icon facebook

Congratulations! You have taken a competency test
for creative thinking ability

Developed by Arthur Gogatz

Associate Professor

Founder, 18th Horse International Consulting Group

© copyright 2014



The test measures your level of creativity based on 5 sections which comprise the “creative attitude”. Your overall score will determine your current level of creative ability while the scores in each section will show where you are in that area. It is possible to score high in several areas and not in others.


The test is a valuable tool for coaching and training because it indicates the areas you need to invest time and effort in order to further develop; the areas in which you are strong, and finally the areas where you are poised to make breakthroughs.


The Basis for the Test:


Creativity is not a gift or a talent, it’s an attitude


Creativity is an attitude, and that attitude can be attained by anyone. This means creativity can be developed, nurtured, coached and taught. This is not the older, traditional view, but it is the consensus of most of the people who are working and doing research in creativity and innovation today.


“Creative thinking is not a talent. It is a skill that can be learnt” Edward de Bono, British medical doctor, author of books on Lateral Thinking and Brainstorming.


“Creativity is just the ability to see the connections between things” Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Corp.


Creativity is not a talent that some people are born with while others are not. If this were true, only some children would be creative. In fact, almost all children are highly creative.


Ninety percent of children are highly creative, while only two percent of adults are


That means people lose their creativity as they grow up, as they go through adolescence. Some people are able to keep the creative attitudes they had as children into their adult lives and then expand and develop them. Most people cannot. Most people lose their creativity at a fairly young age, bump into it occasionally after that and never really do much with it.


The good news is that you can regain the full creativity you had as child if you really want to.


“The greatest discovery of every generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind” Albert Schweitzer, French medical doctor, theologian and missionary

What Schweitzer meant is that people can change their lives by changing their attitudes. It makes sense once you also realize that our attitudes are pretty much the only thing in our lives we do have control over.


This test measures creativity in five areas or zones which comprise the creative attitude. They are:


  • Importance of freedom. The desire to challenge things
  • Staying childlike, maintaining a sense of wonder, curiosity and urgency
  • Willingness and ability to go beyond social rules
  • Avoiding assumptions
  • The ability to consistently see other perspectives and points of view


These areas are characteristic of the “creative attitude”. They are linked, and there is a special connection between the first three areas. The 4th and 5th areas are to a degree dependent on the first 3, although it must be noted that certain people who have been trained in logic may be good at avoiding assumptions without necessarily being able to consistently trespass social rules for example. It should be noted that Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, children’s stories which also deal with the creative process, was a mathematician and a logician and wrote books on logic in addition to the “Alice” series. Both Alice books are symbolic of the passage of the highly creative child into an adult.


The scoring for this test is on a numerical basis, accompanied by a textual evaluation for each of the sections.


A question of degrees


How far is far? It’s relative. It’s always a question of degrees. You might be able to run a full marathon, yet when you’re sick, the bathroom at the other end of your apartment may well be pretty far.

Some people who take this test may get disappointed if their score is not what they anticipated. Remember that according to statistics very few adults are highly creative. The other factor is of course a question of degrees. Someone may play a sport super well and be the best player on a team, while at a different level of competition they may be far from the best.

The textual evaluation of this test is based on the numerical score. If your score falls into a borderline area between two groups, you should read the evaluation for both groups, in order to get a clear idea of your placement within that section.


What does each section measure?

Section One: Freedom. The desire to challenge things


This section measures your attitude toward security and freedom. It also measures how much you feel you need to be in control and how much you want and need to challenge the things around you.


The Russian novelist and philosopher Dostoyevsky once said that what man fears most is freedom. When patients in mental institutions are given a large sheets of blank paper and then asked to write their name anywhere on the page, most patients write their name in one of the corners, close to edge. They symbolically can’t bear to be in the middle of the page, with nothing around them, without shelter, without a refuge, and without security.


Security comes in many forms, including not taking a lot of initiatives. If you tell adults to draw a picture, most look up and ask for instructions, “what do you want me to draw?” they frequently ask.


Highly creative people seek out and cherish freedom and they are not afraid of it the way most people are. This section of the test refers to your attitude toward “the box”. Innovators talk a lot lately about “going outside the box”. The box represents many things, but mostly it represents security. The need for security and the need to be in control is one of the biggest obstacles to creative thought.


A child controls very little in life (as compared to adults) and so it is easier for them to let go of the notion that they have to control things and this in turn stimulates the creative attitude. That’s why consultants usually take adults out of the office, and out of the management (control) context, when they need to brainstorm ideas.


An adult tries to shrink his or her world, (and the world is getting bigger and faster and more complicated all the time) to a size they can control and that becomes a very small world. When you need your creativity you have to cope with a VERY big world and find links between so many variables within that world, variables which seem to have no connections, but in fact really do.


The need for security prevents us from regaining the creativity we had as children. Sure we all need certain basic security, shelter, food, health, people to love us, but in reality we all carry our personal ideas of security around with us.


The box represents close-minded thinking. It’s what keeps us from recognizing and then seeing other perspectives and points of view. It’s what keeps us closed in upon ourselves, keeps us focused on our own problems and lives. When we’re too focused on ourselves we don’t respond to outside stimuli and ideas. “The box” is where we live, who we associate with and what we do. The box is our security blanket. It’s our habits, our customs, and our routines. It’s whatever doesn’t challenge us. The box represents our comfort zones.


It’s easy to venture out of the box sometimes. The key is to be able to do it consistently and do it to the point where you’ve gone so far away from the box that it’s no longer a possible refuge. The highly creative person however, never loses track of the box completely because creativity is all about connecting everything to everything else.


Creative people can circle the wagons in times of danger or sail on blues seas if the weather is good. They don’t feel they need to control everything, because, like children, they realize they can’t.


Click here to Check score section One


Section Two: Staying childlike, maintaining a sense of curiosity and urgency


This section measures your attitude toward how much you accept to be childlike, how inquisitive you are and how much you try to live for the moment, as opposed to putting things off. This area of the test also measures your willingness to, as former Apple Corp. Steve Jobs said, “stay foolish”.


It has been said that if you can keep a lot of the characteristics of a child into your adult life, you will be creative.


  • Curious
  • Impatient
  • Adventurous
  • Blunt, (saying what you think)
  • Idealistic
  • Easily bored
  • Exhibitionistic, (wanting to perform instead of watch)


These are adjectives for highly creative people, but they are also adjectives which apply to children. In a classic experiment a few years ago with children and adults, they first took the group of adults and randomly divided them into 3 sub-groups. Each group was given 5 minutes and told to “make as much noise as possible”. The first group of adults made noise. The second group made more noise and the last group made the most noise. When they did the same experiment with the kids, each group made equal amount of noise. Adults test the waters, asking, “Can I do that, is it okay?” Adults have been trained to be cautious, while children plunge. The highly creative adult can do both, because the highly creative adult is both child and adult.


Highly creative people are childlike adults who can and do question things they encounter and who have a sense of wonder, who try to look at things with fresh eyes, but they are also people who are not so completely wrapped up in themselves that they only see things one way. The highly creative person walks through life with a sense of wonder and then tries to connect what they encounter (often an idea) to something else in order to change and benefit the world.


This area of the test also measures how much you live in the present as opposed to past glories. Children live in the present more than adults do. Children don’t have a huge past and they don’t try to control the future the way adults do. It helps them to look at things in new ways, which is what creativity is all about. This section of the test measures a person’s enthusiasm for life. Highly creative adults, like children, can’t wait for a new day to begin so they can go out and discover and do things. Carpe diem! Seize the day! Grab it and never let it go.


When you need to use your creativity, you have to be able to look at the things in your world as if you were looking at them for the very first time. You have to be able to look with the eyes of a child, and understand with the heart of an adult.


This section measures how much of your childhood creativity you retained, how deeply buried that creativity is within you and how much work you need to do to regain it.


Click here to Check score section two


Section Three: Willingness and ability to go beyond (and challenge) social rules


This section measures your willingness and your ability to go beyond and trespass social rules when you need to be creative. Social rules are rules and guidelines we learn as we grow up. They are what society tells us is accepted and what is not, they’re not laws, but norms on how to live, how to act and how to think. Social rules tell us that we should suppress our curiosities; that we shouldn’t say what we think and feel because it might offend someone. We can’t go up to people we like but don’t know and talk to them and so we wait for the right moment, but most of the time that moment never comes.


How many times have you seen a Hollywood film and the plot of the film was that “John” was in love with “Mary” and Mary was in love with John, and neither one of them knew it but WE, the audience, we knew?  The difference between a Hollywood film and reality is that in the film John and Mary end up together while in reality life is a series missed opportunities.


Highly creative people are not stopped by the net of social rules that stops everyone else when they need to use their creativity. They can approach people they don’t know. They say more of what they think and feel. They ask questions and challenge things. They turn things upside down. The average person is afraid to turn anything upside down, while the highly creative person can think and do anything legal.


If you think about it, that’s really dumb. Of course, we’re all capable of doing anything legal, aren’t we? Aren’t we? Do anything legal? Highly creative people can, but most other people can’t. It’s legal to turn things upside down, to question things to challenge things, it’s legal to ask!


Why is it important to be able to think and do anything legal?


Because when you need your creativity there can be no barriers, no borders, no taboos and no limits. If you limit yourself, you won’t be able to see other perspectives and points of view and won’t be able to make connections and come with ideas and solutions.


Leonardo de Vinci’s advice was “to develop a complete mind, study the science of art. Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”


Society traditionally has permitted only four types of people to go beyond rules, children, because they don’t know any better, artists or performers, because it’s part of the hype attached to their professions, the rich, they’re often called eccentrics, because their rich and they can surround themselves with people who are paid to put up with whatever they do and say, no matter how outrageous, and old people, they used to be called senile, who are again like children, they don’t know any better. Everyone else has to play by the rules.


Highly creative people ask, why do I have to play by the rules? Why? Why?


How much adventure do you want and how much security? Most people want manageable adventure and that usually means a trip to the cinema to watch the characters on the screen do what we want to do but never dare to do. To be creative we have to accept to be uncomfortable and we have to accept that we might also make others uncomfortable at times.


Adventure here doesn’t mean physical adventure, like sky diving or bungee jumping, but rather emotional adventure, which throws you up against social rules. When you need your creativity, you are taking someone’s hand without asking them or worrying about what you’ll do or where you’ll go. When you need to use your creativity you’re like Alice in the story by Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, you’re following the rabbit down the rabbit hole.


Alice in Wonderland


In the beginning of the story, Alice, is sitting out in a field in the countryside with her sister. They’re reading a book and Alice is bored because she says to herself, the “book has no pictures”. She sees a rabbit. If you happen to be in the country in the summer it’s not uncommon to see a rabbit. But this rabbit is wearing clothes and has a watch. So she follows it and what does the rabbit do? It goes down into a hole, because that’s what rabbits do, they live in holes underground. Well, if you were following a rabbit today and it went down into a hole what would you do? Nothing. You’d do nothing. What did Alice do? She dove into the hole after the rabbit and fell into Wonderland.


Your “creative wonderland” lies beyond social rules. You can plunge or you can wait and do nothing. The choice is up to you. Most people are afraid to plunge. The highly creative person is afraid “not to”.


Click here to Check score section Three


Section Four: Avoiding Assumptions


This section measures how prone you are to make assumptions. People make assumptions each and every day. We can’t live without them. They help us live and live fast. The more assumptions we make the “faster we can go”.


To assume is to take something for granted, to expect that things will be a certain way because they have been that way in the past, or because you want them to be that way. In business, it is not uncommon for a company to have a set of broadly shared assumptions about its organizations and industry. They are usually referred to as “dominant logic”, which translates to, “so obvious, don’t even think to challenge or question it”. Problems arise when these beliefs become institutionalized to the extent that they exclude looking for other perspectives or ways of doing things. Problems also arise when a company starts to defend its actions, using phrases such as “you just don’t understand” instead of welcoming questions. This usually leads to “blaming”. It’s not the fault of my department, and statistical laden power point is brought out to back it up.


The creative person has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures and rules in which everyone else is trapped.  He or she is thus capable of questioning the assumptions that everyone else accepts, when they need to use their creativity


Children often ask “why”.  Adults usually ask “how”.  Try asking “why” more. Adults usually don’t like that question. They don’t want to have to question their worlds because they don’t want to turn anything in their world upside down.


Why are we doing it this way? Why do we need that? Why don’t we just go and ask the clients what they want?


Have you ever asked why people now stand at rock concerts when they all used to sit? It’s because the people want to dance and jump and move and shout and be part of the spectacle and also of course because the organizers can pack more people into the arena and thus make more money. The assumption before was that spectators needed to sit.


In the classic experiment at General Electric Company in the USA, then CEO Jack Welch observed that his people were spending most of their time at work in meetings. So he asked, why do people need to sit down at meetings? He ordered that all meetings at GE were to be held standing up. Meeting times at were subsequently cut in half, as people weren’t comfortable standing up and cut out all the blah blah and just dealt with what was most important.

For years when you went to the dentist you sat in a chair. They used to call it the dentist’s chair and the dentist stood while working. Dentists also used to have problems later in life with their legs, because they stood so much. The assumption here was that the patient had to sit and the dentist had to stand. Then about 30 years ago somebody asked, why does the patient have to sit? Why can’t they lie down? Now the patient lies down, and the dentist sits. It’s better for the patient and better for the dentist. Why didn’t someone think of it before? The lounge chair where the patient reclines has been in use for hundreds of years. It’s just only recently been adapted to dentistry.


“To paint a rose is very difficult, because in order to do so you have to forget all the other roses you’ve ever seen and look upon this one flower as if you are seeing it for the first time” Henri Matisse, French artist.


For most of what you do, you need to make some assumptions, but when you need to use your creativity you have to avoid making them. You have to look at things around you as if you are seeing them for the very first time, as if you just arrived from another planet and you don’t know anything about what you’re looking at. Highly intelligent people often make a lot of assumptions. These people are sharp and fast, and they know it. Hence they often cut to the heart of a matter right away, an action which often alienates those around them and because of that these people often masquerade as being “rebellious and different.” When you charge into a store however, you fail to see what’s just inside the door, (in retailing it’s called the transition zone) and that often means they miss a lot of important questions because they make assumptions.


When you need to be creative slow down; don’t go at your normal pace. Stop, look and listen, as if it were your first time. You need to look at things, really look.


You need to ask the question “why” and you need to ask it frequently.


 Click here to Check score section  Four


Section Five: The ability to consistently see other perspectives and points of view


This area measures a person’s capacity and ability to consistently see other perspectives and points of view. Most people can see other perspectives but cannot do it consistently. To do so you have to consciously remind yourself that there are always other ways of looking at something until you do it automatically.


This is the final part of the creative attitude and in many respects it is the culmination and result of the other four areas, in that the final measure of a person’s creativity is being able to consistently see other perspectives and points of view. It is rare then for a person to score high in this section and low in the others, although they are people who are good at problem solving questions and exercises and because some of the questions in this section test problem solving ability, it may occur.


The ability to consistently see other perspectives and points of view depends on several factors.

  • Avoidance of assumptions
  • Ability to go beyond social rules. In order to see the perspective of a terrorist for example you have to be able to feel what a terrorist is feeling
  • Willingness to turn things upside down and inside out
  • Forgetting about yourself, your values, your beliefs, your opinions
  • Tolerance


It is not always easy to do. When you are looking at a situation, you need to ask yourself, how would a child look at this, how would a senior look at it, how would the opposite sex from me look at it? Those are only a few factors. There are so many more.


In business today you hear a lot about the seeing the product or service through the customer’s perspective. In practice, it’s rarely ever done. Companies are good at making assumptions about what people want, and this is true for both their customers as well as their employees. When companies do ask their customers, it’s often via closed ended questions. Do you want A or B? If people choose “A” the company then trumpets, our customers told us what they want, they want “A”. Yes, if it’s only a choice between A and B.


Don’t be surprised by this, as adults we are never asked what we want. Our bosses never ask us, our teachers never ask us, our boyfriends, girlfriends and husbands and wives don’t ask us. If we’re never been asked, then how can we be expected to ask someone else

Understanding different perspectives and points of view comes from UNDERSTANDING SOMEBODY, that all it’s about. It’s a question of understanding what people are feeling, not what they are thinking. The more things, situations and people you can truly understand, the more creative you will be.


Click here to Check score section Five


Home Creative Test Result