As a citizen of the 21st century,
you should be able to

  • Produce something that simultaneously is both original and useful in your personal and work life.

  • Generate ideas or actions that are new, pertinent and relevant to the problem you are trying to solve.

  • Create or invent something new, innovate. Elaborate, refine and analyze ideas to maximize creativity and innovation.

  • Recognize that a musician's creativity is similar to an engineer's and a scientist's creativity.

  • Use your imagination as a resource to solve problems and be open to experimenting with new things, taking risks and thinking outside the box.

  • Recognize cultural and other barriers and constraints that affect creativity and innovation.

  • Being open to new ideas, using divergent thinking and maintaining your flexibility.

  • Ability to find motivation, self-discipline and persevere to achieve your goals and solve problems
  • Having high level of tolerance for ambiguity
  • Ability to value yourself (self-esteem) and to feel that you are capable of succeeding (self-efficacy)
  • Ability to think and work independently
  • Ability to be open to new experiences and innovation, and to take measured risks
  • Ability to resist to premature closure of ideas and to think through tinkering*
  • Ability to solve problems and learn from failure, having insight or vision
  • Thinking unconventionally or in new ways (divergent thinking)
  • Ability to move between different mental representations (flexibility)
  • Having interest in novelty, being information-seeker (curiosity)
  • Ability to analyze, synthetize, and evaluate your ideas, and persuade others
  • Ability to feel intensively engaged in an activity
  • Having the intention to create something
  • Ability to evaluate possible solution options
  • Ability to evaluate your environment to identify aspects that foster or inhibit your creativity
  • Ability to modify your environment to prompt creativity
  • Ability to determine the strengths and weakness of the workgroup
  • Ability to connect and organize ideas, thoughts and feelings into unusual bonds and solutions
  • Ability to produce or design something original, unique, of high quality, novel, useful and appropriate

Sources: Based on a review of existing frameworks
(Kaufman, Plucker, & Baer, 2008; Lai, Yarbro, DiCerbo & de Geest, 2018; OECD, 2019; Said-Metwaly, van den Noortgate, & Kyndt, 2017).


Fostering Creativity

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  • Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin
    Senior Analyst and Deputy Head of Division at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (Directorate for Education and Skills). 


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  • Carolina Cuesta MEd, MSc.
    Fulbright Scholar and a Ph.D. student in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. . 

  • Brad Hokanson Ph.D
    Mertie W Buckman Professor of Design Education at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota. . 


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21st century skills help individuals of all ages to reinvent themselves throughout life, adapt to changing and diverse circumstances, and identify opportunities for growth amid differences.


What are these skills?