In a fast-changing world with unforeseeable challenges and problems, a major goal of education should be to prepare young learners for the future (Craft, 2011; Treffinger et al., 2012). A recent analysis of 702 occupations indicated that 47% of total employment in the United States is at risk because of automatization (Frey & Osborne, 2017). According to the report by the Institute for the Future (2017), most jobs that today’s children will apply for in the future do not yet exist. Therefore, it is important to design our educational structure and curriculum according to this picture and priority should be given to skills and capabilities that will make future generations ready for the challenges of tomorrow. The framework of 21st Century Skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2006) was developed to reflect such a future-oriented perspective. Becoming “future-proof” requires a number of skills including creativity, problem-solving, cognitive flexibility and adaptability, and innovative thinking. Parallel to this, LinkedIn Learning analyzed the skills needed in companies by using an Economic Graph that represents the entire data on LinkedIn and found that creativity came out to be the most needed skill (Petrone, 2019). This technical analysis echoes World Economic Forum’s (2016) report that featured creativity and related abilities (i.e., complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility) as most needed skills in 2020 and survey results of IBM’s (2010) research with 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries around the world.
Those findings and reports are far from a surprise. There are original thoughts and ideas behind every novelty and progress. Every new technology we cherish starts with an original idea. Decades of scholarship has been dedicated to the theoretical foundation of this crucial construct. Creativity is often defined as the production of novel/original and useful/effective ideas or solutions (Stein, 1953; Runco & Jaeger, 2012). Based on The U.S. Patent Office’s criteria, some (e.g., Boden, 2004; Bruner, 1962; Simonton, 2012; 2018) added “surprising” or “non-obvious” as a third component. Clearly, creativity is multi-faceted and the magnitude of the relevance of each of those components is pertinent to an accurate understanding of the concept. Acar et al. (2017) found that among those three criteria and the criteria of aesthetics and elegance, originality was the strongest predictor of creativity followed by surprise and value, respectively. Additionally, surprise was also more related to originality than usefulness. Those findings are parallel to those of Diedrich, Benedek, Jauk, and Neubauer (2015) who tested the usefulness of bi-partite definition on idea evaluation. They found that both novelty and usefulness were significant predictors of creativity but novelty was a better predictor than usefulness. Evidently, originality is the core aspect of creativity. It is the only component that most scholars indicate as a necessary condition of creativity (Rothenberg & Hausman, 1976; Runco, 1988). This is why we focus on this particular cognitive skill in the MOTES project.
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