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Creativity and Innovation: A Comparative Analysis of Definitions and Assessment Measures

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Research and Assessment

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.399.1 - 22.399.8



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Paper Authors

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Geoff Wright Brigham Young University

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Tyler Lewis Brigham Young University


Paul T Skaggs Brigham Young University

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Paul Skaggs is an associate professor and program chair of industrial design at Brigham Young University. He joined the faculty at BYU after twenty-two years experience in industry. Fourteen years of which he operated his own full-service design consulting firm. Clients included Kodak, Fisher-Price, Federal Express, Motorola, AT&T, Xerox, and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few. Paul also taught conducted creativity seminars for in house engineering groups. Paul received his B.F.A. from Brigham Young University and his M.F.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Bryan Howell Brigham Young University

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Bryan Howell received his MFA in Design from the University of Texas, Austin in 2003 and his undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Brigham Young University in 1984. He started his professional career working with frogdesign in Germany. He then worked at Dell Computer in Design and Engineering Management following which he successfully directed his own Design consulting business. He has received IDEA, ID and G-Mark design awards and has 29 utility patents. He has lived in England, Germany, Singapore, and the USA. Since 2006 he has been teaching Design courses at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

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Creativity and Innovation: A Comparative Analysis of Definitions and Assessment MeasuresThe purpose of this paper is to present and discuss the misalignment and use of creativitytesting for purposes of measuring innovation. Numerous definitions of creativity exist,which have spawned the development of various creativity tests. These tests have beenbased on accepted definitions of creativity – such as “a behavior that is imaginative andinventive” (Guilford, 1958). Innovation, in contrast, is not the same as creativity.Innovation is structured creativity focused on producing an innovative service or product.In essence it is a “practical creativity.” Although related, creativity and innovation aredistinct and different. Consequently they should use distinct and different assessments.Paradoxically, most efforts to measure innovation are based on creativity definitions andtests. This paper compares and contrasts the definitions, assessments, and instructionalpractices of creativity and innovation, in an effort to further clarify how and what shouldbe taught regarding innovation, and how it might be more effectively measured.

Wright, G., & Lewis, T., & Skaggs, P. T., & Howell, B. (2011, June), Creativity and Innovation: A Comparative Analysis of Definitions and Assessment Measures Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17680

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