"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.", Theodore Levitt

Project Outcomes

Find a creativity technique
New creativity technique

Synopsis of the Creativity Audit Methodology

Studies in modern literature have showed that there is not a widely acceptable creativity audit model and there are objective reasons for this. It is known that the complexity  of  an  organisation, the  nature  of  its  business  operations and  of  its activities differ to a large extent. Thus, there is not a unique, detailed model of creativity audit that could be applied with the same effectiveness for a broad range of organisations. Having as a starting point the above, priority was given in describing only the main stages of the methodology. This model is shown in diagram 1.

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Diagram 1: A general creativity audit model (main stages)


The suggested implementation stages are analysed in the following paragraphs.

Stage 1: Planning the creativity audit
It is the first and most important stage aimed to adopt the creativity audit in particular organisational needs (contextualizing). It is highly recommended to top management and to the creativity audit expert or team to review existing strategy like current strategic, business & marketing plans, etc. Only then the creativity audit expert or team will manage to take into consideration the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are shaped in the internal or in the external environment of the organization under study.

Stage 2: Data Collection
Data collection in creativity audit is mainly done according the following ways:

  • Use of primary data (after a possible update) existed in other departments like the H.R.M unit (categories of staff degrees, working experience, etc).
  • Data collection with the use of a special survey tool designed to audit creativity level. It requires planning of interviews with a representative sample from staff or sometimes and where this is feasible full census (interviews with all staff).

The groups of questions in the creativity questionnaire should reflect the factors and the variables, which were identified during the first stage of creativity audit (see stage 1). As in any survey questionnaire, the groups of questions addressing the same factor or variable are typically presented and organized in different sections. In any case, extra attention should be given in practical issues influencing survey success like:

  • Length of questionnaire (it shouldn’t take long time to respondents)
  • Effort on guarantee sincere answers
  • Very good formulation of questions and correction of syntactic errors
  • Use of suitable ranks in the answers
  • Avoiding repetition of questions

To reduce time spent from company’s staff, questionnaire responses (data collection) are suggested to be given by employees themselves and not through interviews.

Stage 3: Data analysis
The  suitable  statistical  methods  for  data  analysis  in  all  surveys  are  selected according the type of data created during data collection. As in most surveys, a questionnaire includes questions asking for both quantitative and qualitative data. In the next paragraphs, some characteristic examples for both data cases are given for better understanding.

Quantitative data:
A characteristic example of quantitative data in social research is opinion gradation (personal stances). In this case respondents are asked to respond in a statement or question  aiming  to  asses  a  variable  that  influences  an  important  element  of knowledge or knowledge process (i.e. “To what extent do you feel free to express or share an idea?”). All potential answers in questions of this nature are usually given in Likert scales from 1 up to 5 or from 1 up to 7. I.e. 1= by no means, while 5= very much.

Qualitative data:
This category mainly includes specific job elements like the position, the department/sector of an employee or a factory worker, the work type (administration, executive, personnel, technical, etc) and a lot of other such qualitative elements. The role of this data type is very important for further analyses because we can use them to group all data in further groups and compare other quantitative measures for each. Such regroupings help the team conducting the audit to better focus to problems in specific populations and undertake (if needed) corrective actions.

Stage 4: Report
The creativity expert or team presents to the management board or managerial personnel  the final results and the final action plan-suggestions to support the initial actions in the organization. This final stage of creativity audit, due to its importance, is proposed to include two further phases.
In this first phase the primary action plan (initial suggestions) of creativity audit expert or team is presented to the management board/managerial personnel. They give feedback on the action plan. Thus the presence of all managerial personnel (unit managers) and a follow up discussion is highly recommended.
In the second phase that follows, the final action plan is presented to managers/director. Generally speaking the second/final plan will be an improved version of the first being more realistic, feasible and acceptable. It is also emphasized that the plan should be revised in regular time intervals of at least one year with creativity audit repetition because creativity as a business asset has great dynamics.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication
reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any
use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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