First came IQ – Intellectual Intelligence, then EQ – Emotional Intelligence, but now talk is turning to CQ – Creative Intelligence.  They are finding Creative Intelligence is crucial for success and greatness in life, and is often missed just by looking at an individual’s global IQ score. In fact, research shows that IQ, EQ, and CQ are considered as separate factors, each with their own role to play.

When you look at someone like Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple,  you can see how IQ, EQ, and CQ all come together. Steve Jobs’ intelligence, IQ,  helped him develop wondrous things. But his work also showed empathy, EQ.   Jobs was able to put himself in the consumer’s shoes and set goals that satisfied consumer needs. This insight allowed him to push for designs that people wanted and needed.  But it was his Creative Intelligence, CQ, that Walter Isaacson, author of the biography, Steve Jobs, felt was off the charts. Isaacson states that Jobs was successful in his work because of imaginative leaps that were “instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. They were sparked by intuition, not analytic rigor.”

Not just for artists and musicians, Creative Intelligence — or CQ for short — is what separates the winners and losers of the business world, argues Bruce Nussbaum, author and professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. (TIME Magazine, March/2013).  Nussbaum believes  that creativity (taking original ideas and scaling them into the creation of new products and services) is the source of economic value and believes creativity is what drives capitalism.

In a recent conversation with the Boston Globe, Shelley Carson, who has a PhD in psychology from Harvard University and teaches at Harvard Extension School, seems to agree: “In the business world, creativity is now the number-one quality that head hunters are looking for in top-level chief executives. Most of the elite business schools in the country now have courses on creativity, and many Fortune 500 companies have hired creativity consultants.”

“Understanding, identifying, and nurturing the creative potential is relevant in education if we want students to be able to solve academic and personal problems and challenges, to find innovative solutions and alternatives, and to have better tools and resources for success in a fast-changing world.”  Dr. Rosa Aurora Chávez-Eakle, M.D., Ph.D. of the Maryland State Department of Education Council for Gifted and Talented, states in a recent research paper.   She goes on to say, “Creative Thinking not only enhances our ability to adapt to our environment and circumstances but also allows us to transform those environments and circumstances. Creativity has been identified as a key component for survival and resilience. If we want to teach children to become productive human beings, and more satisfied with what they do with their lives, we need to support them in the process of discovering and enjoying their creative potential.”

Roger von Oech, in his book A Whack on the Side of the Head, recounts a teacher’s exercise in examining creativity. The teacher drew a dot on the chalkboard and asked a class of sophomores to identify it. They responded with the obvious: a chalk dot. She noted that the day before she had asked a group of kindergartners, and they had come up with numerous examples of what it might be: the top of a telephone pole, a squashed bug, an owl’s eye, a cigar butt, a rotten egg, and so on. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood many of us lose the ability to be creative and the instinct to search for more than one right answer.

So what can we do to help our children cultivate this Super Power, CQ?  When Dr. Carson was asked if  every brain really has the potential to be creative; she gave a resounding “Yes!” She goes on to say, “While it’s true that some brains are naturally more inclined toward creative ideation than others, all brains have a marvelous ability to continually change and develop. Research has shown that people who are naturally highly creative can switch between various brain activation patterns more easily than those who are less naturally creative. However, this is a skill that can be practiced and learned. Although it may not make an Einstein out of everyone, practice and exercise can definitely make any brain more creative.”

Nussbaum agrees, “Creativity is an undervalued skill that anyone can cultivate.”  When asked how one would go about cultivating creativity, he offered up several ideas, “Find a creative friend to play with. See something that’s dramatically different and think about it. Disconnect every day for 20 minutes and think about what you’re doing and how you can do it better.”

Many of these suggestions can be put to use using our “Creative Mindflexors” card set, found in our RaiseCreativeKidz On-Line Store.  Whether it’s using one of our Creativity Tools, or trying out the activities we write about on our web-site, just a few minutes a day helping your child build their CQ  can help them become better at solving academic and personal challenges, and pave the way to a more fruitful and fulfilling future.

Click below for our On-Line Store.


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