International expert in creativity and innovation, UniSA’s Professor David Cropley, is calling for Australian schools and universities to increase their emphasis on teaching creativity, as new research shows it is a core competency across all disciplines and critical for ensuring future job success.
Conducted in partnership with visiting Ph.D. researcher Kim van Broekhoven from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, the research explores the nature of creativity in determining if specific differences exist between creativity in the sciences and creativity in the arts.
The researchers found that creativity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is very similar to creativity in the arts, indicating that a holistic approach to teaching creativity in schools and universities, would benefit all.
UniSA’s Professor David Cropley says the study provides a valuable insight into how education systems might assess and foster students’ creative capabilities.
“The big change for education systems would be moving away from a rather fragmented and haphazard approach to teaching creativity, to a much more holistic and integrated approach,” Prof Cropley says.
“To prepare the next generation for the future, we need to understand the gaps in the market—the human skills that computers, artificial intelligence and automation cannot achieve—and this is where creativity fits.
“Until this research, we didn’t know whether creativity in STEM was the same as creativity in anything, or if there was something unique about creativity in STEM. If creativity was different in STEM—that is, it involved special attitudes or abilities—then we’d need to teach STEM students differently to develop their creativity.
“As it turns out, creativity is general in nature—it is essentially a multi-faceted competency that involves similar attitudes, disposition,