Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Definitions of creativity: common words used

This word cloud is the result of an analysis of definitions of creativity. It highlights the words used most commonly by people when defining what creativity is, in short dictionary-style definitions.

I took 23 online definitions of creativity (retrieved via a Google search, either in the form of a dictionary entry or as a brief definition of creativity). These definitions were merged together in one text file and fed through the online analysis tool at www.wordle.net, resulting in the word cloud pictured.

Besides the obvious appearance of words such as 'creativity', words which appear prominently include new, originality, ability, imaginative, process, produce, ideas and so on. The results show which words we commonly use to describe what creativity is. This gives us a good idea of what factors to examine further when deciding whether something is creative or not.

This work was based on brief definitions of creativity of one or a few sentences long, maximum one paragraph.


  1. Hi Anna,

    I can't help wondering what results you may get if you performed the same test again but this time using a different analysis tool -- like WordSmith or perhaps via R? Perhaps such quick comparison could bring even more credibiltiy to your original results? Just a thought, feel free to disregard :-)


  2. I ran the same test on a different word cloud software as well, which gave me actual figures per word rather than a pretty picture (hence making my results a bit more amenable to analysis!) - I think that if I used something like R I would get similar (identical?) results as its just doing a simple count of word frequencies rather than anything more sophisticated, so hopefully the results would be the same.