Creativity in Business Analysts and Others

Posted on October 16, 2009 by

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Creativity is part of the BABOK®’s Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving competency, which is one of six general competencies that a successful business analyst should possess. Although some professions such as artist or inventor are heavily dependent on creativity, it is hard to imagine someone in a profession that could not benefit from generating innovative ideas. For a business analyst, creativity specifically assists in conjuring innovative ways to solve a problem and thinking of alternative solutions. For each competency, the BABOK lists effectiveness measures. These effectiveness measures of creativity include generating and considering new ideas, using these ideas to resolve current problems, and the willingness of the stakeholders to accept these new approaches.

It can be easy to identify someone as creative, but it has been harder to define and measure what it is that we consider creativity. A classic test is Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task in which respondents try to think of as many uses as possible for a common object. For example, Katy asks her daughter to think of as many uses as possible for a muffin pan. She replies that she could use it to sort her button collection, to put cereal and milk in each of the six impressions so that the whole family could eat breakfast while dirtying only one dish, or she could fill it up with water and raise little pools of tadpoles. Scoring of Katy’s daughter’s creativity is based on the number of ideas and categories, the originality of the ideas and the amount of detail. For another example of this task, see http://www.iub.edu/~bobweb/d1.html. How many uses of a muffin pan can you imagine?