By Amir Elion
There are many models and techniques that aim to help people
come up with creative ideas. In this article I describe an original
way of using Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences
as a helpful pattern for generating a wide range of ideas in
I must first review the basics of Gardner's theory, so that
may later understand how I use it as a creative tool. Howard
is a well-known researcher and author on the subject of thinking
and intelligence. His theory of Multiple Intelligences challenged
the limited concept of intelligence as measured by logical and
mathematical tests (e.g. IQ or SAT exams). Instead, he claimed
that there is more than one kind of intelligence, and that each
kind is valuable for human activity. It is beyond the scope of
this article to fully describe this theory. For the purpose of
using this model as a creative tool, I will only list the seven
different types of intelligences along with a basic explanation
- Linguistic: the ability to use language to excite, please,
convince, stimulate or convey information.
- Logical-Mathematical: the ability to explore patterns, categories
and relationships by manipulating objects or symbols.
- Intrapersonal: the ability to understand, express
and control one's inner feelings, dreams and ideas.
- Interpersonal: the ability to understand other people, their
goals, motivations, intentions, and to communicate with them.
- Spatial: the ability to navigate and to perceive objects
- Musical: the ability to perform, compose or enjoy a musical
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: the ability to use the body in sports,
performance arts, and other motorical tasks.
Seven Intelligence Types and Creativity
Now how may this be used for creating new ideas? The way I
it is to examine how the subject I am thinking of may be expressed
or enhanced through each of these intelligence types. To make
this clearer, let me provide a detailed example.
Say your 10 years old child's birthday was coming up, and you
wanted to prepare some special activities for his birthday party.
Following is a list of nice ideas you could use, each emphasizing
and activating one of the above intelligence types.Your kid's
guests would enjoy a diverse range of games and tasks, through
which each could express their best abilities and skills:
- Linguistic: let the children write a short poem of 2-4 lines,
on the theme of birthdays and parties.
- Logical-Mathematical: let them solve simple mathematical
riddles in which the letters of their names have been encrypted
according to some logical rule.
- Intrapersonal: ask the children to close
their eyes, and think of one good experience they had on their
own birthday, and another which was less pleasant.
- Interpersonal: The children may share their experiences
from the previous idea in couples, and practice listening to
the other person without commenting or questioning.
- Spatial: any game with their eyes closed, in which they
have to go around the room, or alternatively feel an object
and guess what it is.
- Musical: one child makes a rhythmic sound, and
all the others must repeat that sound exactly. The child than
adds another sound
to form a combination of two sounds, and kids repeat, etc.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: well — obviously the
game of Charades is a great way to move and demonstrate bodily
Creative Intelligences — not just for children
As I mentioned earlier, you may use the seven
intelligences for almost any subject that is related to people.
I am sure you can
come up with very interesting ideas for arranging your office
if you focus on each of these seven intelligences, or of some
original ways to spend a romantic evening with your sweetheart
(I'd love to hear about that...).
Copyright 2005 Amir Elion and Best100Ideas.com
About the Author
Amir Elion is a management and innovation
and facilitator. He was a part of a group that developed a unique
method for training diverse skills through the use of board games.
He has a degree in Philosophy and General studies and an MA in
organizational behavior. His maintains and updates a website on
creative ideas for business, workplace and personal uses. His
website is at www.best100ideas.com. 12/06/05