Could it be improved? Consider combining the idea with other ideas that were submitted. Would this work? Would it improve things?

If the creative idea has been thought up as a result of a problem statement then how well does it solve that problem?

How feasible is the idea? In your opinion is it likely to succeed in the market place or social setting to which it will be introduced?

Then if you work for an organisation you also need to consider if it fits in with the overall strategy and core competencies of that organisation. Is it something that your organisation can handle? Does the organisation have the right skill sets and resources available to make the idea a success? Will it add value?

I like to put a cross reference grid together when judging creativity. Use a spreadsheet or a table in a word processor and put your ideas in the rows and the qualities or attributes that you want to grade the ideas against in the columns e.g. novelty, usefulness, cost, value add, overall fit, solves problem, etc. then score each idea against the attributes. In theory the idea that scores the highest you should run with. If some attributes are more important than others then consider multiplying by a weighting factor.

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