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11/01 Guest Creativity Comment

Adaptive or Innovative?

by Jack Hipple
Principal of Innovation-TRIZ, Inc. (

I probably agree with your Creativity Comment 09/01 that creativity capability, in the sense of an absolute measurement, is not truly measurable, but there is a very accurate, globally validated tool that measures one style of creativity. It's the Kirton KAI (stands for Kirton Adaptive-Innovative) instrument that has thirty-three questions, and can be completed in around 15 minutes. Michael Kirton is a renowned British industrial psychologist.  KAI measures whether one is an adaptive or innovative problem solver. A group of random individuals tested with KAI exhibit a bell-shaped curve with one end being adaptive, following known solutions, and the other end being innovative, people who look for entirely new solutions.  Both styles can produce large quantities of ideas.  KAI is not as well known as Meyers Briggs (which measures one's social interactive style), but it measures something just as important, i.e., how we relate to problems.  I have used the KAI instrument as part of innovation consulting sessions as well as a part of my TRIZ problem-solving sessions and found it to be a very effective addition to an innovation session, as well as to make people aware of different problem-solving styles.

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