Study finds value in teaching creativity

Creativity is not a skill just for writers, painters or musicians, according to a recent survey focused on the value of thinking creatively in careers beyond the arts.

The Adobe study, “Creativity and Education: Why it Matters,” surveyed 1,000 full-time salaried workers, age 25 or older, with at least a four-year college degree. The majority of respondents — 68 percent — said creativity isn’t a personality trait, but a skill that can be learned. And 71 percent said creativity should be taught as a class.

NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton offers a class once a month for its employees to enhance creativity.

“Everything we do is about creativity and innovation,” said Steve Gaddis, head of the Game Changing Development program.

The focus of the program is to find ways to transform future space missions by reducing cost and increasing efficiency, which Gaddis said cannot be done without creative thinking.

Gaddis said one class exercise links traditional engineering approaches to developing technologies and asking the “What ifs.” The students are told to come up with a dozen or more ideas to solving the problem, no matter how outlandish, he said.

“You never know when that a-ha! moment is going to come,” he said.

Area educators agree that learning creative thinking can be helpful beyond the arts.


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