Creativity plays a crucial role in innovation, and innovation is essential for any organization's continuous success and survival. Past creativity research focused on the studies of individual creativity (West, 2009); however, in recent years there has been an increased emphasis on understanding how a group of people work together to produce creative ideas and products (Paulus & Nijstad, 2003). This collaborative creativity process is often referred to as group creativity. Despite the increased interest in group creativity, there is still a lack of empirical studies (Taggar, 2002). This study explored the impact of group collaboration on the improvement of individual creative thinking ability. During the 2009–2010 school year, approximately 120 undergraduate technology and engineering students participated in the Innovation Boot Camp (IBC), a creativity training program. The participants were teamed up with people from different majors and asked to work together to design an innovative solution to a problem. Their individual creativity was also measured before and after the IBC using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT). Interestingly, a significant TTCT score improvement was found only in a few groups, but not in all groups. This study qualitatively analyzed video-recorded team interactions of three groups that significantly increased their creativity scores (improved groups) and three groups who did not (non-improved groups). The findings of this analysis revealed six major differences between the improved and non-improved groups. These differences were (1) idea and information exchange, (2) critique, (3) idea improvement, (4) prototype design, (5) challenging solution, and (6) engagement level. Based on these differences, this report presents a theory that could explain how group collaboration can improve individual creative thinking ability. The implications of the study findings for future research were also discussed.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





group creativity, individual creativity, collaborative innovation, community of innovation