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The Impact of Creativity on the Evaluation of Entry-Level Interior Design Portfolio: Examining the Relationships Among C...


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THE IMPACT OF CREATIVITY ON THE EVALUATION OF ENTRY-LEVEL INTERIOR DESIGN PORTFOLIOS: EXAMINING THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG CREATIVE NOVELTY, RESOLUTION, AND STYLE By KATHRYN E. LEVINS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Kathryn E. Levins

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge several people whose support and contributions made this research study possible. First, I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering support and unconditional love, a nd my siblings for always being by my side. I would especially like to thank my husband for alwa ys encouraging me to look ahead and press on. Many thanks go to my graduate advisor, Dr Margaret Portillo, for great ideas and guidance throughout the entire process, and to Dr. Jason Colquitt, whose assistance and statistical expertise proved i nvaluable. I wish to also thank Professor Candy CarmelGilfilen for her encouragement and helping hand in various aspects of the project, as well as Michael Compton for his co ntributions to this study. Lastly, I would also like to thank the firm s and designers involved in the research for donating their time and expertise. This study would not have been feasible without their interest and willingness to participate.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................1 Purpose........................................................................................................................ .2 Significance..................................................................................................................3 Research Questions.......................................................................................................5 Delimitations.................................................................................................................6 Assumptions.................................................................................................................7 Equal Opportunity.................................................................................................7 Creativity is Everywhere.......................................................................................7 Unbiased Judgments..............................................................................................7 Summary.......................................................................................................................8 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE......................................................................................9 Creativity..................................................................................................................... .9 What is Creativity?..............................................................................................10 Creative Products.................................................................................................12 Assessment of Creative Products........................................................................15 Creative Product Analysis Matrix................................................................17 Consensual Assessment Technique..............................................................20 Summary.....................................................................................................................21 3 METHODOLOGY....................................................................................................23 Research Design.........................................................................................................23 Setting........................................................................................................................ .23 Pilot Study..................................................................................................................25 Sample........................................................................................................................2 6

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v Participants.................................................................................................................27 Participant Procedure..................................................................................................31 Instrument...................................................................................................................31 Procedures...................................................................................................................33 Timed slide show.................................................................................................33 Evaluations..........................................................................................................34 Interviews............................................................................................................34 Limitations..................................................................................................................36 Summary.....................................................................................................................36 4 FINDINGS................................................................................................................. 37 Participant Demographics...........................................................................................37 Data Analysis..............................................................................................................40 Research Question One...............................................................................................42 Research Question Two..............................................................................................46 Research Question Three............................................................................................50 Defining creativity in interior design..................................................................51 Defining creativity in entry-level portfolios........................................................53 Additional factors for portfolio evaluation..........................................................54 Summary.....................................................................................................................58 5 DISCUSSION............................................................................................................59 Validity....................................................................................................................... 60 Reliability...................................................................................................................6 2 Entry-level Interior Design Portfolios........................................................................64 Novelty................................................................................................................66 Resolution............................................................................................................67 Style.....................................................................................................................71 Creativity.............................................................................................................73 Implications................................................................................................................76 Suggested Future Research.........................................................................................78 Conclusion..................................................................................................................80 APPENDIX A PARTICIPATION LETTER REQUEST..................................................................82 B INSTITUTIONAL REVI EW BOARD APPROVAL LETTER...............................83 C PORTFOLIO EVALUATION INSTRUMENT.......................................................85 D INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE...........................................................................86 E SUMMARY OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS.........................................................87

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vi LIST OF REFERENCES..................................................................................................92 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH............................................................................................98

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vii LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Creative Product Analysis Matrix............................................................................18 3-1 Firm profile..............................................................................................................2 8 3-2 Participant design and po rtfolio review experience.................................................30 4-1 Participant demographics.........................................................................................38 4-2 Position title by em ployment variables....................................................................40 4-3 Portfolio assessment variables.................................................................................41 4-4 Descriptive statistics of novelty, resolu tion, style, creativity, and hiring potential.42 4-5 Correlation matrix of novelty, resolu tion, and style related to creativity................44 4-6 Multiple regression analysis of creativity................................................................45 4-7 Correlation matrix of no velty, resolution, style, and creativity related to hiring potential....................................................................................................................47 4-8 Multiple regression analys is of hiring potential.......................................................48

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Design specializations of participating firms...........................................................38 4-2 Distribution of job positions.....................................................................................39 4-3 Relationship model of novelty, re solution, style, and creativity..............................43 4-4 Relationship model of novelty, resolution, style, creativity and hiring potential....46 4-5 Model of creative product variables related to hiring pot ential in interior design...49 4-6 Designer responses to open-ended questions...........................................................50 4-7 Definitions of creativity by novelty, resolution, and style.......................................52 4-8 Definitions of creativity in design po rtfolios by novelty, resolution, and style.......54 4-9 Designer considerations for reviewing portfolios....................................................55 4-10 Additional designer considera tions for entry-level hiring........................................57

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ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design THE IMPACT OF CREATIVITY ON THE EVALUATION OF ENTRY-LEVEL INTERIOR DESIGN PORTFOLIOS: EXAMINING THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG CREATIVE NOVELTY, RESOLUTION, AND STYLE By Kathryn E. Levins December 2006 Chair: Margaret Portillo Major Department: Interior Design This study explored the impact of creativity in entry-level interior design portfolios where the creative product at tributes of novelty, resoluti on, and style were examined relative to the creativity and hiring potential of design portfolios. Twenty-one designers individually assessed 12 portfolios from gra duating seniors in an accredited interior design program. A locally developed evalua tion instrument was used to measure five dimensions: novelty, resolution, style, creativity and hiring potential. Designers also responded to qualitative questions aimed at re vealing individual views of creativity and entry-level interior design portfolios. The study was investigated in three stages. First, designers watched a programmed slide show of the 12 portfolios to get an overall impression of the portfolio group. Designers then viewed and evaluated the 12 portfolios independently using an evaluation

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x instrument. Lastly, designers answered quest ions regarding creativ ity, entry-level design portfolios, and thei r design background. The quantitative findings which analyzed 248 data points and the qualitative findings of 12 designers’ opinions, support novelty, resolution, and style as attributes of a creative product. The five variables measured by the study—novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential—were found to highly associated with one another. Further investigation revealed that creativity is influenced the most by novelty and then style; hiring potential is influenced the most by style, followed by resolution, and then creativity. In addition, designers perceive resolution to be th e most important attribute of creativity, while style, resolu tion, and novelty are considered important factors for hiring potential. Style appears to be the overall organizing attribute fo r novelty and resolution of a portfolio.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION A creative compilation of personal and co llaborative efforts produced throughout a period of time, the design portfolio can comb ine many design projects into a unifying testament of one’s ability (Newstetter & Kh an, 1997). For many design professions, the use of portfolios is a way of communicating tale nts, skills, and potential growth of entrylevel professionals as well as experienced persons in the business. The design fields, including architecture, interior design and graphic design, acknowledge the portfolio as a necessary instrument allowing designers of a ll experience levels to showcase their work (Castiglione, 1996). Performance-based assessments such as portfolios are developed with the purpose of better understanding students’ competencies and skills: “Performance assessments provide a systematic way of evaluating thos e reasoning and skill outcomes that cannot be adequately measured by the typical object ive or essay test” (Gronlund, 1998, p. 138). More commonly used in education now (Cas tiglione, 1996), performance assessments are advocated by educational researchers, and t hought to be a better approach to measuring highly complex skills (Arter, 1999; Eisner, 1999; Wiggins, 1989; Wile y & Haertel, 1996; and Spalding, 2000). The interior design portfolio, a special case of performance assessment, is a useful tool for assessing bot h what students have retained from their educational experiences, as well as their po tential for future success—two qualities that prospective design firms, professors, and teach ing facilities alike consider integral for entry-level designers.

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2 Purpose Design portfolios, professional design projects, and competition entries seeking design awards are just a few applications w ithin interior design that are subject to assessments of creativity (Chris tiaans, 2002). Since interior design is highly visual, being creative is a dominant factor in this field as much as it is in other design-based professions. Graduating students entering the design field not only understand the paucity of entry-level design positions and the competitive nature of design and designers, but also the role their portfolio has in securi ng future employment. Since creativity is considered a major element when defining th e quality of a designer, many graduating students or students seeking internships ar e uncertain on how to display their design talents and skills through their portfolio in the most unique and appropriate way. Hoping to stand out among their peers, these students strive for di rection on what is going to make them more desirable than a peer seeking the same position. The purpose of this study is to determ ine what design professionals consider creative in entry-level interior design portfolios. These judgments will be measured using a quantitative portfolio assessment a nd an open-ended, qualitative inquiry. A 5point Likert scale will be used to asse ss 12 portfolios on thirteen creative product characteristics. Five major variables will emerge from the 13 items that include novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential The results will likely reveal that the three creative product dimensions–novelty, resolution, and style—will be weighed differently for creativity and hiring potential. In addition, creativ ity will be defined differently amongst design professionals, but similarly in regard to the aspects of creativity that are deemed the most valuable.

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3 Significance In both art and design, creativity is believe d to be the most important criteria for quality of performance (Christiaans, 2002). While research has been done on creativity in last decade, little highlights the systematic assessment of creativity in interior design. Creativity research centers on Mooney’s (1963) four “P’s” of creativity. The four facets of creativity represent the creative person, the creative pro cess, the creative product, and the creative press (environment). Research ha s been done to analyze these four facets together, a combination of the facets, and to assess each facet individually. The creative product alone is the basis for this study. A creative product, defined by most researchers, is some combination of novel and appropr iate (Jackson & Messick 1956; Amabile, 1982; Torrance, 1988). By assessing products for creativity, researchers have made considerable theoretical effo rts “to identify precisely what attributes of the product contribute to its creativity” (B esemer & O’Quin, 1986, p. 115). An in-depth investigation of a product in the art and design field, that being an entry-level interior design portfolio, will si gnificantly affect creativity research, design education, and interior design stud ents. First, explor ing creativity of de sign portfolios, an area that has been researched very little, will considerably add to the body of knowledge surrounding creativity. Secondly, educators and teaching facilitie s can also gain applicable knowledge from this research. Understanding the aspects of interior design portfolios that are valued by professional desi gners will allow interior design educators to focus their teachings to maximize skills and content that may help students acquire a professional design position. Finally, interior design students will be introduced to the characteristics of creativity and educated on the value these characteristics hold for entry-

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4 level portfolios. This knowledge will inevitabl y affect possible future careers in interior design. Additionally, many studies have been comp leted in the last decade to illustrate what design practitioners prefer in terms of skills and attributes of recent graduates. Though these studies touch on very important as pects of the physical characteristics of the portfolio, such as format and substance, there is a lack of concern for the creative qualities that give each portfolio their unique character. One study conducted by Baker and Sondhi (1989) looked at the competencies and attributes needed by entry-level interior design graduates by surveying the top 200 interior design firms across the country. The study found that “large interi or design firms are looking for entry-level personnel who critically th ink through design solutions based on design theories, communicates verbally and through graphic presentation, practice professional ethics, and present themselves as mature, enthusia stic, and well groomed” (p. 35). Although the professionals favored hiring graduates with a 4-year degree, sixty-eight percent of the responses said the portfolio was the prim ary basis of hiring decisions, followed by education. This illustrates not only the value that professiona l interior designers place on the portfolio, but also that the portfolio is the major ingredient that leads to entry-level employment. These findings are similar to the result s of a previous study conducted in 1983. Hernecheck, Rettig, and Sherman analyzed the viewpoints of 63 professional designers on the subject of competencies for interior design entry-level positions. Similar to the previous study, Hernecheck, Rettig, and Sher man found that the qualifications of the applicant were more of a concern to the professionals than whether the applicant’s

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5 educational institution was accredited. These professiona ls place more emphasis on the “the individual’s capabilities as shown in the resume, portfolio, a nd personal presentation at the time of the interview” (1983, p. 12). Research Questions Through an empirical investigation, this study intends to measure how design professionals judge creativity in potential employees by assessing the portfolios of students from an accredited four-year interior design program. A quantitative scaled measurement will primarily be used, followed by a qualitative inquiry, to give substantial insight into the characteristics of successful, creative entry-level interior design portfolios. In order to unde rstand creativity, this study tries to identify specifically, what design professionals perceive as creative in senior design student’s portfolio work. By utilizing the Creative Product Analysis Ma trix theory (Besemer and Treffinger, 1981), several dimensions of creativity have be en identified to help quantify and measure the creative characteristics of interior design portfolios. The Creative Product Analysis Matrix theory was developed to create an in-depth observation of creative products by bringing attention to the more relevant qualities of the pr oducts (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981). These qualities, novelt y, resolution, and style (Besem er, 2003), will be used to analyze interior design portfolios. Novelty refers to the newness of the product, resolution deals with how well the product functions, and style refers to the stylistic attributes of the product. Included as well are the dimens ions of creativity and hiring potential. Creativity gives a measurable value to each portfolio and hi ring potential is the student’s potential to be hire d by the participant’s firm. This study relies on these five dimensions of entry-level interior design portf olios to help address the following research questions:

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6 1. What is the relative importance of nove lty, resolution, and style in entry-level interior design portfolios in predicting creativity? 2. What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity in entrylevel interior design portfolios in predicting hiring potential? 3. How do the open-ended designer perceptio ns of creativity and entry-level portfolios support the quantitative port folio evaluations? Delimitations The University of Florida’s graduating class of 2005 provided the entry-level interior design portfolios used in this study. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the University of Florida was the only university selected to participate. Participation from other universities would have been beyond the scope of a master’s th esis, and in addition, provided more portfolios than necessary. Th e number of portfolios used was limited to 12. Any more would have been detrimental to the time constraints of the judges, all of which scheduled approximately two hours durin g their workday to participate in the study. Additional portfolios would have extend ed the time necessary to complete the study, possibly causing fatigue and other emotio nal responses, which could then affect their judgments of the portfolios. Another delimitation of this study is that the 12 portfolios are comprised of a varying number of student interior design proj ects consisting of bot h individual and team projects. The projects illustr ated varying amounts of information as well. In addition, since the 12 portfolios that made up the sample are from an all-female class, this study can only be generalized within the female population of undergraduate interior design students from interior design programs sim ilar to the University of Florida’s.

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7 Assumptions Equal Opportunity The portfolios used in the study are comprise d of a variety of work that was created throughout the student’s tenure in the interi or design program at the University of Florida. Portfolios exhibit varying amounts of educational material produced at UF from the beginning of the interior design program until the end. Since no transfer students were included in this stu dy, students went through the sa me curriculum with the same professors. It is assumed that each student received similar instruction and attention, and that students had an equal opportunity for succes s for each interior design project and for their portfolios as well. Creativity is Everywhere Creativity is considered by researchers to be a normally distributed trait (Parnes, Noller & Biondi, 1977). While past ideas of th e creative person had always been linked to highly distinguished people, often geniuses, more current research contends that everybody is creative, to some degree (Ama bile, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Besemer & O’Quin, 1986). Moreover, many scholars main tain creative thinking can be developed and taught to students in some domain (Amabile, 1983; Nickerson, 1999). This idea supports the assumption that students educat ed to the highest level of undergraduate, interior design schooling have so me degree of creative ability. Unbiased Judgments The professional interior designers and ar chitects involved in the study make up the expert panel. These experts were select ed because of their employment at highly recognized architecture and interior design firms located near the University of Florida in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. One can as sume these distinguished firms have an

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8 invested interest in researc h, gaining knowledge about design, and bettering the field of design. Since there are no comparisons being made to other institutions or universities, it is assumed that the expert panel of design judges representing highly recognized firms will act without bias when assessing the student portfolios. Summary Entry-level interior design portfolios are a vital aspect for entry-level interior designers gaining employment. By studying the creativity of entry-level interior design students’ portfolios, a heightened understa nding of creativity in research and design education will be acknowledged. Assessing th ese creative products will give additional insight into the professional practice of interior design and benefit entry-level designers. The purpose of this study is to find out wh at professional designers perceive to be creative in entry-leve l interior design portfolios. The five dimensions of novelty, resolution, style, overall creativity, and hiring potential of 12 portfolio s will be assessed. An additional qualitative inquiry will clarif y how design professionals define creativity. With the understanding of what professionals agree to be creative, entry-level interior designers will be able to exemplify their sk ills and potential with the use of a highly creative design portfolio.

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9 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE An in-depth study of senior interior design portfolios will measure various dimensions of creative production. The review of literature focuses on defining creativity and understanding creative products. Creativ e product measurement tools and theories are also discussed further. Additionally, two important instruments that are used in the methodology of this study are highlighted later in the lite rature review. Creativity Creativity is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that defies an easy definition. Much of how creativity occurs is unsee n, nonverbal, and some argue occurs during a conscious/unconscious psychodynamic state (Torra nce, 1988; Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). Many theories and approaches have been de veloped by psychologists, scientists, and researchers to study the often unexplainable c oncept of creativity. As Boden (1994) put it, creativity: is a puzzle, a paradox, some say a mystery. Inventors, scientists, and artists rarely know how their original ideas arise. They mention intu ition, but cannot say how it works. Most psychologists cannot tell us much about it, either. What’s more, many people assume that there will never be a scientific theory of creativity—for how could science explain fundamental novelties? […] Why does creativity seem so mysterious? To be sure, artists and sc ientists typically have their creative ideas unexpectedly, with little if any conscious awareness of how they arose. But the same applies to much of our vision, language, and commonsense reasoning. Psychology includes many theories about unc onscious processes. Creativity is mysterious for another reason: the very concept is seemingly paradoxical (p. 75). Although creativity can be complicated, Kn eller writes, “[It] is a unique and invaluable aspect of human behavior” (1965, p. iii ). It is something that still mystifies as

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10 well as fascinates the minds of the scholars who study the nature of creativity (Tardif & Sternberg, 1988). The knowledge and understanding of creativ ity is always being redefined and further developed. In order to study this concep t scientifically, there has to be some sort of definition to guide research. This section of the review of literature will be utilized to discuss some of the definitions of creativity, and will also elaborate on creative products and how they are assessed. What is Creativity? Creativity is defined differently amongs t researchers and scientists, and is conceptualized differently for every field (Amabile, 1996). The collection of views and perspectives for identifying creativity has lead to a variety of definitions. However, a commonality between these sometimes-differing views is that creativ ity is both novel and usually appropriate (Torrance, 1988; Jack son & Messick, 1956; Amabile, 1982). For instance, in order for something to be consid ered original, the fre quency of the response should be statistically unus ual, and the response should be suitable for the problem (Barron, 1955). Several different approaches for the assessm ent of creativity have been identified. According to Mooney (1963), there are four notably different perspectives to the creativity problem. Creativity is believed to be: (1) the individual pe rsonality traits that produce new ideas, the creative person ; (2) the process of c onceiving new ideas, the creative process ; (3) the result or product of the creative process, the creative product ; and/or (4) the environments that allow new ideas to evolve, the creative press (Mooney, 1963; Taylor, 1988; Alves, et. al, 2005). Each of these aspects has differing methods and criteria for identifying creative talent, but of ten times are used in varying combinations:

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11 “All of these four approaches have been found to some degree as an approach or set of approaches used by investigator s in their projects and/or pr ograms of research” (Taylor, 1988). In Boden’s (1994; 2001) view, creativity is the novel co mbination of old ideas. There is a certain amount of surp rise involved that is a result of the improbability of the combination—the more improbable, the more su rprising. Combinations that are valuable and creative not only have to be new but in teresting as well and relevant to a given situation (Boden, 1994; 2001; Kneller, 1965). Boden (1994; 2001) highlights two main theori es that previous literature suggested was involved with novel ideas: (1 ) those that that are new to the person’s previous ways of thinking, and (2) those that that are completely new and have never existed before. Kneller (1965) was a strong propone nt of the first theory, mainta ining that creativity is an idea, artifact, or form of behavior that is discovered and expressed and is new to that individual. He believes that although novelty is a “rearra ngement of existing knowledge, it still is an addition to knowledge” (1965, p. 4). Additionally, Thurstone (1952) and Stewart (1950) regard newness as a condition of creativity and believe that as long as something is new to the individua l that created it, then it is creative, even if the something has previously been done. On the contrary, Stein (1953) believed the second theory to be true: that novelty meant that the creative product has never exis ted before in the same form. He also believed that the product needed to be accepted as useful and satisfying in the time of history in which it appears. Suggesting mean ings of creativ ity may shift over time, Stein

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12 (1953) implied that what may be viewed as crea tive at one time in one society may not be in another. These differing views of creativity have lead to a variety of definitions, all seeking to solve the problem of establ ishing a criterion by which to assess creativity. Researchers gain understanding of creativity by studying the person, the produc t, the process, and the environment in which creativity occurs. Presenting literature specifically on the creative product will put forth comprehensive research that is important for the present study. Creative Products In the past 15 to 20 years, psychometric approaches to measuring creativity have advanced past the traditional cognitive and personality persp ectives and have diversified to include a broader range of approaches (Plucker & Renzulli, 1999). The methods can be understood through the four facets of creativity discussed earlier. Current psychometric methods have been used to meas ure personality characte ristics of creative individuals ( creative person ) (MacKinnon, 1978; Barron & Harrington, 1981), to improve measures of generating new ideas ( creative process ) (Runco, 1991; Runco & Mraz, 1992), to measure the creativity of products ( creative product ) (Besemer & O’Quinn, 1986; Reis & Renzulli, 1991; Lobe rt & Dologite, 1994)), and to explore environmental issues that are related to creativity ( creative press ) (Amabile, 1979, Hennessey & Amabile, 1988). Studies in the pa st have investigated creativity utilizing these methods individually and combinations of methods. Analyzing creative products has been said to be “the starting point, indeed the bedrock of all studies of creativity” (MacKinnon, 1987, p. 120). MacKinnon argues that regardless of whether one chooses to study th e creative person, the creative process, or the creative environment, one must still define creativity in terms of the creative product.

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13 For instance, the creat ive product is a result of the creative process or processes, performed by the creative pers on, in a creative situation or environment. In addition, MacKinnon (1975) says that until research on creative products is more firmly encouraged and established, creativity resear ch would continually be looking for answers to the criterion problem. Other researcher s agree on the signifi cance of the creative product (Taylor & Sandler, 1972; Treffi nger & Poggio, 1972; Ward & Cox, 1974), and furthermore, feel that an alyzing creative products res ponds to and makes up for the inconsistencies inherent in divergent thi nking tests and rating s cales (Runco, 1989). Brogden and Sprecher (1964) contended that by analyzing the creative product, the study of creativity would close the gap on the criterion problem. They proposed a traditional definition for creative products: A product may be a physical object—an articl e or patent—or it may be a theoretical system. […] It may be an equation or a new technique. […] It is not uniquely bound up with the life of an individual (p. 160). In other definitions, researcher s have tried to incorporate criteria necessary for a product to be considered creative. Newell, Shaw and Simon (1963) suggested that a creative product satisfy one or more of the following conditions: a product that has novelty a nd value either for the thinker or the culture; a product that is unconven tional in the sense that it requires modification or rejection of previous ly accepted ideas; a product resulting from high motivation and pe rsistence, either over a considerable span of time or at a high intensity; a product resulting from the formulation of a problem which was initially vague and ill-defined (p. 780). Similarly, Jackson and Messick (1965) attemp ted to define the criteria essential for a creative product. They proposed that a cr eative product must satisfy four criterions,

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14 which are explained in order with respect to the progression of complexity, and are dependent on the ones that precede it. To ensure a products’ cr eativity, Jackson and Messick (1965) argue that the following must be true: a product must be both unusual and appropria te in relation to its norms, fitting the context of its response or situation, and evoke surprise and satisfaction to the viewer; these two criterions are used conjointly rather than independently. a product must transform and overcome c onventional constraints, creating new forms; and be stimulating. a product must possess “condensation”—re quiring continued contemplation, or savoring—where apparent simplicity and complexity are unified. Jackson and Messick (1965) were also sensit ive to the expected emotional or aesthetic responses transmitted by the product to the viewer s. They felt was important to not only look at the “responsive” qualities of th e creative product (i.e. unusualness, appropriateness, transformation, and condensatio n), but also to discuss them in relative terms (1965). Amabile’s (1982) consensual or operational definition of creativity is widely used for subjective, contextually-bound assessmen ts of products. She states that: A product or response is creative to the extent that the appropriate observers independently agree it is creative. Appropriate observers are those familiar with the domain in which the product was create d or the response articulated. Thus, creativity can be regarded as the quality of products or res ponses judged to be creative by appropriate observ ers, and it can be regarded as the process by which something so judged is produced (1982, p. 1001). Amabile (1983) argues that it is impossibl e to utilize objective criteria alone for analyzing and identifying products as creative. For example, the beauty of something or someone is decided based on judgments of others—where defined characteristics of beauty may or may not be applied. Therefore, Amabile (1983) suggested that in order to

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15 identify something as creative, there must be some type of subjective assessment included in the methodology. There are benefits to pair ing objective dimensions of creativity with subjective assessments of experts. Sobel and Rothe nberg (1980) solicited two internationally acclaimed artists to rate sketches on three di mensions. In this study, the raters were informed of the protocol by which to asse ss the sketches. The researchers defined creativity in terms of originality and value, and explained the criteria to assess for: Originality of sketches: the sketch presents a fresh, new or novel design, structure, image, or conception; Value of sketch: the artistic worth of th e sketch, determined by factors such as effectiveness, visual interest or visual power, coherence or unity, intelligibility, emotional impact, “says” or “conveys” something; Overall creative pote ntial of the art product: degr ee to which the product is both original and of value (Sobel and Rothenberg, 1980, p. 957). Similarly, Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi (1976) evaluated works of art by incorporating four different groups of j udges—two expert and two nonexpert groups. These judges were asked to use their own s ubjective views while rating the drawings on the three dimensions of or iginality, craftsmanship, a nd overall aesthetic value. Assessment of Creative Products The analysis of products has long been seen as the forerunner of assessment methods for identifying creativity (MacKi nnon, 1978). The types of investigations employed throughout literature run the gamut. Simple, straightforward rating scales have been utilized while complex assessment t echniques have been used to record value through the use of expert judges. Some studies employ a single criterion such as originality (Simonton, 1980), while others use multiple criteria like creativity, technical quality, attractiveness, inte rest, expressiveness, integr ating capacity, and goodness of

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16 example (Christiaans, 2002). Exploring both ideas, Ward and Cox (1974) compared the use of a single criterion versus multiple criteria for the assessment of creativity to examine if sex and socioeconomic status were associated with the evaluated creativeness of a product. A radio contest was held wher e “listeners were inv ited to submit humorous and original little green things ” (p. 202). In two studies, j udges evaluated these products using the criteria: originality, infrequency, at tractiveness, humor, complexity, and effort (Ward & Cox, 1974). In the first study, using on ly the criterion of or iginality, the authors found “a significant association between social status measures and originality for entrants whose products repres ented some investments of effort” (p. 210). The second study utilized all the criteria as a subset to originality and reported that humor, infrequency, and amount of effort were the best predictors of or iginality. Ward and Cox’s efforts proved effective for supporting the idea of using seve ral dimensions to predict creativity. Several instruments for assessing creativ e products have been developed by researchers that are based on theoretical m odels. Researchers have taken different approaches to establishing these models but with a similar go al—solving the criterion problem. In the examples reviewed below, Taylor’s (1975) theoretical model introduces seven criteria that can be used to evaluate the degree of “effective creativeness” of a product. This framework guided Besemer and Treffinger (1981) to introduce a theoretical matrix that disc usses the attributes of a creative product. Additionally, Amabile (1983) introduces criteria for subj ective assessment through the use of expert judges.

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17 In 1975, Taylor formally presented the Creative Product Inventory for assessing creativity of products. This theoretical m odel evaluated products using seven criteria: “ generation the extent to which it generates or produces new ideas; reformulation the extent to which the product introduces signifi cant change or modification in oneself or others; originality the degree of the product’s useful ness, uncommonness, or statistical infrequency; relevancy the extent to which the product satisfactorily prov ides a solution to a problem; hedonics the valence or degree of attraction the product commands; complexity the degree of range, depth, scope, or in tricacy of the information contained in the product; and condensation the degree to which the pro duct simplifies, unifies, and integrates” (Taylor, 1975, p. 314, 316). Creative Product Analysis Matrix The review of literature on creative products and the char acteristics or attributes presented in previous creativity studies encouraged Besemer & Treffinger (1981) to synthesize and organize the lite rature into the Creative Produc t Analysis Matrix (CPAM). This theoretical framework hypothesized that th e three related categories created were the “fundamental dimensions, the independent va riables of creativeness manifested in creative products” (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p. 163). Besemer (1998) also argues that the model can be used for any type of ‘artifact” of the creative process including works of art and new product ideas. The th ree creative product at tributes included (1) novelty, (2) resolution, and (3) el aboration and synthesis. Novelty refers to the newness of the product in terms of concepts, technique s, methods, and materials used to make the product. The resolution of a product indicate d the correctness of the solution to the problem at hand, and elaboration and synthesis deals with the stylistic attributes of the product (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981; Be semer and O’Quin, 1986; 1999; Besemer,

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18 1998). These three characteristics are further broken down into facets. Early literature on the CPAM framework illustrates 14 facets; ho wever, the model currently demonstrates 9 facets that are: “for novelty originality and surprise; for resolution logical, useful, valuable, and understandable; and for elaboration and synthesis organic, well-crafted, and elegant (Besemer & O’Quin, 1999, p. 287) Besemer (2003) later referred to Elaboration and Synthesis simp ly as Style (Table 2-1). Novelty Resolution Style The extent of newness of the product; in terms of the number and extent of new processes, new techniques, new measures, new concepts including; in terms of the newness of the product both in and out of the field. Surprise The product presents unexpected or unanticipated information to the user, listener, or viewer. Original The product is unusual or infrequently seen in a universe of products made by people with similar experience and training. How well the product works, functions, and does what it is supposed to do. The degree to which the product fits or meets the needs of the problematic situation. Logical The product or solution follows the acceptable and understood rules for the discipline. Useful The product has clear, practical applications. Valuable The product is judged worthy because it fills a financial, physical, social, or psychological need. Understandable The product is presented in a communicative, self-disclosing way, which is “user-friendly.” The degree to which the product combines unlike elements into a refined, developed, coherent whole, statement or unit. Organic The product has a sense of wholeness or completeness about it. All the parts “work well” together. Well-Crafted The product has been worked and reworked with care to develop it to its highest possible level for this point in time. Elegant The product shows a solution that is expressed in a refined, understated way. Table 2-1. Creative Product Analysis Ma trix (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p. 164; Besemer, 2003) A variety of creative produc ts were assessed using the CPAM model. The testing instrument developed by Besemer and her co lleagues was used to measure the creative attributes of products. Largely ba sed on Taylor and Sandler’s (1972) Creative Product Inventory the bipolar, adjective scale created was derived from the theoretical model and later termed the Creative Product Semantic Scale (CPSS). The scale measured the three characteristics of the CPAM model—novelty, resolution, and elaboration and synthesis—

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19 by using several semantic pairs of adj ectives (Besemer & O’Quin, 1986; 1987). The CPSS started with 110 adjectives using 4-point scale ratings; though, af ter many tests, the instrument was modified to 55 bipolar items with 7-point scale ratings. The CPSS instrument that Besemer and her colleagues created has been used in its entire form in some studies, while others have chosen a shorter, modified version. Lobert and Dologite (1994) felt it was important to adapt the instrument to the specific domain and product being investigated. Following suggestions given by expert judges, four items were removed from the scale because they were either considered inappropriate for the domain or were repetitive, and two more items were added. Lobert and Dologite (1994) also thought it was necessary to capture the ov erall assessment in order to explore the correlations with the other scales. Thus, an overall creativity dimension was included in the scale as well. Other studies have chosen to utilize only the CPAM. By using the matrix as a theoretical framework, researchers have been ab le create valuable instruments specific to their studies. One study utili zed the CPAM to generate a 52-item survey for assessing products from the perspective of the cons umer (Horn & Salvendy, 2006). Centrality, importance, and desire were recognized as sign ificant predictors of consumer satisfaction and purchasing ability. In another study, Cropley and Cropley (2000) wanted to see if engineering students would produce more creative ideas if they were taught creativit y by way of class lectures. Products made by the engineering undergrads were evaluated using an instrument that combined certain ideas from the CPAM and the Creative Product Inventory The product was subjectively judged on the dimensions of: “ effectiveness (distance traveled), novelty

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20 (originality and surprisingness), elegance (understandability and workmanlike finish), and germinality (usefulness, ability to open up new pe rspectives)” (pg. 211). An Overall Impression dimension was also included to en courage students to be as creative as possible. This fifth dimension was effec tive in illustrating whether effectiveness, novelty, elegance, and/or germinality were responsible for overall impression or perceived creativity of the product. In this study, novelty and germinality correlated significantly with overall impr ession, suggesting that the rate r’s subjective assessment of the product was influenced by how orig inal and useful the product was. Consensual Assessment Technique Supplementary to the consensual defini tion of creativity pr eviously discussed, Amabile (1983) developed a theoretic framew ork for the assessment of creativity. She clarifies two essential elements that discuss the nature of the observer’s responses. This framework operates on the idea that: “A product or response will be judged as creative to the extent that: 1. it is both a novel and appropria te, useful, correct or valuab le response to the task at hand, and 2. the task is heuristic rather th an algorithmic” (Amabile, 1983, p. 33). While incorporating the common approach of most product definitions where creativity occurs when there is novelty and appropriateness, Amabile’s framework takes into account the type of task involved. A he uristic task is one in which the “path to the solution” is not obvious and eas ily noticeable (1983). By c ontrast, an algorithmic task has a path that is clear-cut and simple. Amabile (1982; 1983) developed an asse ssment method based on this theoretical framework. The consensual assessment te chnique relies heav ily on the subjective

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21 judgments of experts within the domain of the product under ev aluation. There are several requirements for this method that shou ld be mentioned: the judges involved in the assessment process should have some experi ence with the domain at hand; judges should make their assessments independently; judges should assess the product for other dimensions in addition to cr eativity; judges should rate pr oducts relative to one another on the specific dimensions in question; and each judge should examine the products randomly and in a different order (Amabile, 1983). The most important criterion for this techni que is that the expe rt’s assessments be reliable. Amabile (1983) claims that, “by defi nition, inter-judge reliab ility is equivalent to construct validity. If a ppropriate judges independently agree that a given product is highly creative, then it can and must be accep ted as such” (p. 39; Hennessey & Amabile, 1988). Amabile and her colleagues (Ama bile, 1982; 1983; Hennessey & Amabile, 1988) have developed and tested this technique in several studies involving children and adults, utilizing poems, stories, and collages. A cons istently high inter-rater reliability score has been reported for over thirty experiment al studies (Amabile, 1982; 1983; Hennessey & Amabile, 1988). For example, one study asked female students in a psychology course to create a collage (Amabile, 1979). Fifteen arti sts evaluated the collag es on 16 dimensions of judgment. The inter-judge reliability was .79, where reliability for 15 of the 16 dimensions was .70 or above, 12 of the 15 we re over .80, and the median reliability was .84, illustrating significant in ter-rater reliability. Summary The complex nature of creative is illust rated in a thorough revi ew of literature. Though difficult to define, creativ ity is multifaceted and can be identified as the creative person, the creative process, the creative product, and/or the creative press (Mooney,

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22 1963). Having the widely accepted characteri stics of novelty and appropriateness, the creative product is recognized as “the st arting point” of all creativity studies and examined in further detail. Specific types of creative product assessment methods were introduced including two that are relevant to the methodology of this study—the Creative Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & Treffi nger, 1981) and the Consensual Assessment Technique (Amabile, 1983). The Creative Product Analysis Matrix utili zes the criteria of novelty, resolution, and style to describe the creativity of a product, and the Consensual Assessment Technique is based on the assumption that creative products are independently judged by experts familiar to the domain of the product. Studies using both methods reported high reliability ratings.

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23 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Research Design This exploratory study aims to measure how design professionals judge creativity of entry-level interior designers by examini ng senior interior de sign student portfolios from the University of Flor ida. The study integrated su rvey and interview research methods into a three-part investigation. Firs t, professional interior designers watched an overview slideshow presentation of the selected portfolios. Next, designers viewed and evaluated each portfolio indivi dually using a locally develo ped evaluation form. Finally, open-ended interview questions were asked to realize de signer’s perceptions of the creativity of entry-level portfolios. The de scriptive and statistical analyses developed from the resulting data were acquired dur ing the second and th ird phases. This triangulation of methods increases the conf idence of the analysis (Denzin, 1984; Yin, 1984). Setting The University of Florida was selected to be part of this study because of its extensive history and notable design program a nd institutional standing. As a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1985, the University of Florida has been committed to advancing American universities through intensive research. Encouraged within the univers ity, research is an integral part of all the schools and colleges on the University if Florida’s campus. The Department of Interior Design is

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24 especially dedicated to “promoting, deve loping, and advancing the interior design discipline through exce llence in teaching, research, a nd service (Mission and Goals). The interior design program at the Univers ity of Florida initially began in 1948 and was later established as a Department in the College of Architecture in 1982. Now rooted in the College of Design, Construction, and Pl anning, the Department of Interior Design offers students the opportunity to graduate wi th a Bachelor of Design in Interior Design degree from a CIDA accredited program. The Co uncil for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) has been acknowledging interior desi gn programs from North American colleges and universities for over 35 years. The Univer sity of Florida’s Department of Interior Design is currently one of CIDA’s 201 accr edited design programs. The Council takes great pride in the accreditation process a nd standards required of programs seeking accreditation: The Professional Standards set fort h by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation are used to evaluate inte rior design programs that prepare students for entry-level interior de sign practice and position th em for future professional growth. The Council is firmly committed to setting high standards for interior design education, challenging others to meet and exceed those standards and seeking ways to continuously elevate and evolve the standards, thus significantly contributing to the advanced professi onalism of the interior design field (Professional Standards). Since the University of Florida’s Interior De sign program is accredited, it is assumed that the students graduating from this program are of the caliber of entry-level designers for the Interior Design profession. Furthermore, the University of Florida ha s also been recognized by leading design firms as one of the nation’s top interior design schools (DesignIntelligence, 2005). Printed annually, America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools is a guide for prospective students, acknowledging the top ar chitecture, landscape ar chitecture, interior

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25 design, and industrial design programs throughout the nation. The University of Florida has appeared in this publication within the t op 25 design schools five times since its first printing in 2001. Pilot Study Prior to the data collect ion, a pilot study was conduc ted that proved to be invaluable. Sommer and So mmer (2002) stress the importance of pre-testing study procedures and tools in order to identify a ny problems and omissions and to refine survey and interview questions. They believe that a pilot study does improve “the precision, reliability, and validity of the data collected in the actual study” (pg. 9). Two interior design educators from the Un iversity of Florida where selected to pilot test the instrument and study procedur e. These faculty members were chosen because they exemplify the characteristics of the participants in this study; they both have practiced interior design prof essionally, and have experience reviewing portfolios. With no time restrictions, the educators viewed th e slide show, evaluate d the portfolios in random order, and then responded to the el even interview questions. The overall evaluation instrument and interview protocol were effective; however, one portfolio was eliminated and replaced by another, and the s lideshow was modified to display each slide a few seconds longer with a clear, visual break in between student projects. The slide show incorporated a randomly selected project from each of the 12 portfolios with a blank screen appearing be tween each project. The purpose of the slide show was to allow the viewer to have a chance to get an overall sense of all the portfolios in the sample. Initially it was set-up to pl ay automatically and advance each slide after five seconds. After the pilo t test was conducted, both desi gners noted how quickly the slides advanced, not permitting enough evaluation time to develop an impression of the

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26 portfolios. Instead of the projects advanci ng after five seconds, th e amount of time each slide was displayed on the screen was delaye d to seven seconds. A colored slide, additionally included after each blank scr een, color coordinated with the project following it and did not add or detract from the project itse lf. The blank slide provided the viewer a visual break while the colored slide prepared the viewer for the next project. Once the pilot test was completed, each edu cator was asked to so rt the 12 portfolios into groups indicating excellent, average, a nd poor creativity so th at the sample of portfolios represented a range in quality. This approach of grouping or rating the portfolios relative to one another by expert judges fo llows the widely accepted Consensual Assessment Technique of crea tive products develope d by Amabile (1982). The technique requires products in a domain to be judged in relati on to each other by experts familiar to that domain and the judgments must be made independently. This technique was used by two design educators to sort the portfolios into the three quality related groups. The resulting groups differed by one portfolio; one educator classified a portfolio as being average, while the other vi ewed it as poor. It was also noted that the number of portfolios in the excellent group wa s small compared to the average and poor groupings. Therefore, the complete sample represented mostly average portfolios, and the poor group included more por tfolios than the excellent gr oup. As a result, the lowest scoring portfolio was replaced with an above average portfolio to balance the quality of the portfolios within the sample. Sample The interior design portfolios were the prope rty of the University of Florida from the Department of Interior Design’s graduating class of 2005. The sample of portfolios, representing about one-third of the graduating class (n = 12), was selected because they

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27 were available in digital format. Each stude nt’s portfolio showcased what they perceived as their best work produced throughout th eir design studios in the interior design program. The 12 portfolios used in the sample represented a varying number of projects that illustrated mostly healthcare, corporate, retail, hospitality, and residential design, and portfolios include projects completed indivi dually and with a gr oup. The number of slides included in each portfolio ranged from 4 to 31 with a mean number of 17.75 slides. The portfolios were submitted in varying digital formats that required use of many different computer programs in order to view the portfolios. Prior to the pilot test, the portfolios were formatted into individual Microsoft PowerPoint slide shows. The integrity and context of the portfolios were kept exactly the same as when they were originally submitted. By formatting the por tfolios into a single layout, it allowed the portfolios to be viewed by a particular computer program which was more time efficient, and controlled for variances in the many pr ograms capable of producing similar graphic renditions. Participants For this study, several design firms were se lected based on specific criteria: firm size, services, clientele, accolades, and lo cation. Each firm that was selected to participate was similar in size with 16 or more design employees in both medium and large sized firms. This study adopted the definition by Battaglini (2003) where a medium size firms employ 8 to 49 employees and large fi rms have 50 or more people on staff. (See Table 3-1). The twenty-one participan ts came from 4 medium firms and 6 large firms. The scope of services and target cl ientele are similar and include but are not limited to corporate, hospita lity, retail, education, govern ment, healthcare, justice, residential, and information design. Each fi rm has received outside awards or honors in

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28 the architecture and design fields, such as a nnual awards, design competitions, awards of excellence, and design merit awards from bot h American Society of Interior Designers and American Institute of Arch itects. The firms are located in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando, all of which offer a comprehensiv e and competitive design market in the Southeast Region of the United States. Jack sonville was home to 4 firms, Tampa had 6 firms involved, and 2 firms in Orlando particip ated. A total of 12 of fices contributed to the study, but because two firms had office bran ches in two of the three locations, there were a total of 10 firms involved in the study (See Table 3-1). Table 3-1. Firm profile Location Firm Name Firm Size Participants (n=21) ASD Large 1 Gresham Smith and Partners Large 2 Rink Design Partnership Medium 2 Jacksonville Rolland, DelValle & Bradley Medium 2 HKS Large 1 Orlando Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo Large 1 Alfonso Architects Medium 2 Elements Design Medium 1 Gensler Large 5 Gresham Smith and Partners Large 2 Gould Evans Associates Large 1 Tampa HKS Large 1 Note: Firms listed in italics have been ranked in Top 100 Giants of 2006 by Interior Design Magazine (Davidsen & Leung, 2006). The 10 firms utilized in the study were sel ected because of their high credentials in the field of design. Of the 10 firms involved in the study, the six large firms have been recognized and ranked by a national magazine based on their monetary growth. ASD, Gresham Smith and Partners, HKS, Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo, Gensler, and Gould Evans Associates have received recogn ition in Interior Design Magazine as the top

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29 100 industry leaders of 2006 (Davidsen & Leung, 2006). The four remaining firms not ranked by this magazine and are medium si zed firms; Rink Design Partnership, Rolland DelValle and Bradley, Alfonso Architects, a nd Elements Design are also recognized in the field as influential and innovative. After selecting firms that met all the cr iteria, the designer’s participation was requested. Designers were selected from each firm based on their position and responsibilities. In order to evaluate portfo lios of interior design graduates seeking entrylevel placement, it was important that the j udges had experience in viewing and assessing portfolios of potential new hires. A le tter was sent to each firm acknowledging a designer who was endorsed as a leader within the firm. Th e letter explained the purpose of the study and the amount of time anticipat ed for participation (See Appendix A). A follow-up telephone call was made to the designer three days later soliciting participation. After a verbal agreement, the designer was asked for a recommendation of another designer within the firm who had sim ilar credentials and w ould be available to participate in the study. If the designer had a suggestion, in most cases a verbal connection was initiated by the designer. On occasion, the researcher contacted the accompanying designer. Of the thirty-six desi gners solicited over a period of six weeks, twenty-two designers agreed to represent the sample of judges that were responsible for assessing the 12 portfolios. Following further review of the particip ants’ credentials, one designer with only one year working in the profession was eliminated from the participant sample. There were a few occurrences in the da ta collection that contained missing information. During the individual portfolio evaluations, answers were left blank for

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30 three participants. Two incidences appeared to be an oversight, while the third was attributed to problems accessing four of th e 12 portfolios. Completing these four portfolios at a later time was not suitable fo r the participant. After discussing the matter with a statistician, it was determined that si nce the participant eval uated over 50% of the material, his information was valuable and it was not necessary to eliminated it from the research. The total of 21 participants was made up of 9 males (43%) and 12 females (57%). The mean age was 42.6 years (n=20). The mean number of years th e participants had been practicing interior design or architecture was 18.2 years. The participants reviewed an average of 20 portfolios per year for an average of 10 years (See Table 3-2). Table 3-2. Participant design and portfolio review experience Participants Age (n=20) Design Experience (n=21) Reviewer (n=21) Portfolio / yr (n=20) Review Time (n=20) M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD Total 42.60 0.71 18.198.69 10.207.52 20.0719.48 59.1018.94 Reviewer = Number of years particip ant has reviewed entry-level portfolios Portfolio / yr = Number of entry-level portfolios participant reviews per year The participants (n=21) selected ranged fr om principals, vice-presidents, associates, directors of interior divisions senior managers, project ma nagers, project designers, and interior designers or architects. The particip ants were categorized into four groups based on job position (Coleman, 2002). The following illustrates the four groups created: Principle (n=6) Design Director ; includes vice-presidents, firs t level managers, and design managers (n=8) Project Manager ; includes senior designers, seni or project designer, and project designers (n=5) Designer ; includes interior designe rs and architects (n=2)

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31 Participant Procedure Upon initiating the study pro cedure, all 21 participants were informed of the consent requirements and agr eed to participate. It wa s made known that: the study did not anticipate any risks or benefits, participant identities were to remain confidential, participation was completely voluntary, and no penalty would be assessed for withdrawing from the study. When a research study involves human subject s, the University of Florida requires approval from the Institutional Review Boar d (IRB) (Appendix B). To submit to the IRB, the necessary documents included a conc ise description of th e study’s purpose and participants, a summary of the intended methodology, and examples of the evaluation form, interview questions, and consent form. The board granted complete approval for the research study. Instrument Since both quantitative and qualitative methods were implemented in this study, two different types of instrumentation were developed by the researcher. The quantitative portion of the study required a t ool that measured characteris tics of a creative portfolio and allowed for numerical anal ysis (See Appendix C). The survey tool created for this study quantified specific attributes of creative products and entry-le vel portfolios. An evaluation form emerged that included fi ve dimensions: novelty, resolution, style, creativity and hiring potentia l. The qualitative evaluation was captured with a questionnaire (See Appendix D). The five ope n-ended interview questions were designed to get focused responses to each participan t’s subjective views of creativity and entrylevel portfolios. Six additional questions were utilized to determine background information and establish a profile of the sample firms.

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32 The Creative Product Analysis Matrix (B esemer & Treffinger, 1981) framework was used to organize the attri butes of creativity into three ma jor characteristics. The nine attributes, along with two additional attribut es for both creativity and hiring potential, became the thirteen points the evaluation form measured. The three conceptual dimensions that were identified—novelty, reso lution, and style—relate d to analyzing the creativity of a product. Novelty refers to the newness of the product and can be characterized by originality and surprise ; resolution deals w ith the usefulness, logicalness, value, and understandability of the product; and the style of the product attests to the physical attributes of the finished product and co nsists of an organic, wellcrafted, and elegant design (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981; Besemer, 2003). Overall creativity and hiring potential we re included in the evaluation form. These additional attributes pr ovided a way to connect the su ccess of a portfolio to its genuine purpose. The creativity variable aw arded a value to each portfolio based on its overall creativity. Though the Creative Product Analysis Matrix asse rts that a product’s creativity is a result of its va lues of novelty, resolution, and style, an overall value of the product’s creativity is not accounted for. Inco rporating this variable provided a way to compare the creativeness of each portfolio. In addition, the last variable of hiring potential was especially importa nt considering that entry-leve l interior designers create portfolios in order to gain pr ofessional employment. Thus, it was necessary to identify the value professional interior designers place on the di fferent aspects of entry-level interior design portfolios. Including these two variables provided additional information that was useful for determining how and which of the characteristics of creativity had the most influence.

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33 Since the participants had not been info rmed beforehand of the criteria being evaluated and no concrete definition of cr eativity was mentioned, the questionnaire was utilized to seek out each of the participant’s personal view s on creativity in terms of interior design and entry-level portfolios. The final six of the eleven total questions captured pertinent background information on pa rticipant’s personal ex perience and their firm’s services and specialties. Procedures The data collection took place at each of the respective firms. The designers scheduled a two hour block of time to complete the study. A packet was created for each judge containing two compact di scs (CD), 12 evaluation forms, and the list of interview questions. The procedure was broken into three parts. First, to get an overall impression of the portfolios as a group, judges watc hed a programmed slide show of the 12 portfolios. Second, judges viewed and evalua ted the 12 portfolios ba sed on the attributes of creativity. Third, the researcher aske d each judge eleven questions regarding creativity, portfolios, and th eir design background. Timed slide show In order for the judges to evaluate the portf olios, it was necessary for them to get a glimpse of each one before individually asse ssing them. Amabile (1996) incorporates a similar method in her Consensual Assessment Technique where “the judges familiarize themselves with the products to be rated before they actually begin the rating task” (pg.75). Amabile suggests using a random samp le of approximately 20% of the entire product or products when rating a product(s) co uld be tedious and time consuming. As a result of this concept, a CD was created that, when inserted into a computer, automatically started a timed Microsoft Powe rPoint slide show illustrating one project

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34 from each portfolio. Although each project was randomly selected from each of the individual portfolios, efforts were made to ensure that similar projects weren’t viewed directly next to one another in the sequence. These projects allowe d the judges to get a quick look at all of the portfolios before th ey evaluated each one individually. Evaluations For the second step of the procedure, five different CD’s were made that contained the 12 files of the portfolios in question. The digital port folios were formatted into individual Microsoft PowerPoint slide shows that began as s oon as each file was set in motion. Randomly changing the order in which the portfolios appeared on the five CD’s helped control for ordering effects that woul d confound the results. In addition, the five CD’s were randomly issued to the twentyone judges. Although the portfolios remained the same on each CD, two judges from the same firm never viewed the portfolios in the same order. Since these slide shows were not programm ed to advance automatically, each judge could control the portfolio and the time they spent evaluating. The twenty-one judges were asked to view and evaluate each one us ing the evaluation form. As soon as each judge received the CD of portfolios to assess, the time the first portfol io started was noted as well as the time when the judges finished evaluating the last one This observation was recorded to see if there were unusual va riances in the evaluation times between each judge. Interviews The final step in the procedure was co mprised of interviews. As soon as the evaluations of the 12 portfolios were co mpleted, the interviews commenced. The questions were structured and open-ended. A tape-recorder was used to document the

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35 verbal responses of the judges. One part icipant asked to see the questions before answering so they could formulate commen ts. In other instances, the participant preferred to respond to the questions in wr iting. This was the case in 67% of the interviews. This was an unexpected option, but became helpful in situations where two or more designers were participating at the same time, the meeting time turned out to be inconvenient for the designer and the designe r didn’t have enough time to complete the entire process, or if a designer was out of town. The questions were divided into two sections The first section was an extension of the evaluation process. Five questions we re asking questions re garding creativity and entry-level portfolios. The second section as ked six questions involving the participant’s background and history in the interior design profession. The responses to the first set of questions on creativity and entry-level interior design portfolios had to be coded. Since th e questions were openended, participants’ responses varied. To be more reliable, the researcher and an inte rior design educator independently coded the answers. The res ponses were coded similarly for each question. For the first two questions that asked for the participant’s definition of creativity and entry-level portfolios, the researcher and edu cator were able to or ganize the responses according to the creative product attributes. When designers mentioned one or more characteristics of one attribute, the answer wa s coded for both characteristics. If the same designer mentioned characteristics for one or more attributes, the answer was coded to include all attributes mentioned. In the thir d and forth questions th at introduced other factors besides creativity, categories repres enting those responses were included.

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36 Limitations There was one limitation this study couldn’ t control. Since the Creative Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981) guiding the study accredits a product’s creativity to its values of novelty, resoluti on, and style, it does not provide an overall value of the product’s creativ ity. Besemer and Treffinger (1981) indicate that novelty, resolution, and style define the creativity of an already creative product. However, in order to compare these attributes to the creativity of the desi gn portfolio, another variable was included to give a value to each portfolio based on its creativity. Summary This study, which combined quantitativ e and qualitative methods, gathered information on creativity of entry-level interior design portfolios. Twelve interior design portfolios from the University of Florida we re evaluated on several characteristics of creativity. Twenty-one participants were selected from high profile architecture and design firms that were noted as industry l eaders. The designers not only had valuable experience in design, but more importantly had experience reviewi ng portfolios. The study procedure was accomplished in three parts; first, designers viewed a slide show that illustrated one randomly selected project from each portfolio, then, designers evaluated the 12 individual portfolios using a locally de veloped form, and finally, a questionnaire was completed to obtain the designers’ subjec tive views of creativ ity and entry-level portfolios.

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37 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of what professional designers consider creative in entry-leve l interior design portfolios. Designers participating in the study overviewed selected portfolios, evaluated each portfolio individually, and responded to que stions that explored their vi ews of creativity in interior design and portfolio evaluation. A descripti on of the 21 participants responsible for assessing the 12 portfolios along with a detailed account of the data analysis precedes the discussion of the research questions. This study utilized three rese arch questions that examined the importance of novelty, resoluti on, and style in pred icting creativity and hiring potential, and sought fu rther elaboration on designers ’ perceptions of entry-level interior design portfolios. All statistical analyses reported in th e study employ an alpha level of .05 to determine significance. Participant Demographics The sample of participants consisted of interior designers and architects from leading firms in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. Two of the ten firms had multiple offices involved in the study. For example, designers from Gresham Smith and Partners participated in Jacksonville and Tampa, a nd designers from HKS participated in Orlando and Tampa. The total of 12 offices contribu ted seven designers from Jacksonville, two from Orlando, and twelve from Tampa. The pa rticipating designers an swered a series of demographic and employment experience questi ons including age, type of design work,

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38 job position, design experience, number of y ears reviewing portfolio s, and number of portfolios reviewed per year. Participants (n = 21) ranged in age from 28 to 62, with a mean age of 42.60 and standard deviation of 8.65. Table 4-1 illustrate s that 42.9% (n = 9) of the designers were male while 57.1% (n = 12) were female. The age range of the males (SD = 11.55) was much broader than that of the females (SD = 5.72). Table 4-1. Participant demographics Gender n % Age (n = 20) M SD Male 0 9 0 42.9 43.89 11.55 Female 12 0 57.1 41.55 0 5.72 Total 21 100.0 42.60 0 8.65 The specializations of design work from the designers’ respective firms are illustrated in Figure 4-1. Both public and pr ivate sectors of desi gn practice included healthcare, corporate, retail, education, government, hospitali ty, and residential. The greatest number of designers in the study pr acticed corporate design (n = 16), while the least number engaged in government design (n = 4). All 21 designers practiced in the public or commercial sector, with an additi onal six also working in the private or residential arena. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Healthcare Corporate Retail Education Government HospitalityResidential Frequency Figure 4-1. Design specializations of participating firms

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39 Position titles of these designers included Principle, Vice-President, Associate, Director of Interior Divisi on, Senior Manager, Project Ma nager, Project Designer, and Interior Designer or Architect. These respons es were organized into four groups based on level of responsibility as: Principle, De sign Director, Project Manager, and Designer (Coleman, 2002). Figure 4-2 represents the frequency of eac h group within the participant sample. Design Directors composed the largest portion with 38.1% (n = 8), followed by Principles with 28.6% (n = 6), Project Managers with 23.6% (n = 5), and Designers with 9.5% (n = 2). Figure 4-2. Distributi on of job positions In addition, questions were asked regard ing experience in design as well as experience reviewing portfolios. These variab les appear to correlate naturally with job position. Table 4-2 illustrates that the hi gher the position, the more experience the participant had in design practi ce and with portfolio reviews. The six Principles had the most design experience with 24.17 years, fo llowed by Design Directors (20.38 years), Project Managers (11.80 years), and Designers (7.50 years). JOB POSITION 9.5%, n = 2 28.6%, n = 6 38.1%, n = 8 23.8%, n = 5 Principle Desi g n Directo r Project Manager Designer

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40 Table 4-2. Position title by employment variables Group n % Design Exp. (n = 21) Review (n = 21) Portfolio / yr (n = 21) M SD M SD M SD Principle 6 28.6 24.17 8.80 15.50 6.63 26.42 20.60 Design Director 8 38.1 20.38 6.37 11.57 6.02 27.44 20.61 Project Manager 5 23.8 11.80 5.93 05.60 6.66 07.80 10.33 Designer 2 09.5 7.50 3.54 01.00 1.41 02.25 01.77 Design Exp. = Number of years participant has practiced design Review = Number of years participan t has reviewed entry-level portfolios Portfolio / yr = Number of entry-level portfolios participant reviews per year The Principles reviewed portfolios for 15.50 years; Design Directors reviewed for 11.57 years; Project managers reviewed for 5.60 years; and Designers reviewed portfolios for 1.00 year. The approximate nu mber of portfolios reviewed each year showed that the two most experience d groups—Principles and Design Directors— reviewed the greatest number of portfolios. On average, Design Directors (27.44) and Principles (26.42) review comparably the sa me number of portfolios each year, Project Managers review 7.80 portfolios per year, and Designers reviewed only 2.25 portfolios per year. Data Analysis The majority of the data analysis cen tered on examining relationships between three creative product attributes. Designers evaluated 12 portfolios using a locally designed instrument that measured thirteen it ems using a five-point Likert scale ranging from poor to excellent. The instrument contai ned five variables that consisted of items defining the creative product at tributes of novelty, resolutio n, and style, as well as creativity and hiring pote ntial. Creativity was included to gauge the creativeness of the

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41 portfolio, while hiring potential was included to measure the value of entry-level interior designers seeking employment. To ensure that the items correlated and consistently measured the main variables, data entered into Microsoft Excel was test ed for inter-item reliability. Table 4-3 illustrates the thirteen items that make up th e five variables. The items within each variable were pair-tested to see if they co rrelated. The items that make up the style variable, for example, were pair-tested three times: well-crafted with organic, wellcrafted with elegant, and elegant with organi c. These correlations were used to obtain alpha ratings using Cronbach’s alpha a test that measures the reliability of variable in producing consistent results (Blaikie, 2003). A high alpha value indicates a high level of consistency among items, while an alpha rating less than .70 is not c onsidered reliable. The reliability ratings for the five variables can be seen in Table 44. All five variables were found to be consistent reaching an al pha level of .85 or hi gher, with creativity reaching the highest reliability with an alpha score of .92. Table 4-3. Portfolio assessment variables Novelty Resolution Style Creativity Hiring Potential Original Logical Well-crafted Creative Potential Surprise Useful Organic Innovative Promise Understandable Elegant Valuable Evaluations of the 13 items w ithin the portfolio instrument resulted in a total of 248 data points. This data was inserted in to SPSS, a statistical software program, and analyzed. Table 4-4 illustrates the mean and standard deviati ons of the five variables. Since the findings show the mean scores for the five variables were between 3 and 4, the thirteen items within the evaluation instru ment were rated between average and good.

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42 Resolution was the highest scoring variable with a mean score of 3.53 and consequently had the smallest spread of scores (SD = 0.77). However, resolution had one of the lowest average inter-item correlations (.69). Ev en so, resolution had a high alpha level indicating a strong correlation among items. Alpha has a positive correlation with the number of items within a variable: the more items in a variable, the higher the alpha value will be (Blaikie, 2003). Novelty had th e lowest mean score of 3.21. The spread of the distribution of scores was largest for hi ring potential shown with a standard deviation of 0.99. Table 4-4. Descriptive statis tics of novelty, resolution, st yle, creativity, and hiring potential Variable (n = 248) Average InterItem Correlation Alpha Mean Standard Deviation Novelty .74 .85 3.21 .90 Resolution .69 .90 3.53 .77 Style .66 .85 3.44 .88 Creativity .85 .92 3.31 .95 Hiring Potential .84 .91 3.37 .99 Research Question One What is the relative importance of novelt y, resolution, and style in entry-level interior design portfolios in predicting creativity? This question considers the three creative product variables, as identified by Besemer and Treffinger (1981; Besemer, 2003), in relation to the creativit y of entry-level interior desi gn portfolios. It further seeks to examine the relationship between these attributes and creativity. The analysis being undertaken is base d on the assumption that there are key attributes of a product that re late to creativity. More spec ifically, these attributes are

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43 likely to influence the degree of creativity of the product. Figur e 4-3 illustrates the possible associations and influences novelty, resolution, and style ha ve on creativity. Figure 4-3. Relationship model of novelt y, resolution, style, and creativity The associations between the three creat ive product variables (novelty, resolution, and style) and creativity can be seen in Ta ble 4-5. As a measure of the strength of association, Pearson’s r coefficient shows the larger the number, the stronger the association is between two variables; and how much variance tw o variables share in common (Blaikie, 2003). The relationships demonstrated here are all positive and significantly associated with creativity, but with varying strengths of association. Examining the associations between these four variables, the str ongest relation exists between novelty and creativity ( r = .89). Style also has a very strong association with creativity with a coefficient of .84. The w eakest association is between resolution and creativity ( r = .71). Even though this association is st ill considered to be strong, it is the weakest among the three creativ e product variables. Some unaccounted variance may exist between the variables but since their asso ciations are not fully correlated they are not measuring the same thing, and thus, the variables are not interchangeable. In order to understand the va riance between two variables, the r value is squared. For instance, in the relationship between novelty and creativity, r2 = .79. This means that novelty can predict creativity 79 % of the time. Additionally, style can predict creativity 71% of the time, while resolution only has a 50% chance of predicting creativity. Creativity Resolution Style Novelty

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44 Table 4-5. Correlation matrix of novelty, re solution, and style re lated to creativity Variables Novelty Resolution Style Creativity Novelty --.70* .79* .89* Resolution .70* --.81* .71* Style .79* .81* --.84* Creativity .89* .71* .84* --* p < .05 To examine these relationships further, multiple regression was used to explain the relative influence of the predictor variables on a single outcome vari able by indicating the contribution of each predictor variable when the influence of all other predictors is held constant. In this case, novelty, resoluti on, and style are the predictor variables and creativity is the outcome variable. This type of analysis assumes the relationship between variables is linear; that as one variable increases or decr eases, the other variable also increases or decreases, and that the changes in value on both variable s occur at the same rate (Blaikie, 2003). In additi on, “the predictor variables are regarded as having the same role, that is, in possibly cont ributing to an explanation of the outcome variable” (Blaikie, 2003, p. 294). The influences of the three creative produc t variables on creativity can be seen in Table 4-6. The purpose of this table is to explain the variances of creativity and to illustrate which predictor variables are the strongest contributors to creativity. By looking at the R2 value (which is the correlation coefficient for multiple regression, comparable to r2) of .84, this set of predictor variables—novelt y, resolution, and style— can explain 84% of the variance in the outcome variable. In looki ng at the significance values, novelty (t = 14.17) and style (t = 7.15) are the only two signifi cant variables (p <

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45 .05) with a t-value greater than 1.96, while re solution is not significan t with a t–score of 0.62. To further assess the individual contributions of the predictor variables, we need to examine the standardized coefficient beta for each variable. We find .61 for novelty, -.22 for resolution, and .38 for style. These values indicate that novelty has one-third more influence on creativity than style. This may be a result of the fact that there is a very strong association betwee n novelty and creativity ( r = .89), and marginally less association between style and creativity ( r = .84). Hence, novelty, defined as the original and surprising characteristics of a portfolio, is viewed as mo re creative than the stylistic attributes of well-crafted, elegant, and organic. Beta values also indicate the linear de gree of contributions by the predictor variables. Beta tells us how many standard deviation units of the predictor variable will cause an increase in one standard deviation unit in the outcome variable. In this case, as the value of creativity increas es by one standard deviati on unit, the value of novelty increases by .61 standard deviations and th e value of style incr eases by .38 standard deviations. Table 4-6. Multiple regression analysis of creativity Predictor Variables Slope (b) Std. Error Beta t Sig. Novelty 0 0.67 0.05 0 .61 14.17 .00* Resolution -0.03 0.06 -.22 -0.50 .62 0 Style 0 0.43 0.06 0 .38 0 7.15 .00* R = .92 R2 = .84 *p < .05 The data analysis from research question one initially examined the relationships between the creative product attr ibutes and creativity. Since significant associations were

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46 established, the data analysis was taken a step further to examine the strength of influences the attributes had on creativit y. Novelty, resolutio n, and style are all significantly associated with creativity, but only novelty and style significantly influence creativity. Furthermore, novelty predicts crea tivity almost two-thirds of the time, while more than one-third of creativ ity is attributed to style. Research Question Two What is the relative importance of novelt y, resolution, style, and creativity of entry-level interior design portfolio s in predicting hiring potential? This question addresses the creative product at tributes in addition to crea tivity and their influence on entry-level interior designers hiring potential. A conceptual model guided this analysis that conveyed the relationships of the five variables (Figure 4-4). The relationshi ps between hiring po tential and novelty, resolution, style, and creativity are analyzed in the same manne r as the previous research question. Figure 4-4. Relationship model of novelty, resolution, style, creativity and hiring potential By looking at the Pearson co rrelation matrix illustrati ng the five variables in question (Table 4-7), we find th at novelty, resolution, style, an d creativity are statistically Hiring Potential Resolution Novelty Creativity Style

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47 associated with hiring potential. With values ranging from .77 for novelty to .87 for style, the four variables show very strong associations with hiring potential. Style has the strongest association ( r = .87), followed by creativity ( r = .81), resolution ( r = .80), and novelty ( r = .77). The last three va riables seem to differ only marginally while presenting a larger gap between style and the others. This could possibly be indicating a stronger, independent association with hiring potential. In addi tion, the bivariate regression produced a R2 of .76. This suggests that style acc ounts for 76% of the variance, meaning that 76% of the time, style can predict hiri ng potential. The othe r three variables of creativity, resolution, and novelty accounted for 66%, 64%, and 59% of the variance, respectively. Table 4-7. Correlation matrix of novelty, resolutio n, style, and creativit y related to hiring potential Variables Novelty Resolution Style Creativity Hiring Potential Novelty --.70* .79* .89* .77* Resolution .70* --.81* .71* .80* Style .79* .81* --.84* .87* Creativity .89* .71* .84* --.81* Hiring Potential .77* .80* .87* .81* --* p < .05 Multiple regression established the independe nt influence of the set of predictor variables on hiring pote ntial. Table 4-8 shows the regr ession analysis scores of the predictor variables—novelty, resolution, style, and creativ ity—on the outcome variable— hiring potential. The R2 score (.80) indicates that this set of predictor variables can explain 80% of the variance in hiring potential By looking at the ttest values, we notice that resolution, style, and crea tivity are significant at the .05 level. Novelty’s low t-test

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48 value of 1.08 doesn’t meet the 1.96 criterion, wh ich in turn explains why this variable does not have a significant infl uence on hiring potential. The beta values indicate that style (.46) has almost twice as much influe nce on hiring potential than resolution (.25), which is followed by creativity (.19). In analyzing the contributions of resoluti on, style, and creativit y on hiring potential, we can discuss several things about the linear regression. As the va lue of hiring potential increases by one standard deviation unit, the value of style in creases by .46 standard deviations, the value of resolution will increa se by .25 standard deviations, and the value of creativity will also increase by .19 standard deviations. Table 4-8. Multiple regression an alysis of hiring potential Variables Slope (b) Std. Error Beta t Sig. Novelty 0.07 0.07 .07 1.08 .28 0 Resolution 0.30 0.06 .25 4.93 .00* Style 0.49 0.07 .46 7.04 .00* Creativity 0.18 0.07 .19 2.61 .01* R = .89 R2 = .80 *p < .05 With these results, we can summarize th e relative importance novelty, resolution, style, and creativity have on predicting hiring potential. The correla tion matrix (Table 47) illustrates the strong associ ations between all four variab les to hiring potential. The strongest association lies with style ( r = .87), followed by creativity ( r = .81), resolution ( r = .80), and novelty ( r = .78). Additionally, style has the strongest influence on hiring potential with a beta of .46. Resolution has about half as much influence ( beta = .25), creativity has even less ( beta = .19), and novelty does not sign ificantly influence hiring potential.

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49 When we analyze the results from questi on one and two, we can better understand the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. All four predictor variables have a statistically significant influence on hiring po tential. (See Figure 4-5). Since we already know that creativity is associ ated to novelty, resolution, and style, this model took into account both the direct and in direct influences. In this instance, creativity becomes an intervening mechanis m with the influence novelty, resolution, and style on hiring potential indirectly mediated through creativ ity. Since we learned in the previous question that resoluti on does not have a significant influence on creativity, the line connecting the two va riables is dashed. The associa tions between novelty and style with creativity are shown with solid line s representing a significant influence. Beta values are represented to show the degree of influences between two variables. The results from question two allow us to chart the direct influences as well. Resolution, style, and creativity have dire ct, significant influences on hiring potential, while novelty does not. Novelty does, however, influence hi ring potential indire ctly through creativity. Figure 4-5. Model of creative pr oduct variables related to hiring potential in interior design Style Novelty Hiring Potential Resolution .46* (direct effect) .25* (direct effect) .19* (direct effect) .38* (indirect effect) .61* (indirect effect) Creativity (mediator)

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50 Research Question Three How do the open-ended designer percepti ons of creativity and entry-level interior design portfolios relate to the quantitative portfolio evaluations? This question examines the similarities and differences between how professional designers personally define creativity and how they asse ss creativity of design por tfolios in terms of novelty, resolution, and style. Findings from portfolio evaluations will be analyzed relative to the four que stions posed in order to better understand designers’ perceptions of creativity. Figure 4-6 illustrates an overview of designers’ responses to the qualitative inquiry. Figure 4-6. Designer responses to open-ended questions Open-ended questions allowed designer s to answer freely without other preconceived factors inhibiting responses. Two researchers independently assessed the answers from the four qualitative questions and classified res ponses accordingly. The “innovative designs” “clear well thought out concepts and solutions” “well-rounded thought process” “how well a person speaks, dresses, etc” “new abilities in software” “organization and presentation” “something fresh and different” “overall presentation” “appropriate design responses” “cohesive and clear design” “creating a space that is useful for its occupants” "thinking outside the box” Technical skills Style Novelty Resolution Novelty Resolution Style Style Resolution Individual Thou g ht p rocess Thought process Communication Internship “be exposed to the office environment” Technical skills Individual “Photoshop, Illustrator” “exhibiting more process” “sense of humor, personality, etc.” Creativity Creativity of portfolios Portfolio review factors Additional factors “to present and sell ideas well” Novelty

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51 first two questions deal t with definitions of creativity and the characteristics of novelty, resolution, and style emerged as the three categories in whic h responses were organized. The third question, asking for other factor s that were important when reviewing portfolios, was also coded based on respons es and included the three creative product attributes as well as three other categories comprised of technical skills, the individual, and thought process. The final question simply asked participants for further elaboration on the topic of creativity and por tfolio evaluation. These re sponses were organized into the five categories of techni cal skills, the individual, co mmunication, thought process, and internship experience. Defining creativity in interior design Designers were asked to supply their pe rsonal definition of creativity. The responses to this question we re organized using the attr ibutes novelty, resolution, and style. The frequency of each attribute app ears in Figure 4-7. Sixty-two percent of responses referenced design specifically, s uggesting creativity was “the ability to see multiple solutions to a design problem,” while the other 38% of responses were more general and, for example, defined creativity as “developing unique so lutions.” Overall, 50% of the responses related to charac teristics of resolution, 27% mentioned characteristics of novelty, and 24% referenced the stylistic attributes of a portfolio. The majority of designers defined creativity in entry-level portfolios in terms of resolution. Responses that related to resolu tion as a variable of creativity defined a functional solution that is both useful and se nsitive to human aspects and client needs. Designers mentioned characteristics of the four items representing resolution: logical, useful, valuable, and understandable. For exam ple, one designer shared the sentiment of others when he defined creativity as “creati ng a space that is useful for its occupants.”

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52 Designers also recognized the value of the human condition for both the client and the end users with statements that demonstrat e the need to “support human functions” and “meet the client’s expectations.” Further, the designers referenced no velty (26.5%) and style (23.5%) in their definitions almost equally. Novelty, representi ng originality and surprise, was noted as an “uncommon solution for a common problem” and the ability to “think outside the box.” Style describes the portfolios appearance a nd how well it is put t ogether. Style was captured by designers who emphasized, “sol ving a problem in a manner that is aesthetically pleas ing” and presenting a “c ohesive and clear design.” Figure 4-7. Definitions of creativ ity by novelty, resolution, and style These findings strongly support the quantita tive findings in th at novelty, resolution, and style are considered by designers to be im portant aspects of crea tivity in entry-level design portfolios. However, the analysis from the first research question that examined the importance of novelty, resolution, and styl e for predicting crea tivity concluded that resolution did not influence creativity, but did have a si gnificant influence hiring potential. In addition, the va lue designers place on the crea tive product attributes differs 26.5%, n = 9 23.5%, n = 8 N ovelt y St y le DEFINITIONS OF CREATIVITY 50.0%, n = 17 Resolution

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53 from their perceptions of creativity of entr y-level interior design portfolios. When designers define creativity, the characteristic s of resolution are mentioned twice as much as the characteristics of novelty and those of style. Defining creativity in entry-level portfolios Question two asked designers to define crea tivity in terms of entry-level portfolios. Since characteristics of novelty, resolution, and style were also mentioned for this question, responses were organized accord ingly. Figure 4-8 illustrates that the characteristics of style were considered 43.3% (n = 13) of the time when discussing creativity of entry-level interior design portfolios, followed by resolution (33.3%) and novelty (23.3%). Designers who emphasized characteristics of style felt “overall presentation” was important with respons es including topics of format, layout, techniques, and materials. One designer felt it was important to “o rganize your portfolio to be clear but graphically outstanding,” while another contended “well translated and well put together” as qualities of creativ ity in entry-level portfolios. The features of resolution were mentione d second to style with 33.3% of responses (n = 10) as novelty captured 23.3% of re sponses (n = 7). Designers who defined creativity of portfolios using characteristics of resolution talked a bout “appropriate design responses,” “resolving desi gn issues,” and “maintaining a good design concept and solution.” Novelty was mentioned as a “rei nterpretation of the expected,” “something fresh and different,” “new,” and “not wh at everybody else is doing.” One designer captured the essence of all three attributes when he said creativity of a portfolio was “the ability to relay an idea, a concept, in a very simple fashion, so it’s understandable, exciting, does have a sense of surprise to it but also a sense of reality.”

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54 Figure 4-8. Definitions of cr eativity in design portfolios by novelty, resolution, and style This question essentially focused on hiri ng potential by examining the connections between the three attributes of a creati ve product and entry-le vel interior design portfolios. This finding offers additional support for recognizing style as the greatest influence on hiring potential, followed by resolution. Novelty was also very important to designers when defining creativity of portfo lios even though novelty on ly had an indirect influence on hiring po tential in the quantitative findings. Additional factors for portfolio evaluation Designers were asked to identify additiona l influences besides creativity that they perceived to be important when reviewing portfolios. Interestingly, although this question targeted other factors besides creativ ity, responses still included characteristics of the three creative product at tributes. Designers noted char acteristics of style the most, followed by technical skills, the individual, resolution, novelty, and the thought process as additional factors they pe rceive as important. Figure 49 illustrates the relative importance of each category. Qualities of styl e were mentioned almost 40% of the time with responses focusing on the “overall l ook” including “organization skills” and 33.3%, n = 10 43.3%, n = 13 23.3%, n = 7 DEFINITIONS OF CREATIVITY INPORTFOLIOS St y le Resolution N ovelt y

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55 “presentation” techniques. A few designers stated “neatness, sp elling, [and] grammar” were important factors as well. Technical skills (21.7%) were reported the most after style and were related to specific skills and computer programs. Issues dealing with “new ab ilities in software,” “technical drawing,” and “skill sets in general” were discu ssed. The characteristics of resolution (13%) were mentioned as “appropria te scale of space” a nd “clear well thought out concepts and solutions.” The individual (13%) was also discussed the same number of times as resolution. One designer’s felt it was important to point out that the firm “looks at the work and person as a whole. How well a person speaks, how they are dressed, etc.,” are important consider ations besides the portfolios. Other responses mentioned by designers were qualities of nove lty (7%) and topics dealing with the thought proce ss (7%). Designers talked a bout the charac teristics of novelty by suggesting “new ideas ” and “innovative designs.” They also revealed the importance of presenting a “w ell-rounded thought process.” Figure 4-9. Designer considera tions for reviewing portfolios 21.7%, n = 10 13.0%, n = 6 6.5%, n = 3 6.5%, n = 3 39.1% n = 18 13.0%, n = 6 Technical N ovelty St y le Individual Resolution Thought Process ADDITIONAL FACTORS IMPORTANT FOR REVIEWING PORTFOLIOS

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56 Since this question examines factors im portant for reviewing portfolios, these findings relate to hiring potential. The fi ndings discussed here support the quantitative findings that examined the importance of novelty, resolution, and style in predicting creativity and hiring potentia l and the findings from the previous interview question related to definitions of creativity for entr y-level portfolios. Novelty, resolution, and style remain important factors that designers consider when reviewing portfolios. Within the three creative product attributes, style of a portfolio continues to be the most important factor in terms of hiring potential, followe d by resolution and novelty. However, the findings for this interview question introduce additional factors designers feel are important that, in some instances, ar e more important than resolution and novelty. Following style, important factors designers mentioned were: techni cal skills, resolution, the individual, novelty, and the thought pro cess. Resolution and the individual were mentioned equally, as well as novelty and the thought process. Finally, the designers were asked to offe r any additional comments on the topics of creativity and entry-level inte rior design portfolios. Over all, technical skills were mentioned the most, followed by communication and the individual, the thought process, and lastly, a new, additional category of internship experience was discussed (Figure 410). When designers talked about characte ristics of technical sk ills (28.6%), comments mostly related to knowledge and experience with various software programs including three-dimensional rendering with “Photoshop an d Illustrator,” as well as “[Auto]CAD skills.” Designers also mentioned themes conveying communication (23.8%) skills to illustrate the importance of being able “to pres ent and sell ideas well,” as well as “speak

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57 in front of others, and listen to potential clients.” Communication was discussed the same amount as the personality of the indivi dual (23.8%). As one designer asserted, “The people themselves are a huge part of it; sense of humor, personality, etc.” Issues relating to thought pr ocess were mentioned in terms of “exhibiting more process,” especially when one designer sugge sted, “that there is a keen interest among professionals to see the entire proces s.” Lastly, internship experienc e was pointed out as an additional benefit. Designers shared this sentiment by saying it was important “to work, or intern, or be exposed to the office atmosphere” a nd that students should spend time “interning for architectural or interior design firms.” Figure 4-10. Additional designer cons iderations for entry-level hiring This last interview question relates to th e quantitative findings by addressing topics that go beyond what was asked in the previ ous interview questions that looked at designers’ personal definitions of creativity, their perceptions of creativity in design portfolios, and their considerations for por tfolio review. The topics introduced by designers are thought to be important a nd support the additional factors designers reported that relate to hiring potential. Furt hermore, the third qualitative question found 23.8%, n = 5 14.3%, n = 3 9.5%, n = 2 23.8%, n = 5 28.6%, n = 6 Technical Skills Communication Individual ADDITIONAL FACTORS IMPORTANT TO DESIGNERS Thought Process Internship Experience

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58 that in addition to the three creative product attributes, techni cal skills, the individual, and the thought process are supplementary aspect s designers felt were important when reviewing portfolios. These three aspects, along with communication and internship experience were also mentioned in questi on four by designers when they had the opportunity to suggest other i ssues relevant to the topic of creativity and entry-level interior design portfolios. Summary This study examined the creative product at tributes of entry-le vel interior design portfolios to understand the re lationships between novelty, re solution, style, creativity, and hiring potential. The statistical anal yses found strong associations between each variable. Moreover, novelty and style signi ficantly influence creativity, while style, resolution, and creativity influence hiring poten tial. The qualitative findings strongly support creative novelty, resolution, and st yle on many levels. When discussing creativity and entry-level portfolios, designers implicitly recognized the three attributes of a creative product. In an ideal sense, th ey perceived resolution to be the strongest quality of creativity, followed by novelty and style. In te rms of creativity relative to entry-level interior design portfolios, style was the greatest quality, followed by resolution and novelty. Character istics of style were also recognized as the strongest contributor for designers when reviewing portfolios. Tec hnical skills, resolution, the individual, novelty, and the t hought process were also consid ered important by designers, as well as communication a nd internship experience.

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59 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This study considered the im pact of creativity on the evaluation of entry-level interior design portfolios by examining th e relationships among the creative product attributes of novelty, resoluti on, and style. The portfolio evaluation instrument also revealed the significance of each attribute in influencing the creativity and hiring potential of interior design portfolios while open-ended interview questions revealed additional, qualitative factors. These results will be discussed and interpreted in relation to the larger literature on creative products and connected to the domain of interior design. Possible reasons for several seemingl y contradictory findings will be suggested along with recommendations for fu ture research directions. This study examined perceptions of creativit y in a sample of entry-level interior design portfolios where designers individua lly assessed 12 portfolios from graduating seniors in an accredited interior design pr ogram using an instrument measuring novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring poten tial. Designers res ponded to qualitative questions aimed at revealing individual views of creativity and entrylevel interior design portfolios. The findings from the research que stions below will be discussed in detail and implications will be made for the fiel d of interior design as a whole. What is the relative importance of nove lty, resolution, and style of entry-level interior design portfolios in predicting creativity? What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity of entrylevel interior design portfolios in predicting hiring potential? How do the open-ended designer perceptions of creativity and entry-level interior design portfolios relate to the qua ntitative portfolio evaluations?

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60 Validity The present study was designed to employ hi ghly experienced designers skilled in reviewing entry-level interior design portfolios. The partic ipants of the study represent a high caliber judge group of prof essional designers from respected firms in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. Six of the ten firms re presented in the study are considered large firms with over 50 employees and are nationally recognized in the Top 100 firms of 2006 (Davidsen & Leung, 2006). Many of these firm s have multiple offices across the world. For example, Gensler is ranked as the number one firm in the nation in terms of value of their work installed and inte rior design fees, and generates design work from 29 offices spanning the globe. Other firms that made the list include: HKS in 31st place, ASD in 48th place, Gresham Smith and Partners in 54th place, Gould Evans in 63rd place, and Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo in 78th place. The remaining four firms are medium in size and have one or two offices with between 8 and 49 employees. Though somewhat smaller, these firms are also considered industry leaders having received numerous accolades from the foremost design organizations such as American Society of Interior Designers and the American Institute of Architects. The 21 designers involved in the study were also consid ered highly respected with significant experience. The de signers were nearly 43 years of age on average, which is consistent with significant professional expe rience needed to evaluate portfolios. While the 21 designers involved in the study illust rated various levels of responsibility and review experience, the majority represented primary decision makers or senior designers of the firms. Since nearly sixty-seven pe rcent of the designers were in high-level positions, the level of experience designers noted was also consistent with their job position and further validates the strength of the judge group. The findings also suggest

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61 that Principles and Design Directors activel y participate in the hiring of entry-level designers possibly more than Project Ma nagers and Designers. The professional experience of the participants provided a pa rticularly good fit with the University of Florida’s Interior Design pr ogram from which the portfolios were selected; a strong commercial emphasis of the interiors program was reflected in the portfolios and in the designers’ specializations. Why is it important to have such a hi gh caliber judge group ? Not only does the experience of the judge group strengthen the methodology, but it also provides pertinent information for interior design education. Si nce the firms are respected leaders in the field of interior design, stude nts who aspire to work for one of these firms and design educators preparing students to enter the fiel d can trust the findings as representative of what designers from highly valued firms are looking for in portfolios of prospective entry-level employees. In addition to the experience level of th e judge group, the validity of the study is also dependent on familiarity with accepted standards for portfolios in the domain of design. The designers’ open-ended responses reinforced that creativity of a product should be assessed within its field. Specific examples offered insights into the meaning of creativity in entry-level por tfolios and the results of th e investigation support domain specificity. This finding aligns with Am abile’s (1982; 1996) consensual definition of creativity maintaining that creativity is dom ain specific and should be judged by experts in the field under study. For example, if individuals with only basic design knowledge judged the entry-level design portfolios, the fi ndings would not be as relevant especially

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62 for predicting hiring po tential. In sum, the relian ce on well seasoned designers from noted firms increases th e validity of the study. Reliability The idea of domain specific ity supports evaluating portfo lios within interior design in as close to an actual setting as possible. For example, since the hiring process quite often takes place in a conference room or o ffice of a designer guiding the interview, the present study collected data at each firm in e ither a conference room or designer’s office. Other assessment tools also refl ected factors tied to field te sting. For pragmatic reasons, the evaluation instrument was an abridge d version of the theoretical framework developed by Besemer and Treffinger (1981) Although the Creativ e Product Analysis Matrix offered a 55-item semantic scale adjective checklist, a 13-item evaluation instrument based on the matrix was developed to shorten the time necessary to complete the assessment. Since designers evaluated 12 portfolios on 13 items, a shorter instrument was more practical and sensit ive to time, fatigue, and othe r uncontrollable responses. Other studies have taken into account the benefits of creating an evaluation instrument that responds to the domain in que stion. For example, Cropley and Cropley’s (2000) study also utilized an abridged version of the Creativ e Product Analysis Matrix to examine products designed by engineering students. For the dimensions of novelty, germinality, which relates to resolution, and el egance, which relates to style, they found novelty and germinality significantly correlate d with overall creativ ity, but elegance did not. Though these three dimensions were te rmed differently, this study essentially explored novelty, resolution, a nd style. Cropley and Cropley ’s (2000) study implies that these dimensions are considered in the engi neering field as one thing, yet, the findings

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63 from the present study suggest the three dimensions mean so mething else for the domain of interior design. The findings indicate the designers consiste ntly judged the 13 items utilized in the portfolio evaluation instrument. Where an alpha rating greater than .70 is considered acceptable (Blaikie, 2003); novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential yielded high alpha ratings ranging from .85 to .92, showing strong internal reliability of the instrument,. In several preliminary studies testing the reliability of the subscales for the original Creative Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & O’Quin, 1987), similar high alpha ratings were found. Besemer and O’Qu in tested a variety of letter openers, cartoons, and art work using an experimental judging instrument based on the model. They found reliability ratings ranging from .70 to .80 with an average alpha of .76 for all the studies. The present st udy reported even higher alph as averaging .87 for the five variables, which further validates the re liability of the judging instrument. After establishing the level of reliab ility, designers’ judgments of novelty, resolution, and style of the 12 portfolios we re examined further by comparing average ratings of the variables. The mean score fo r resolution was the highest of the variables and had the smallest variance of rated scores assigned by judges. This suggests the four items indicating the functionality of a portfolio in terms of its logicalness, usefulness, understandability, and value, were scored higher and more consistently among judges than the other two variables. Style had the second highest mean of the five variables, while novelty had the lowest. Since this study used Besemer and Tre ffinger’s (1981) definition of a creative product that features novelty, re solution, and style as attributes it is interesting to note

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64 the mean score for the variable creativity wa s almost exactly the average of the means for the three creative product variables. The fi ndings suggest the crea tivity variable may closely measure the creativeness of design por tfolios. This is especially important because, while there is a fair amount of agreem ent in the field that these dimensions are important for creative products. However, it is not definitive that other factors do not come into play, particularly in an interior creative design product. In addition, the average of novelty, resoluti on, style, and creativity is almost equal to the mean score of hiring potential. Although novelty, resolution, and style are products of creativity, th eir value along with th e actual value of the portfolio’s creativity is a strong indicator of the potential of the portfolio’s creator to be hired by the firms involved in the study. Since the variables corr elate highly to overall creativity and hiring potential, the findings of the study help es tablish the reliability of the evaluation instrument utilizing the creat ive product attributes of nove lty, resolution, and style. Further research would have to be undertaken to explor e other influencing factors. Entry-level Interior Design Portfolios A portfolio is a summation of work accomplished throughout a period of time (Newstetter & Khan, 1997). An entry-level in terior design portfolio is comprised of selected design projects that are perceived by the individual compiling his or her portfolio as representing a body of work produced over a given period of time. Design projects, by definition, are creative products. While design projects are guided by design criteria and program requirements, these open-ended problems encourage many imaginative, innovative solutions. There may be several desi gn projects featured in an interior design portfolio, but the portfolio its elf acts as a single unit to display a student’s abilities, experiences, and potential. It is because of th is reason that interior design portfolios can

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65 be viewed from two vantage points: as a creative product and as a means for employment. The findings support examining entry-leve l interior design portfolios from a creative product perspective. A number of researchers in creativity have suggested criteria to define the creative product (Newell, Shaw, & Simon, 1963; Jackson & Messick, 1965; Getzels & Csikszentmihal yi, 1976). While many discuss novelty and appropriateness, there exists disagreement on these criteria. Nevertheless, researchers agree that a set of criteria th at defines a creative product shou ld apply to creative products across domains and disciplines. Besemer and her colleagues support this notion and propose nine facets of the Creative Product Analysis Matrix that “are internally consistent across different creative produc ts in different samples” (Besemer & O’Quin, 1987). Yet, a creative product should also be considered in the context for which it was created. An entry-level interior design portfo lio, as one designer stat ed, is “an artistic and creative rendition of one’s best academic works.” The purpose of the portfolio is to act as a mechanism for gaining entry-level em ployment. By conn ecting the creative attributes of a portfolio to the reason why entry-level designe rs create portfolios initially, the findings of the study help understand the relationship of the portfolio to hiring potential. This study also examined creativ ity in a domain-specific context to see how important creativity is to hiring potential in in terior design. To reiterate the primary purpose, the pres ent study examined theory of a creative product to see if it could be applied to inte rior design portfolios. After reviewing a number of writings on the creative product, Besemer and Treffinger’s Creative Product Analysis Matrix (1981) appeared to be the mo st appropriate for the interior design field.

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66 According to Besemer and Treffinger (1981), the three attributes inhere nt to all creative products are novelty, resolution, and style. Novelty refers to th e newness or originality of the product; resolution deals wi th how well the product functions or does what it was supposed to do, while style pertains to the stylistic and craftsmanship qualities of the product. This matrix helped direct the re search questions that focused on analyzing specifically what was creative about entry-level interior de sign portfolios and how the creative product attributes cont ribute to hiring potential. Th e findings related to novelty, resolution, style, and creativity will be discussed in further detail. Novelty Novelty, defined as “the extent of newne ss of the product in terms of processes, techniques, and concepts” (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p.164) appears to be a significant factor in design portf olios. Of the three product attributes, the present study found the strongest associations between novelt y of a portfolio and perceived creativity but not to hiring potential. The findings also show that novelty significantly influences the creativity of a portfolio more than the ot her attributes of resolution and style. The designers participating in this study were not supplied with a formal definition of creativity, yet, when they offered their own creativity definitions, interestingly characteristics of novelty were mentioned in more than one-forth of the responses, such as “thinking outside the box” as well as “developing unique solutions.” Thus, the quantitative and qualitative resu lts support the concept of novelty as a clear dimension of creativity. While novelty clearly emerges as a well-rec ognized dimension of the portfolio as a creative product, its influence is not nearly as strong in predicting hiring potential as resolution and style. Furthermore, the indir ect influence novelty ha d on hiring potential,

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67 though important, is not as si gnificant as the influences of resolution and style on hiring potential. When considering the design portfolio as a vehicle for entry-level employment, it appears that novelty may be nece ssary for a portfolio to be considered a creative product, but is not sufficient to gain employment. Designers making hiring decisions may not give as much credence to portfolios that are just novel, different, or unique in interior design wh ere factors such as functi onality and presentation may supersede creative novelty. However, novelty of a portfolio should not be completely discounted. Designers may feel that an individual can be trai ned on the job to thi nk and design in more functional and stylistic ways, whereas the ab ility to develop novel idea may be more difficult to develop. Although some designers may show a preference for individuals that create portfolios illustrating more original a nd novel points of view, it is possible that a large group of designers from other regions ma y have different preferences, but further research is explore this issue. Resolution Another variable examined in the study was resolution, which was defined as “how well the product works, functions, and does what it is supposed to do” (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p. 164). The most surprisi ng and contradictory findings of the study relate to resolution as a creative product attri bute. Resolution had the weakest association to creativity and was not signifi cantly perceived to be an i ndicator of creativity in the design portfolio. It is possible that, while the resolution scores were the highest of all the variables, they were also the least comparab le to creativity scores especially because resolution did not correlate as strongly to creativity. For example, if a portfolio was judged to have very high reso lution, while novelty, style, and creativity were scored less;

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68 novelty and style would be more closely a ssociated to creativity than resolution, indicating a stronger influence on creativity. It appears that strength of influences are directly associated to strengt h of correlations between two variables, and furthermore, by controlling the effects of novelty and style on the creativity of portfolios, the effects of resolution become redundant and thus non-significant. Nonetheless, resolution emerged as an impor tant factor in desi gners’ definitions of creativity. Fifty percent of responses illustra ted characteristics of resolution manifest in designers’ comments that often referenced a practical solution to a challenge. This is likely because resolution deals with how well the design solution functions or solves the problem. Additionally, over sixty percent of those responses focused on design rather than creativity in a general sense. For exam ple, such statements explained resolution as “useful for its occupants,” “func tional to the end user,” and “solves the design problem.” Consequently, designers’ definitions of creativity seem to regard functionality very highly and support resolution as a dimension of creativity. Perhaps designers viewed resolution as a key factor because f unctionality is so critical to the success of de sign projects, and in design pr actice, the designer’s main concern is to create a space that is purposeful and functi onal to its end users and proves satisfactory to clients. This may be true sinc e eighty percent of the designers participated in corporate design where work environments need to offer employees adequate settings in which to work productively. Rengel (2003) suggests that resolution of an office design project involves: A good understanding of the many units on the office, their roles, and their relationship to each other. The first st ep of any office design solution is to carefully place all elements for optimal f unction. The second step is to organize these into a coherent system of open and enclosed areas (p. 337).

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69 While optimal function is necessary in order to achieve resolution in an office design, the design would have to demons trate a logical, useful, unde rstandable, and valuable solution. The findings of the study might have b een very different if the focus was on designers and portfolios that we re residentially oriented. It is possible that resolution would not be viewed as the most important attribute since resident ial design often times deals largely with the stylist attributes and in an interior reside nce those may include interior finishes, color, pattern, and ornament ation (Rengel, 2003). These are significant to enriching the overall environment but may co ntribute less to the f unction of the design. While it is not to say that residential in terior designers don’t consider novelty and resolution when designing the interior of a home, further research in this area is necessary. However, it is hypothesized that style would be regarded as the most influential attribute. The influence resolution had on hiring poten tial is cleaner cut than resolution. Considered the second most infl uential variable, resolution of a portfolio predicts hiring potential more than creativity and novelty, but less than style. In addition, characteristics of resolution also contributed to one-t hird of the qualitative comments including “appropriate design responses” that are “ understandable” and “easy to follow.” It appears that designers consider resolution to be an important element in entry-level design portfolios, and these fi ndings are illustrated in th e words of one designer who implicitly explained the value of functionality over novelty: I guess a lot of what you see in entry-level portfolios is just extreme creativity and you don’t see a lot of the technical informa tion. You know there are other elements to our industry.… [Students] see something and think ‘oh that’s cool,’ but is it

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70 practical to use here, how do you install it, and will it last through the people working in the environment. This citation demonstrates that the functiona l aspects of design are just as important, if not more important than novelty alone. While resolution appears to be an impor tant element for interior design, it is difficult to determine why resolution was not an influential factor for predicting creativity in the quantitative results, but emerged as such a major component in the qualitative portion of the study defining creativity. One e xplanation may be attributed to the fact that designers made specific judgments on the 12 portfolios without accompanying project descriptions or narratives while th ey commented on creativity and entry-level design portfolios in a general sense. It appears that designers responded to the openended questions by describing or suggesting cons iderations of an act ual entry-level hiring situation. One designer suggested the difficu ltly in evaluating portfolios without having the actual job applicant present: I think the difficult thing to separate was that I was evaluating the portfolios and not the projects, that was hard because some of them had some really good projects but again not as strong a presentation, a nd again, I think seeing it only on a laptop makes it harder to evaluate a portfoli o and a person or a person’s ability. An actual portfolio evaluation involves desi gners viewing a portfolio with the job candidate talking through and explaining the co ntents within the portfolio. By verbally communicating the ideas and thought pr ocesses behind a design solution, the characteristics that define resolution may beco me clear, in that, the functionality of a design is based on its logical, us eful, valuable, and understandable qualities. This may be especially relevant since designers recogni zed the importance of communication, thought process, and the individual when considering additional factors that contribute to entrylevel hiring. One designer felt: “If you have the opportunity to pres ent your por tfolio, it

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71 is a little easier to talk about what the pro cess was and it is a little more personal then to have it all written down because you loose th e attention span.” Yet, understanding the design process and the functionality of the desi gn is not the only fact or driving the design solution; if this were the case, the path to the solution would be clear cut and only a limited number of design solutions would emerge In addition, a portfolio in an actual hiring situation may illustrate design projects through physical pages or may be viewed digitally. Nevertheless, designers seem to encourage verbal communication of the process by explaining how the design responded to the limitations a nd functional criteria, while at the same time incorporating original ideas. Style Style is identified as “the degree to which the product combines unlike elements into a refined, developed, coherent whole, statement or unit” (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p.164). In the present study, style of a portf olio refers to how the portfolio looks visually, particularly its organization and cr aftsmanship. Style, in addition to novelty, was found to significantly influence creativit y. Although novelty was more influential, the degree of influence for style was quite s ubstantial. This is interesting since the previous findings indicate that novelty may be the least important attr ibute of the three. In addition to the possibility that novelty is viewed synonymously with creativity, it is also possible that novelty influences creativ ity more than style because the two items representing novelty were found to be more c onsistent than the thre e items representing the style of the portfolios, indicated by equa l alpha scores. Yet, the emphasis placed on novelty and style for predicting creativity is contradictory to designers’ definitions of creativity that mention resoluti on in half of the responses.

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72 Style also had a strong relationship with hi ring potential. Of the four variables, style claimed the strongest association to and influence on hiring potential. Style significantly influences hiring potential almost twice as much as resolution and more than double creativity. The value placed on style of a portfolio shown by the findings suggests that the style may be more important than novelty, resolution, and cr eativity in predicting hiring potential. This means that when de signers try to determine the potential of an entry-level interior designer by assessi ng their portfolio, they are most strongly influenced by how well the portfolio is put toge ther and the overall, visual presentation. In addition to the direct influence style has on hiring potential, intervening effects of style also persuade hiring potential. Since the style of a portfolio influences its perceived creativity and the cr eativity of a portfolio infl uences hiring potential, a portfolio’s style inadvertently influences potential for em ployment. We already know that the visual presenta tion of a portfolio is a very signifi cant indicator of hi ring potential. The fact that style has an additional affect on hiring potential that is indirectly mediated through creativity, further supports that entry-level interior de signers should prioritize the look of their portfolio and its organization. Style is further supported as the most important consideration by designers in determining hiring potential. When asked to define creativity in entry-level portfolios, designers’ responses mentioned characteristics of style over forty percent of the time. Even though designers cited to characteristics of style more than novelty and resolution, they appeared to value each attribute since the frequency of responses were quite similar across the three variables. Interestingly, sinc e designers recognized these three attributes of a creative product, designers’ views we re consistent with the study’s guiding

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73 framework developed by Besemer and Tre ffinger (1981). In sum, the designers’ comments frequently reflected novelty, resolution, and style in entry-level interior design portfolios. When asked to suggest other factors important while revi ewing portfolios, designers referenced the style of a portfolio more than other factors. For example, comments included “organization from the star t to finish of the portfolio” and the “presentation [and] overall look.” Perhaps styl e is given more attention when evaluating hiring potential because the stylistic qualities of a portfolio affect how the information is presented and may influence desi gners’ perceptions of the mate rial within the portfolio. In other words, the style of the portfolio illu strates “the ability to solve a problem in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing.” Inte rior design is highly visual, and as one designer mentioned, “[the] visual impact [of th e portfolio] is just as important, sometimes as a first impression more important than the design because you want someone to pay attention to what you are tryi ng to do.” The overall look of the portfolio, through the organization and the layout of the page, maybe the factor they return to when evaluating a portfolio and making hi ring decisions. Creativity The creativity variable was included in the multiple regression analysis to gauge its contribution to hiring potential. Although a significant influence on hiring potential was found, we do not know how much of the influe nce was solely attributed to creativity. Since novelty and style influenced creativity, pa rt of the influence creativity had on hiring potential was also influenced by these othe r factors, and furthermore, because these variables overlap to a degree. Some designers appeared to view novelty as the same thing as creativity. As mentioned earlier, one designer stated “A lo t of what you see in

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74 entry-level portfolios is just extreme crea tivity and you don’t see a lot of the technical information.” This comment implies novelty may be viewed synonymously with creativity. Although novelty has a strong association with cr eativity, the tw o variables were still found to be different statisticall y. The profession of interior design also supports this view by defining interior desi gn as “a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied wi thin a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, e nhance the quality of lif e and culture of the occupants, and are aesthetically attractive” (NCIDQ, 2006). This definition implies that the interior design profession may view novelty a nd creativity similarly. It also reflects a misconception that designers ca nnot be creative with the tec hnical and functional aspects of design. Yet at the same time, the defi nition illustrates the importance of creative novelty, resolution, and style. Nevertheless, the qualitative findings showing less than perfect associations suggest that novelty and creativity are not the same thing since designers regarded them differently when ra ting the portfolios on th e five variables in question. Further research into the fiel d of interior design should target these misconceptions and suggest a clearly defined defi nition of interior desi gn that takes into account the creativity aspects of novelty, resolution, and style. In sum, the results of the present stud y support the complex and multifaceted nature of creativity based on both the quantitative and qualitative fi ndings. The quantitative findings are more definitive than the qualitative findings since they are based on 248 assessments of portfolios as opposed to the opinions of 12 judges. The quantitative portion of the study found: Novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential are associated; Creativity is influenced the most by novelty and then by style, and;

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75 Hiring potential is influenced the most by style, and th en resolution and creativity. The qualitative, exploratory findings of the elite judge group found: Designers perceive resolution to be the mo st important attribute of creativity; and Designers perceive style, resolution, and novelty to be important for hiring potential. In addition to the importance of entry-leve l design portfolio to interior design, the portfolio appears to carry a si gnificant weight in the hiring pr ocess, accounting for almost three-fourths of the hiring decision. In Baker and Sondhi’s (1989) study that looked at competencies and attributes of entry-level inte rior design graduates, they noted that sixtyeight percent of hiring deci sions by professionals are ma de based on the individual’s portfolio. The current study supports the importance of portfolios for assessing performance and emphasizes the role portfolios play in gaining entrylevel employment. Yet, additional factors that account for remaining influences in hiring decisions should be recognized. The participating desi gners stressed the impor tance of being able to communicate, show technical skills, exude personality, illustrate thought processes, and have internship experience. As one de signer put it, “We do not evaluate a portfolio alone, we also are interviewing the person: how well a person speaks, how they are dressed, etc. We look at the work and the person as a whole.” This multi-dimensional process is captured by Baker and Sondhi ( 1989) who concluded that “large interior design firms are looking for entry-level pe rsonnel who critically think through design solutions based on design theories, co mmunicates verbally and through graphic presentation, practice professional ethics, and present themselves as mature, enthusiastic, and well groomed” (p. 35). Assuming an evidence-based approach to portfolio

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76 preparation at the job applicant level can faci litate the development of a portfolio that provides the best opportunity for employment. Implications Recommendations can be drawn from thes e results to benefit interior design educators and entry-level graduates who are en tering the job market. If interior design educators were informed of the signifi cance these attributes have on entry-level portfolios, they could consider focusing thei r studios and even curriculum to align with professional expectations. Educators could incorporate novelty, reso lution, and style into the earliest stages of design and through th e final presentation stage. They could structure design problems to specifically addre ss the three attributes, in turn, providing a framework helpful for students throughout the development of a design solution. These criteria—novelty, resolution, and style—could then be used by educators to evaluate projects. Furthermore, during the design juries, students could present their design solution by explaining how the attributes contributed to th eir process. For instance, novelty can be explained as an enrichi ng factor of a design by possibly creating originality and surprise; resolu tion can be explained as an or dering factor that facilitates understanding and orientation while also cl arifying the value and usefulness of the design; and style can be explai ned as an expressive factor that communicates the design message as a cohesive unit that is elegant a nd carried out skillfully. Informed educators could inevitably influence the way students addr ess their design projects, as well as create their portfolios. These advantages, in tur n, could create a greater seamlessness between education and practice. The findings from this study also allow en try-level interior designers to maximize their potential for employment. It is suggested that entry-leve l interior designers create a

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77 portfolio that showcases their talents and skills while keeping in mind professional designers’ perceptions of creativity and entr y-level portfolios. It was found that designers with hiring responsib ility appeared very impresse d with how the portfolio is presented visually and the degree to wh ich it emphasizes appropriate solutions, originality and uniqueness. A combination of these attributes is preferred rather than concentrating on one attribute. For example, a portfolio that is purely novel may be viewed as bizarre or attention getting, w ith no underlying substance or style. If a portfolio has only characteristics of resoluti on it may be lacking organization, a visual impact and imagination. Alternatively, if a por tfolio is purely styl istic it can suggest a lack of substance, functionality, interior design skills, and originality. Though the results of this study strongly s upport the stylistic attributes, a portfolio should illustrate characteristic s of all three variables in varying degrees. Kilmer and Kilmer (1992) suggest overall design impressions are greater than the sum of its parts and are dependent on style: “The impact of design will depend on its successful organization of ideas or elements into unifying wholes—t he use of materials, the manipulation of form, aesthetic sensitivity, and satisfying a need” (p. 17). The current study advocates that style is considered the umbrella for the portfolio, or the overall visual impact of the organization of the portfolio. Style is also inte grative, in that, it bridges the attributes of novelty and resolution into an orga nized, coherent unit. This is true for the portfolio as a unit as well as for the individual design pr ojects within a port folio. One designer mentioned the importance of presenting the individual work in a stylized manner and stressed “organization from start to finish of the portfolio and each project within.”

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78 Evident at many levels, style contributes to the design of spaces w ithin design projects, and also influences the visual imp act across projects in a portfolio. One challenge for design students when integr ating the attributes of creativity into their portfolios is the issue of illustrating resolution. Designers evaluating the design portfolios appeared to have a harder time recognizing resoluti on than novelty and style. While the findings support job applicants ex plaining the resolution of their portfolios, there are benefits to explicitly clarifying the functional considerations within design projects. Some ways to do this, for exam ple, may include manipulating graphics or including written explanations to better communicate the e ffectiveness and organization of the design, as well as bring more atten tion to the human conditions. While the job candidate remains important to the hiring pr ocess, carefully cons idering the functional aspects of a design by visually illustrati ng resolution will allow entry-level design portfolios to convey a more accurate message. Suggested Future Research Given the paucity of research on creativity in interior design related to entry-level portfolios, Bender encourages further investigation into this topic and is writing the first book dedicated to interior design portfolios (D. Bender, personal communication, October 2006). The following recommendati ons offer ideas on expanding this study conceptually and methodologically. The first recommendation is to replicate and expand the study by utilizing a large, random sample of differently focused particip ants. While the designers and the portfolios in the study focused on commercial design, another worthwhile study could examine residentially focused designers and portfolios. It is hypothesized that style would emerge as the most important factor along with nove lty because residentia l design and designers

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79 seem to direct more attention on the stylistic attributes of a space wh ile also incorporating unique characteristics. Resolution may not be as influential because residential designs frequently do not address as many code regulations or special user groups or constraints. A second recommendation is to compare physical design portfolios to digital ones. Although it may be difficult, this study would be beneficial to providing a more accurate representation of the portfoli o, in turn, contributing to more accurate results. One designer mentioned “seeing [the portfolio] only on a laptop makes it harder to evaluate.” Using actual portfolios in the a ssessment task would allow designers to see and touch the portfolio. It is possible that “the texture” and “the quality of the paper” contribute to the visual impact or style of the portfolio, which in the end influences designers’ perceptions and the portfolio’s potential for employment. Further, some design programs encourage the development of a container to hold th e portfolio. This co ntainer may in fact contribute to designers percep tions of the style of a portfolio, but would have to be investigated further. It may also be beneficial to expand th e present study to incl ude other components that addressed one or more of Mooney’s four ‘P’s” (1963) discusse d in the review of literature. Creativity studies revolve around th e creative person, the cr eative process, the creative product, and the creative press. Future studies relati ng creativity to hiring potential in interior design, for example, c ould investigate characteristics of the creative person as well as related to their creative produc t. In the domain of interior design field, entry-level portfolios and entry-level interior designers could be examined to gain better insights into whether the characteristics of a creative person contribu te to the perceived characteristics of their design portfolio.

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80 A final recommendation for future research is to explore th e interior design programs from several universities. Ofte n times, interior program may convey and overall identity or look that could possibly contribute to how design projects are resolved and portfolios developed. In turn this c ould have positive or negative influences on designers’ perceptions of the novelty, re solution, and style of a portfolio. Research is responsible for continually expanding the current perceptions and knowledge base in the interior design field. The findings from the current study support and suggest further research in order to in form design education and design students as well as advance the profession. Conclusion The purpose of this study was to determine what design professionals consider creative in entry-level interior design portfo lios. More specifica lly, the study explored the specific attributes of crea tive products to determine how the perceptions of entry-level interior design portfolios relate to crea tivity and hiring poten tial. Twenty-one professional designers applied a locally devel oped instrument to 12 entry-level interior design portfolios to judge nove lty, resolution, style, creativ ity, and hiring potential. Further open-ended questions expanded desi gner views on creativity and interior design portfolios. The study found that designer’s perceived cr eativity of entry-level interior design portfolios to be influenced by the portfolio’s unique character and its overall presentation. Furthermore, the perceived hiring potential of the portfolio’s creator was influenced directly by the overall pr esentation, the appropriateness of th e portfolio, and its creativity. When designers discussed creativity, they most often cited characteristics relating to the appropriateness of the portfolio. However, wh en discussing factors re levant to the hiring

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81 potential of portfolios, designe rs most frequently cited the characteristics of style were most often cited, followed by appropriateness and novelty. The results of the study are si gnificant for creativity rese arch, as well as for design educators and students applying for entry-level employment or even internships. The understanding of creativity as a scholarly area of research is expanded through new and exciting applications of interior design. Benefits also accrue with the field when educators can inform interior design student s on best practice requirements for creating their portfolios, and in turn students w ill have the best opportunity for gaining employment at suitable design firms.

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82 APPENDIX A PARTICIPATION LETTER REQUEST March 1, 2006 Designer Firm Address Dear Designer, My name is Katie Levins. I am a graduate student at the Universi ty of Florida studying interior design. I am currently working on a thesis project that s eeks to understand what interior design professionals look for in seni or design portfolios. As you know, creativity is a vital aspect of any design project or product, including po rtfolios. With this study, I want to measure how design professionals judge creativity in potential employees by assessing the portfolio s of senior interi or design students. For my sample, I would like to collaborat e with you and possibly another member of your firm that you would recommend with e xperience in reviewing portfolios and hiring entry level designers. I anticipate your invol vement being less than two hours and at a time convenient to your work schedule. I w ould like to collect my data towards the middle of April and will be cal ling you to discuss your possibl e participation in this study and answer any questions you may have. Dr. Meg Portillo is the professor who is supe rvising this project with me. She has done several studies on creativity in interior design and been publ ished in numerous journals. If Dr. Portillo or I can answer any questions for you, please fe el free to contact either one of us. Sincerely, Katie Levins Margaret Portillo, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Chair

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83 APPENDIX B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL LETTER

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84

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85 APPENDIX C PORTFOLIO EVALUATION INSTRUMENT PORTFOLIO EVALUATION portfolio # 1 Evaluate the portfolio as a complete unit. Rate the thirte en dimensions for each portfo lio using the following scale: 1 = Poor; 2 = Below Average; 3 = Average; 4 = Good; 5 = Excellent Below Poor Average Average Good Excellent Logical The portfolio is appropriate for the discipline of interior design. 1 2 3 4 5 Useful The portfolio has clear, practical applications. 1 2 3 4 5 Understandable The portfolio communicates in an e ffective and “user-friendly" way. 1 2 3 4 5 Well Crafted The portfolio presentation shows a hi gh degree of technical skill and care. 1 2 3 4 5 Original The portfolio is unusual and novel. 1 2 3 4 5 Innovative The portfolio is innovative. 1 2 3 4 5 Surprise The portfolio presents unexpected information to the viewer. 1 2 3 4 5 Creative The portfolio is creative. 1 2 3 4 5 Elegant The portfolio is refined and graceful. 1 2 3 4 5 Valuable The portfolio addresses the human condition. 1 2 3 4 5 Organic The portfolio has a sense of wholeness or completeness about it. 1 2 3 4 5 Promise What is the likelihood that this portfolio seems comparable to your other entry-level employees? 1 2 3 4 5 Potential What are the chances that the person who created this portfolio would be hired by your firm? 1 2 3 4 5

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86 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE 1. How do you define creativ ity in interior design? 2. How do you define creativity in entry-level portfolios? 3. What factors besides creativity are important when you evaluate portfolios? 4. Is there anything else th at you would like to add? 5. Can you estimate on how many po rtfolios do you review a year? 1 Year of birth__________ How many years have you pr acticed interior design? __________years How many years have you reviewed por tfolios? _________years What type of design work do you do? _____Healthcare _____Corporate _____Retail _____Educational _____Government _____Commercial _____Hospitality _____Residential Other______________________ Formal Position Title_________________________________ How many interior designers are employed by your firm? __________number

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87 APPENDIX E SUMMARY OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS Question 1: How do you define creativity? NOVELTY 1 to think outside their realm of exposure 2 uncommon solutions for common problem 3 thinking outside of the box 4 innovative 5 creativity is developing unique solutions 6 an idea of reordering something in a way that is different 7 innovation 8 creativity, innovative 9 creating an unforgettable experience RESOLUTION 10 evolving practical solutions to design challenges 11 design solution that is based on the clients' needs 12 solution that not only meets the client’s expect ations but also the functio nal and the human aspects 13 various design solutions 14 the ability to totally capture a concept or idea into a 3D space 15 to have a concept or point-of-view regarding the program or client, that will drive the project. 16 solutions for what the client is asking for 17 creating useful space; makes it function better 18 do they clearly illustrate the main item or idea of the project. 19 support human functions 20 relationship between form & function 21 functional to the end user 22 solves the design problem 23 the ability to see multiple solutions to a design problem or client request. 24 understanding of forms and human elements 25 creating a space that is useful for its occupants 26 design that reflects the function of the space STYLE 27 color, texture 28 use of materials 29 creative use of material, textures, form, and light 30 is the complete thought shown; plans, perspectives, or other items to convey the ideas 31 leverage available materials 32 an expressive understanding of the process of interior architecture 33 the ability to solve a problem in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing 34 cohesive and clear design

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88 Question 2: How do you define cre ativity in entry-level portfolios? NOVELTY 1 different attitude, a different way of looking at things, a different way to solve a problem 2 exciting, does have a sense of surprise 3 putting your own twist on it, fresh and something different 4 fresh ideas 5 an attempt at reinterpretation of the expected 6 not what everybody else is doing 7 thinking beyond the obvious solution RESOLUTION 8 understandable 9 has a sense of reality 10 used their sources of inspiration & concepts to inform their projects 11 to resolve design issues could be in use of materials or space definition 12 drawings clearly define the concept 13 the ability to deliver appropriate design responses 14 good design concept and solution 15 understanding of forms and human elements 16 easy to follow 17 clarity of intent is most important STYLE 18 design solution is detailed 19 overall presentation 20 well translated and well put together 21 the ability to rely an idea, a concept, in a very simple fashion 22 creativity is well-rounded, in all aspects of th e portfolio, concepts, graphi c/technical, hand sketches 23 using materials 24 organizing your portfolio to be clear but graphically outstanding 25 format on your portfolio page 26 an artistic and creative renditio n of ones best academic works 27 new presentation techniques 28 showcasing all of ones projects in a highly designed manner 29 design and layout of the pages can emphasis the design 30 use of various mediums is good

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89 Question 3: What factors besides creati vity are important when you evaluate portfolios? INDIVIDUAL 1 an individual or a team project 2 the person seems to be organized 3 we also are interviewing the person, so how well a person speaks, how they are dressed, etc.; we look at the work and the person as a whole 4 what you love to see is consistently excellent and excellent people are typically consistently excellent 5 what can the person bring to the team 6 range of talents and experiences NOVELTY 7 new ideas 8 innovative designs 9 innovation RESOLUTION 10 a consistent train of thought 11 is it put together n a very logical [way] 12 consistent level of quality 13 constructability, rationality, realism 14 clear well thought out concepts & solutions 15 appropriate scale of the space STYLE 16 excellent organizational skills 17 an understanding of color and proportion 18 I look at it for professionalism, is the portfolio neat, clean, well organized, are the edge cut clean, and precise, are the mountings meticulous 19 graphics, the texture, the quality of the paper, or if it’s in PowerPoint, on the computer, then the visual impact 20 overall organization of the portfolio 21 neatness, spelling, grammar; it should look professional 22 clearly organized 23 organization, fluidity, metaphoric "tie-ins" 24 presentation, line weight in drawings, true 3D perspectives 25 understanding the materials 26 organization from the start to finish of portfolio & each project within 27 graphics, technology, balance 28 organization, logical layouts; easy to read and understand 29 neatness, spelling 30 design flow 31 graphics 32 presentation, overall look 33 simple and clear presentation of the project process and goals

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90 TECHNICAL SKILLS 34 technical drawing 35 understand how to put construction documents together 36 are they familiar with codes and regulations 37 technical skills, skill sets in general 38 new abilities in software 39 graphic design skills 40 varied skills; technical, graphic 41 technical skills 42 showing of skill sets 43 use of computer automated drafting THOUGHT PROCESS 44 thought process 45 thought process and seeing how someone's mind works 46 well rounded thought process and interpretation

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91 Question 4: Is there anything else that you would like to add? COMMUNICATION 1 a clarity in the thought pro cess about what role you play 2 how to present yourself, how to speak in front of others, how to listen to potential clients or your boss 3 actually talk to someone and see how they talk to you and how they present themselves 4 emphasize importance of communication skills; you have to know how to present and sell your ideas well 5 communication methods are important INDIVIDUAL 6 attitudes and chemistry between the interviewer and interviewee is huge 7 person or person's ability 8 the people themselves are a huge part of it 9 sense of humor, personality, etc. 10 expressing your personality is also important, adding that personal touch 11 mature and professional individuals INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE 12 the ability to work or intern or be exposed to the office atmosphere 13 interning for architectural of interior design firms TECHNICAL SKILLS 14 entry-level position people need to be cognoscente that there is actually someone out there that is going to build this thing 15 design is in the details 16 you don’t see a lot of the technical information 17 conceptual sketches are a great tool 18 would like to see less "hand coloring" and more Photoshop rendering 19 Photoshop, Illustrator, CAD skills, 3D graphics THOUGHT PROCESS 20 there is a keen interest among professionals to see the entire process and not just the end result; portfolios have a lack of the thought process of details 21 exhibit more process, the evolution of design ideas 22 display your thought process

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92 LIST OF REFERENCES Amabile, T. (1979). Effects of external evaluation on artistic creativity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37, 221-233. Amabile, T. (1982). Social psychology of creativity: A consensual assessment technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43 997-1013. Amabile, T. (1983). The social psychology of creativity New York: Springer-Verlag. Amabile, T. (1996). Creativity in context Boulder: Westview Press. Alves, J., Marques, M. J., Saur, I., Mar ques, P. (2005). Building creative ideas for successful new product development. 9th European Conference on Creativity and Innovation. Lodz, Poland. Arter, J. (1999). Teaching about performance assessment. Education Measurement: Issues and Practice (Summer), 30-41. Baer, J., Kaufman, J. C., & Gentile, C. A. (2004). Extension of the consensual assessment technique to nonpara llel creative products. Creativity Research Journal, 16 (1), 113-117. Baker, I. J., & Sondhi, L. E. (1989). Entrylevel competencies and attributes needed by interior design graduates: A surv ey of top interior design firms. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research, 15 (2), 35-40. Barron, F. (1955). The disposi tion towards originality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51 478-485. Barron, F., & Harrington, D. M. (1981). Creat ivity, intelligence, and personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 32 39-476. Battaglini, C. (2003). Dallas’ JH+P named 2003 IDP outstanding firm AIArchitect. Retrieved September 11, 2006, from http://www.aia.org/aiarchitect/t hisweek03/tw0425/0425tw4_idpaward.htm Beatte, D. K. (2000). Creativity in art: the feasibility of assessi ng current conceptions in the school context. Assessment in Education, 7 (2), 175-192.

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93 Benhamou, R. (198). Professional practices in interior design: Frequency profiles and their relation to interior design education. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research, 6 (2), 16-21. Besemer, S. P. (1998). Creative product an alysis matrix: Testing the model structure and a comparison among products Three novel chairs. Creativity Research Journal, 11 (4) 333-346. Besemer, S. P. (2003, January). Creative Product Analysis Model. IdeaFusion. Retrieved January 23, 2006, from http://www.ideafusion.biz/CPAM.htm Besemer, S. P. & O’Quinn, K. (1986). Anal yzing creative products: Refinement and test of a judging instrument. Journal of Creative Behavior, 20 115-126. Besemer, S. P. & O’Quinn, K. (1987). Creat ive product analysis matrix: Testing the model by developing a judging instrument. In S. G. Isaksen (Ed.), Frontier of creativity: Beyond the basics (pp. 341357). Buffalo, NY: Bearly Limited. Besemer, S. P. & O’Quinn, K. (1999). C onfirming the three-factor creative product analysis matrix model in an American sample. Creativity Research Journal, 12 (4) 287-296. Besemer, S. P., & Treffinger, D. J. (1981). Analysis of creative products: review and synthesis. Journal of Creative Behavior, 15, 158-178. Boden, M. A. (1994). What is crea tivity? In M. A. Boden (Ed.) Dimensions of creativity (pp. 75-117). Cambridge: MIT Press. Boden, M. A. (2001). Creativity and knowle dge. In A. Craft, B. Jeffrey, & M. Leibling (Eds.), Creativity in Education (pp. 95-102). London: Continuum. Brogden, H. E. & Sprecher, T. B. (1964). Criter ia of creativity. In C. W. Taylor (Ed.), Creativity: progress and potential (pp. 155-176). New York: McGraw-Hill. Castiglione, L. V. (1996). Portfolio assessment in art and education. Art Education Policy Review, 97 (4). Christiaans, H. (2002). Creat ivity as a design criterion. Creativity Research Journal 14 (1), 41-54. Colanelo, N., Kerr, B., Hallowell, K., Huesman, R., & Gaeth, J. (992). The Iowa Inventiveness inventory: Toward a meas ure of mechanical inventiveness. Creativity Research Journal, 5 157-163. Coleman, C. (Ed.) (2002) Interior design handbook of professional practice New York: McGraw-Hill.

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94 Council for Interior Design, (2006). Profe ssional standards. Council of Interior Design Presentation. Retrieved September 18, 2006, from http://accreditid.org/profstandards.html Cropely, D. H., & Cropley, A. J. (2000) Fostering creativity in engineering undergraduate. High Ability Studies, 11 (2), 207-219. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention New York: Harper Collins. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Getzels, J. ( 1971). Discovery-oriente d behavior and the originality of creative produc ts: A study with artists. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1 (19), 47-52. Davidsen, J., & Lueng, W. (2006, January). Setting the Pace. Interior Design Magazine online. Retrieved September 18, 2006, from http://www.interiordesign.net/ id_article/CA6301962/id?stt=001 Denzin, N. (1984). The research act Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Douthitt, R. A., & Hasell, D. E. (1985) Correlating needs of interior design employers with program devel opment in interior design. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research,11 (2), 21-26. Eisner, E. (1999). Performance assessment and competition. Education Digest, 65 (1), 54-58. Getzels, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1976). The creative vision: A longitudinal study of problem-finding in art New York: Wiley-Interscience. Gronlund, N. (1998). Assessment of student achievement Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Hennessey, B. A. & Amabile, T. (1988). Th e conditions of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.) The nature of creativity (pp. 11-38). Cambridge: Cambridge Press. Hernecheck, P.J., Rettig, K.D., & Sherman, M. P. (1983). Professional viewpoints of competencies for interior design entry-level positions. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research, 9 (2), 7-14. Hoofman, C.L. (1983). Architectural graphics competencies in interior design: A comparison of professional and student usage. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research, 9 (1), 14-19. Horn, D., & Salvendy, G. (2006). Product creat ivity: Conceptual model, measurement and characteristics. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 7 (4), pp. 395412.

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95 Jackson, P. W., & Messick, S. (1965). Th e person, the product, and the response: conceptual problems in the assessment of creativity. Journal of Personality 33 309-329. Kilmer, R., & Kilmer, W. O. (1992). Designing interiors Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. Kneller, G. (1965). The art and science of creativity New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, Inc. Lobert B. M. and D. G. Dologite, (1 994). “Measuring creativ ity of information systems ideas: An exploratory inves tigation,” Proceedings of the twentyseventh Annual Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, pp. 392402. MacKinnon, D. W. (1978). In search of human effect iveness: Identifying and developing creativity New York: Creative Education Foundation. MacKinnon, D. W. (1987). Some critical issues for future research in creativity. In S. G. Isaksen (Ed.) Frontiers of creativity research (pp.120-130). Buffalo: Bearly Limited. Matthews, J., & Gritzmacher, J. (1984). Preferred content and format for portfolios and review criteria. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research, 10 (2), 28-31. Mooney, R. L. (1963). A conceptual model fo r integrating four approaches to the identification of creative talent. In C. W. Taylor & F. Barron (Eds.), Scientific creativity: Its recognition and development (pp. 331-339). New York: Wiley. Mullin, J.A. (1998). Portfolios: Purposef ul collections of student work. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 74 79-87. Myers, C. (1982). Entry level competen cies needed by interior designers. Journal of Interior Design Education and Research, 8 (1), 19-24. NCIDQ, (2004, July). NCIDQ Definition of interior design National Council for Interior Design Qualification. Retrieved September 18, 2006, from http://www.ncidq.org/ who/definition.htm Newstetter, W., & Khan, S. (1997). A deve lopmental approach to assessing design skills and knowledge. Frontiers in Education Conference, Atlanta 676-680. Nickerson, R. S. (1999). Enhancing cr eativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp.392-430). New York: Cambridge Press. Parnes, S. J., Noller, R. B., & Biondi, A. M. (1977). Guide to creative action New York: Scribners.

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96 Perkins, D. N. 91979). Evaluative response to art. In C. J. Nodine, & D. J. Fisher (Eds.), Perception and pictorial representation New York: Praeger. Plucker, J. A. & Renzulli, J. S. (1999) Psychometric approaches to the study of human creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.) Handbook of creativity (pp. 35-58). Cambridge: Cambridge Press. Reis, S. M., & Renzulli, J. S. (1991). The assessment of creative products in programs for gifted and talented students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 35, 128-134. Rengel, R. J. (2003). Shaping interior space New York: Fairchild Publications. Runco, M. A. (1991). The evaluative, valua tive, and divergent thinking of children. Journal of Creative Behavior, 25 311-319. Runco, M. A., & Mraz, W. (1992). Scori ng divergent thinking test using total ideational output and a creativity index. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, 213-221. Simonton, D. K. (1980). Thematic fame and me lodic originality in classical music: A multivariate computer-content analysis. Journal of Personality, 48 206-219. Sobel, R. S., & Rothenberg, A. ( 1980). Artistic creation as stimulated by superimposed versus separated visual images. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39 (5), 953-961 Sommer, R., & Sommer, B. (2002). A practical guide to behavioral research (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Spalding E. (2000). Performance a nd the new standards project. Phi Delta Kappan, 81 (10), 758-765. Stein, M. I. (1953). Creativity and culture. Journal of Psychology, 36 311-322. Stewart, G. W. (1950). Can pr oductive thinking be taught? Journal of Higher Education, 21 411-414. Tardif, T. Z., & Sternberg, R. J. (1988). Wh at do we know about creativity? In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity (pp.429-440). Cambridge: University Press. Taylor, I. A. (1975). An emerging view of cr eative actions. In I. A. Taylor & J. W. Getzels (Eds.), Perspectives in Creativity (pp. 297-325). Chicago: Aldine. Taylor, I. A., & Sandler, B. J. (1972). Use of a creative product inventory for evaluating products of chemists. Proceedings of the 80th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 7, 311-312.

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97 Thurstone, L. L. (1952). Creative talent. In L.L. Thurstone (Ed), Applications of Psychology (pp. 18-37). New York: Harper & Row. Torrance, E. P. (1988). The nature of creativ ity as manifest in its testing. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity (pp. 43-75). Cambridge: University Press. Treffinger, D. J., & Poggio, J. P. (1972) Needed research on the measurement of creativity. Journal of Creative Behavior, 6, 253-267. Turner, J. (2003). Examining an art portfolio assessment using a many-facet Rasch measurement model. (Doctoral disser tation. Boston College, 2003). ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 764823501. Universtiy of Florida, (2003). History Department of Inte rior Design. Retrieved September 18, 2006, from http://www.dcp.ufl.edu/interior Universtiy of Florida, (2003). Mission and goals Department of Interior Design. Retrieved September 18, 2006, from http://www.dcp.ufl.edu/interior/d epartmentprofile/mission.aspx Ward, W. C., & Cox, P. W. (1974). A field study of nonverbal creativity. Journal of Personality, 42, 202-219. White, A. & Smith, B. (2001.). Assessing adve rtising creativity using the creative product semantic scale. Journal of Advertising Research Nov/Dec, 27-34. Wiggins, G. (1989). A true test: toward mo re authentic and equitable assessment. Phi-Delta Kappan 70 (9), 703-713. Wiley, D., & Haertel, E. (1996). Extended assessment tasks: purposes, definitions, scoring, and accuracy. In M. Kane & R. Mitchell (Eds.), Implementing performance assessment: promis es, problems, and challenges. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Yin, R. (1984). Case study research: Design and methods (1st ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.

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98 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kathryn Levins was born and raised in Sa rasota, Florida, and is the youngest of five children. She attended Riverview High Sc hool and later enrolled at the University of Tampa. There, she was an active member of the volleyball team and appeared in three Division II NCAA National Ch ampionship tournaments. Kathryn graduated with honors from the University of Tampa in 2002 earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic de sign. Seeking to achieve a higher level of education, she joined the Univer sity of Florida to pursue a Master’s of Interior Design degree from the College of Desi gn, Construction, and Planning. During her graduate education, she was a member of the Foundation of Interior Design Education Research Executive Comm ittee responsible for designing the student accreditation exhibit as well as the related grap hical literature. She assisted in teaching the graphic communications course in the spring of 2005 and participated in a study abroad program in Vicenza, Italy for six weeks during the summ er of 2004. After graduation, she plans to join a commercial design firm in Tampa, Florida.


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THE IMPACT OF CREATIVITY ON THE EVALUATION OF ENTRY-LEVEL
INTERIOR DESIGN PORTF OLIO S:
EXAMINIG THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG CREATIVE NOVELTY,
RESOLUTION, AND STYLE














By

KATHRYN E. LEVINS


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006
































Copyright 2006

by

Kathryn E. Levins
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to acknowledge several people whose support and contributions made

this research study possible. First, I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering

support and unconditional love, and my siblings for always being by my side. I would

especially like to thank my husband for always encouraging me to look ahead and press

on.

Many thanks go to my graduate advisor, Dr. Margaret Portillo, for great ideas and

guidance throughout the entire process, and to Dr. Jason Colquitt, whose assistance and

statistical expertise proved invaluable. I wish to also thank Professor Candy Carmel-

Gilfilen for her encouragement and helping hand in various aspects of the proj ect, as well

as Michael Compton for his contributions to this study.

Lastly, I would also like to thank the firms and designers involved in the research

for donating their time and expertise. This study would not have been feasible without

their interest and willingness to participate.




















TABLE OF CONTENTS


page


ACKNOWLEDGMENT S ........._.._.. ...._... ..............._ iii..


LI ST OF T ABLE S ........._..... ...._... ............... vii...


LIST OF FIGURES ........._.._.. ...._... ...............viii...


AB STRAC T ................ .............. ix


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION .............. .................... 1


Purpose .............. ...............2.....
Si gnificance .............. ...............3.....
Research Questions............... ...............5
Delimitations ........._..... ...._... ...............6...

Assum options ............... ...............7....
Equal Opportunity .............. ...............7.....
Creativity is Everywhere .............. ...............7.....
Unbiased Judgments ........._..... ...._... ...............7.....
Summary ........._..... ...._... ...............8.....


2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ........._.._.. ...._... ............... 9...


Creativity .............. ...... ...............9..
What is Creativity? ........._.._.._ ...............10......_.....
Creative Products ........._...... ........_.._ ...............12.....
Assessment of Creative Products .............. .....................15
Creative Product Analysis Matrix ......_.._............... ........._.._.......17
Consensual Assessment Technique ........._.._.. ....._.. ........._.._......20
Summary ................. ...............21.._._._.......


3 METHODOLOGY .............. .................... 23


Research Design .............. ...............23....
Setting ........._..... ..._ ... ...............23.....
Pilot Study .............. ...............25....
Sam ple .............. ...............26....












Participants .............. ...............27....
Participant Procedure ................. ...............3.. 1..............
Instrum ent ................. ...............3.. 1..............
Proc edure s ................ ...............33........... ....
Timed slide show............... ...............33..
Evaluations .............. ...............34....
Interview s .............. ...............34....
Limitations ................. ...............36.................

Sum m ary ................. ...............36.......... ......


4 FINDINGS ................. ................. 37..............


Participant Demographics ................. ...............37.................
Data Analysis............... ...............40
Research Question One............... ...............42..
Research Question Two ................. ...............46........... ....
Research Question Three .................. .......... ...............50......
Defining creativity in interior design .............. ...............51....
Defining creativity in entry-level portfolios............... ...............5
Additional factors for portfolio evaluation............... ...............5
Sum m ary ................. ...............58.......... ......


5 DI SCU SSION ................. ................. 59..............


V alidity .............. ...............60....
Reliability ................. ................ .........6

Entry-level Interior Design Portfolios .............. ...............64....
N ovelty .............. ...............66....
Re soluti on ................. ...............67........... ....

Style............... ...............71.
Creativity .............. ...............73....
Implications .............. .... ...............76..
Suggested Future Research ................. ...............78........... ....
Conclusion ................ ...............80.................
APPENDIX


A PARTICIPATION LETTER REQUEST ................. ................. 82.............


B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL LETTER ............... ... ........... 83


C PORTFOLIO EVALUATION INSTRUMENT ................ .......... ............... 85


D INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE ................. ................. 86......... ....


E SUMMARY OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS ................. .......... ................ 87













LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ................. 92......... ....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ................. 98.............


















LIST OF TABLES

Table pg

2-1 Creative Product Analysis Matrix ................. ...............18........... ...

3-1 Firm profile .............. ...............28....

3-2 Participant design and portfolio review experience .............. .....................3

4-1 Participant demographics .............. ...............38....

4-2 Position title by employment variables .............. ...............40....

4-3 Portfolio assessment variables .............. ...............41....

4-4 Descriptive statistics of novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential .42

4-5 Correlation matrix of novelty, resolution, and style related to creativity ................44

4-6 Multiple regression analysis of creativity .............. ...............45....

4-7 Correlation matrix of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity related to hiring
potential ................. ...............47.......... .....

4-8 Multiple regression analysis of hiring potential ................ ......... ................48

















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure pg

4-1 Design specializations of participating firms ................ .............. ........ .....38

4-2 Distribution of job positions............... ...............3

4-3 Relationship model of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity ................... ...........43

4-4 Relationship model of novelty, resolution, style, creativity and hiring potential ....46

4-5 Model of creative product variables related to hiring potential in interior design...49

4-6 Designer responses to open-ended questions ..........._._ ......_.._ ........._........50

4-7 Definitions of creativity by novelty, resolution, and style .............. ....................52

4-8 Definitions of creativity in design portfolios by novelty, resolution, and style.......54

4-9 Designer considerations for reviewing portfolios .................. ................5

4-10 Additional designer considerations for entry-level hiring............... .................5
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design

THE IMPACT OF CREATIVITY ON THE EVALUATION OF ENTRY-LEVEL
INTERIOR DESIGN PORTF OLIO S:
EXAMINIG THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG CREATIVE NOVELTY,
RESOLUTION, AND STYLE


By

Kathryn E. Levins

December 2006

Chair: Margaret Portillo
Major Department: Interior Design

This study explored the impact of creativity in entry-level interior design portfolios

where the creative product attributes of novelty, resolution, and style were examined

relative to the creativity and hiring potential of design portfolios. Twenty-one designers

individually assessed 12 portfolios from graduating seniors in an accredited interior

design program. A locally developed evaluation instrument was used to measure five

dimensions: novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential. Designers also

responded to qualitative questions aimed at revealing individual views of creativity and

entry-level interior design portfolios.

The study was investigated in three stages. First, designers watched a programmed

slide show of the 12 portfolios to get an overall impression of the portfolio group.

Designers then viewed and evaluated the 12 portfolios independently using an evaluation









instrument. Lastly, designers answered questions regarding creativity, entry-level design

portfolios, and their design background.

The quantitative Eindings which analyzed 248 data points and the qualitative

Endings of 12 designers' opinions, support novelty, resolution, and style as attributes of a

creative product. The Hyve variables measured by the study--novelty, resolution, style,

creativity, and hiring potential--were found to highly associated with one another.

Further investigation revealed that creativity is influenced the most by novelty and then

style; hiring potential is influenced the most by style, followed by resolution, and then

creativity. In addition, designers perceive resolution to be the most important attribute of

creativity, while style, resolution, and novelty are considered important factors for hiring

potential. Style appears to be the overall organizing attribute for novelty and resolution

of a portfolio.















CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

A creative compilation of personal and collaborative efforts produced throughout a

period of time, the design portfolio can combine many design proj ects into a unifying

testament of one' s ability (Newstetter & Khan, 1997). For many design professions, the

use of portfolios is a way of communicating talents, skills, and potential growth of entry-

level professionals as well as experienced persons in the business. The design fields,

including architecture, interior design and graphic design, acknowledge the portfolio as a

necessary instrument allowing designers of all experience levels to showcase their work

(Castiglione, 1996).

Performance-based assessments such as portfolios are developed with the purpose

of better understanding students' competencies and skills: "Performance assessments

provide a systematic way of evaluating those reasoning and skill outcomes that cannot be

adequately measured by the typical objective or essay test" (Gronlund, 1998, p. 138).

More commonly used in education now (Castiglione, 1996), performance assessments are

advocated by educational researchers, and thought to be a better approach to measuring

highly complex skills (Arter, 1999; Eisner, 1999; Wiggins, 1989; Wiley & Haertel, 1996;

and Spalding, 2000). The interior design portfolio, a special case of performance

assessment, is a useful tool for assessing both what students have retained from their

educational experiences, as well as their potential for future success--two qualities that

prospective design firms, professors, and teaching facilities alike consider integral for

entry-level designers.










Purpose

Design portfolios, professional design projects, and competition entries seeking

design awards are just a few applications within interior design that are subj ect to

assessments of creativity (Christiaans, 2002). Since interior design is highly visual, being

creative is a dominant factor in this field as much as it is in other design-based

professions. Graduating students entering the design field not only understand the paucity

of entry-level design positions and the competitive nature of design and designers, but

also the role their portfolio has in securing future employment. Since creativity is

considered a maj or element when defining the quality of a designer, many graduating

students or students seeking internships are uncertain on how to display their design

talents and skills through their portfolio in the most unique and appropriate way. Hoping

to stand out among their peers, these students strive for direction on what is going to

make them more desirable than a peer seeking the same position.

The purpose of this study is to determine what design professionals consider

creative in entry-level interior design portfolios. These judgments will be measured

using a quantitative portfolio assessment and an open-ended, qualitative inquiry. A 5-

point Likert scale will be used to assess 12 portfolios on thirteen creative product

characteristics. Five major variables will emerge from the 13 items that include novelty,

resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential. The results will likely reveal that the

three creative product dimensions-novelty, resolution, and style--will be weighed

differently for creativity and hiring potential. In addition, creativity will be defined

differently amongst design professionals, but similarly in regard to the aspects of

creativity that are deemed the most valuable.










Significance

In both art and design, creativity is believed to be the most important criteria for

quality of performance (Christiaans, 2002). While research has been done on creativity

in last decade, little highlights the systematic assessment of creativity in interior design.

Creativity research centers on Mooney's (1963) four "P's" of creativity. The four facets

of creativity represent the creative person, the creative process, the creative product, and

the creative press (environment). Research has been done to analyze these four facets

together, a combination of the facets, and to assess each facet individually. The creative

product alone is the basis for this study. A creative product, defined by most researchers,

is some combination of novel and appropriate (Jackson & Messick 1956; Amabile, 1982;

Torrance, 1988). By assessing products for creativity, researchers have made

considerable theoretical efforts "to identify precisely what attributes of the product

contribute to its creativity" (Besemer & O'Quin, 1986, p. 115).

An in-depth investigation of a product in the art and design field, that being an

entry-level interior design portfolio, will significantly affect creativity research, design

education, and interior design students. First, exploring creativity of design portfolios, an

area that has been researched very little, will considerably add to the body of knowledge

surrounding creativity. Secondly, educators and teaching facilities can also gain

applicable knowledge from this research. Understanding the aspects of interior design

portfolios that are valued by professional designers will allow interior design educators to

focus their teachings to maximize skills and content that may help students acquire a

professional design position. Finally, interior design students will be introduced to the

characteristics of creativity and educated on the value these characteristics hold for entry-









level portfolios. This knowledge will inevitably affect possible future careers in interior

design.

Additionally, many studies have been completed in the last decade to illustrate

what design practitioners prefer in terms of skills and attributes of recent graduates.

Though these studies touch on very important aspects of the physical characteristics of

the portfolio, such as format and substance, there is a lack of concern for the creative

qualities that give each portfolio their unique character. One study conducted by Baker

and Sondhi (1989) looked at the competencies and attributes needed by entry-level

interior design graduates by surveying the top 200 interior design firms across the

country. The study found that "large interior design firms are looking for entry-level

personnel who critically think through design solutions based on design theories,

communicates verbally and through graphic presentation, practice professional ethics,

and present themselves as mature, enthusiastic, and well groomed" (p. 35). Although the

professionals favored hiring graduates with a 4-year degree, sixty-eight percent of the

responses said the portfolio was the primary basis of hiring decisions, followed by

education. This illustrates not only the value that professional interior designers place on

the portfolio, but also that the portfolio is the maj or ingredient that leads to entry-level

employment.

These findings are similar to the results of a previous study conducted in 1983.

Hernecheck, Rettig, and Sherman analyzed the viewpoints of 63 professional designers

on the subj ect of competencies for interior design entry-level positions. Similar to the

previous study, Hernecheck, Rettig, and Sherman found that the qualifications of the

applicant were more of a concern to the professionals than whether the applicant' s









educational institution was accredited. These professionals place more emphasis on the

"the individual's capabilities as shown in the resume, portfolio, and personal presentation

at the time of the interview" (1983, p. 12).

Research Questions

Through an empirical investigation, this study intends to measure how design

professionals judge creativity in potential employees by assessing the portfolios of

students from an accredited four-year interior design program. A quantitative scaled

measurement will primarily be used, followed by a qualitative inquiry, to give substantial

insight into the characteristics of successful, creative entry-level interior design

portfolios. In order to understand creativity, this study tries to identify specifically, what

design professionals perceive as creative in senior design student's portfolio work.

By utilizing the Creative Product Analysis Matrix theory (Besemer and Treffinger,

1981), several dimensions of creativity have been identified to help quantify and measure

the creative characteristics of interior design portfolios. The Creative Product Analysis

Matrix theory was developed to create an in-depth observation of creative products by

bringing attention to the more relevant qualities of the products (Besemer & Treffinger,

1981). These qualities, novelty, resolution, and style (Besemer, 2003), will be used to

analyze interior design portfolios. Novelty refers to the newness of the product,

resolution deals with how well the product functions, and style refers to the stylistic

attributes of the product. Included as well are the dimensions of creativity and hiring

potential. Creativity gives a measurable value to each portfolio and hiring potential is the

student's potential to be hired by the participant's firm. This study relies on these five

dimensions of entry-level interior design portfolios to help address the following research

questions:









1. What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, and style in entry-level
interior design portfolios in predicting creativity?

2. What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity in entry-
level interior design portfolios in predicting hiring potential?

3. How do the open-ended designer perceptions of creativity and entry-level
portfolios support the quantitative portfolio evaluations?

Delimitations

The University of Florida' s graduating class of 2005 provided the entry-level

interior design portfolios used in this study. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the

University of Florida was the only university selected to participate. Participation from

other universities would have been beyond the scope of a master' s thesis, and in addition,

provided more portfolios than necessary. The number of portfolios used was limited to

12. Any more would have been detrimental to the time constraints of the judges, all of

which scheduled approximately two hours during their workday to participate in the

study. Additional portfolios would have extended the time necessary to complete the

study, possibly causing fatigue and other emotional responses, which could then affect

their judgments of the portfolios.

Another delimitation of this study is that the 12 portfolios are comprised of a

varying number of student interior design proj ects consisting of both individual and team

projects. The projects illustrated varying amounts of information as well. In addition,

since the 12 portfolios that made up the sample are from an all-female class, this study

can only be generalized within the female population of undergraduate interior design

students from interior design programs similar to the University of Florida' s.









Assumptions


Equal Opportunity

The portfolios used in the study are comprised of a variety of work that was created

throughout the student' s tenure in the interior design program at the University of

Florida. Portfolios exhibit varying amounts of educational material produced at UF from

the beginning of the interior design program until the end. Since no transfer students

were included in this study, students went through the same curriculum with the same

professors. It is assumed that each student received similar instruction and attention, and

that students had an equal opportunity for success for each interior design proj ect and for

their portfolios as well.

Creativity is Everywhere

Creativity is considered by researchers to be a normally distributed trait (Parnes,

Noller & Biondi, 1977). While past ideas of the creative person had always been linked

to highly distinguished people, often geniuses, more current research contends that

everybody is creative, to some degree (Amabile, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Besemer

& O'Quin, 1986). Moreover, many scholars maintain creative thinking can be developed

and taught to students in some domain (Amabile, 1983; Nickerson, 1999). This idea

supports the assumption that students educated to the highest level of undergraduate,

interior design schooling have some degree of creative ability.

Unbiased Judgments

The professional interior designers and architects involved in the study make up the

expert panel. These experts were selected because of their employment at highly

recognized architecture and interior design firms located near the University of Florida in

Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. One can assume these distinguished firms have an









invested interest in research, gaining knowledge about design, and bettering the field of

design. Since there are no comparisons being made to other institutions or universities, it

is assumed that the expert panel of design judges representing highly recognized firms

will act without bias when assessing the student portfolios.

Summary

Entry-level interior design portfolios are a vital aspect for entry-level interior

designers gaining employment. By studying the creativity of entry-level interior design

students' portfolios, a heightened understanding of creativity in research and design

education will be acknowledged. Assessing these creative products will give additional

insight into the professional practice of interior design and benefit entry-level designers.

The purpose of this study is to find out what professional designers perceive to be

creative in entry-level interior design portfolios. The five dimensions of novelty,

resolution, style, overall creativity, and hiring potential of 12 portfolios will be assessed.

An additional qualitative inquiry will clarify how design professionals define creativity.

With the understanding of what professionals agree to be creative, entry-level interior

designers will be able to exemplify their skills and potential with the use of a highly

creative design portfolio.















CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

An in-depth study of senior interior design portfolios will measure various

dimensions of creative production. The review of literature focuses on defining creativity

and understanding creative products. Creative product measurement tools and theories

are also discussed further. Additionally, two important instruments that are used in the

methodology of this study are highlighted later in the literature review.

Creativity

Creativity is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that defies an easy definition.

Much of how creativity occurs is unseen, nonverbal, and some argue occurs during a

conscious/unconscious psychodynamic state (Torrance, 1988; Sternberg & Lubart, 1999).

Many theories and approaches have been developed by psychologists, scientists, and

researchers to study the often unexplainable concept of creativity. As Boden (1994) put

it, creativity:

is a puzzle, a paradox, some say a mystery. Inventors, scientists, and artists rarely
know how their original ideas arise. They mention intuition, but cannot say how it
works. Most psychologists cannot tell us much about it, either. What' s more,
many people assume that there will never be a scientific theory of creativity--for
how could science explain fundamental novelties? [...] Why does creativity seem
so mysterious? To be sure, artists and scientists typically have their creative ideas
unexpectedly, with little if any conscious awareness of how they arose. But the
same applies to much of our vision, language, and commonsense reasoning.
Psychology includes many theories about unconscious processes. Creativity is
mysterious for another reason: the very concept is seemingly paradoxical (p. 75).

Although creativity can be complicated, Kneller writes, "[It] is a unique and

invaluable aspect of human behavior" (1965, p. iii). It is something that still mystifies as









well as fascinates the minds of the scholars who study the nature of creativity (Tardif &

Sternberg, 1988).

The knowledge and understanding of creativity is always being redefined and

further developed. In order to study this concept scientifically, there has to be some sort

of definition to guide research. This section of the review of literature will be utilized to

discuss some of the definitions of creativity, and will also elaborate on creative products

and how they are assessed.

What is Creativity?

Creativity is defined differently amongst researchers and scientists, and is

conceptualized differently for every field (Amabile, 1996). The collection of views and

perspectives for identifying creativity has lead to a variety of definitions. However, a

commonality between these sometimes-differing views is that creativity is both novel and

usually appropriate (Torrance, 1988; Jackson & Messick, 1956; Amabile, 1982). For

instance, in order for something to be considered original, the frequency of the response

should be statistically unusual, and the response should be suitable for the problem

(Barron, 1955).

Several different approaches for the assessment of creativity have been identified.

According to Mooney (1963), there are four notably different perspectives to the

creativity problem. Creativity is believed to be: (1) the individual personality traits that

produce new ideas, the creative person; (2) the process of conceiving new ideas, the

creative process; (3) the result or product of the creative process, the creative product;

and/or (4) the environments that allow new ideas to evolve, the creative press (Mooney,

1963; Taylor, 1988; Alves, et. al, 2005). Each of these aspects has differing methods and

criteria for identifying creative talent, but often times are used in varying combinations:









"All of these four approaches have been found to some degree as an approach or set of

approaches used by investigators in their proj ects and/or programs of research" (Taylor,

1988).

In Boden' s (1994; 2001) view, creativity is the novel combination of old ideas.

There is a certain amount of surprise involved that is a result of the improbability of the

combination--the more improbable, the more surprising. Combinations that are valuable

and creative not only have to be new but interesting as well and relevant to a given

situation (Boden, 1994; 2001; Kneller, 1965).

Boden (1994; 2001) highlights two main theories that previous literature suggested

was involved with novel ideas: (1) those that that are new to the person's previous ways

of thinking, and (2) those that that are completely new and have never existed before.

Kneller (1965) was a strong proponent of the first theory, maintaining that creativity is an

idea, artifact, or form of behavior that is discovered and expressed and is new to that

individual. He believes that although novelty is a "rearrangement of existing knowledge,

it still is an addition to knowledge" (1965, p. 4). Additionally, Thurstone (1952) and

Stewart (1950) regard newness as a condition of creativity and believe that as long as

something is new to the individual that created it, then it is creative, even if the something

has previously been done.

On the contrary, Stein (1953) believed the second theory to be true: that novelty

meant that the creative product has never existed before in the same form. He also

believed that the product needed to be accepted as useful and satisfying in the time of

history in which it appears. Suggesting meanings of creativity may shift over time, Stein










(1953) implied that what may be viewed as creative at one time in one society may not be

in another.

These differing views of creativity have lead to a variety of definitions, all seeking

to solve the problem of establishing a criterion by which to assess creativity. Researchers

gain understanding of creativity by studying the person, the product, the process, and the

environment in which creativity occurs. Presenting literature specifically on the creative

product will put forth comprehensive research that is important for the present study.

Creative Products

In the past 15 to 20 years, psychometric approaches to measuring creativity have

advanced past the traditional cognitive and personality perspectives and have diversified

to include a broader range of approaches (Plucker & Renzulli, 1999). The methods can

be understood through the four facets of creativity discussed earlier. Current

psychometric methods have been used to measure personality characteristics of creative

individuals (creative person) (MacKinnon, 1978; Barron & Harrington, 1981), to

improve measures of generating new ideas (creative process) (Runco, 1991; Runco &

Mraz, 1992), to measure the creativity of products (creative product) (Besemer &

O'Quinn, 1986; Reis & Renzulli, 1991; Lobert & Dologite, 1994)), and to explore

environmental issues that are related to creativity (creative press) (Amabile, 1979,

Hennessey & Amabile, 1988). Studies in the past have investigated creativity utilizing

these methods individually and combinations of methods.

Analyzing creative products has been said to be "the starting point, indeed the

bedrock of all studies of creativity" (MacKinnon, 1987, p. 120). MacKinnon argues that

regardless of whether one chooses to study the creative person, the creative process, or

the creative environment, one must still define creativity in terms of the creative product.









For instance, the creative product is a result of the creative process or processes,

performed by the creative person, in a creative situation or environment. In addition,

MacKinnon (1975) says that until research on creative products is more firmly

encouraged and established, creativity research would continually be looking for answers

to the criterion problem. Other researchers agree on the significance of the creative

product (Taylor & Sandler, 1972; Treffinger & Poggio, 1972; Ward & Cox, 1974), and

furthermore, feel that analyzing creative products responds to and makes up for the

inconsistencies inherent in divergent thinking tests and rating scales (Runco, 1989).

Brogden and Sprecher (1964) contended that by analyzing the creative product, the

study of creativity would close the gap on the criterion problem. They proposed a

traditional definition for creative products:

A product may be a physical obj ect-an article or patent--or it may be a theoretical
system. [...] It may be an equation or a new technique. [...] It is not uniquely
bound up with the life of an individual (p. 160).

In other definitions, researchers have tried to incorporate criteria necessary for a product

to be considered creative. Newell, Shaw and Simon (1963) suggested that a creative

product satisfy one or more of the following conditions:

* a product that has novelty and value either for the thinker or the culture;

* a product that is unconventional in the sense that it requires modification or
rej section of previously accepted ideas;

* a product resulting from high motivation and persistence, either over a considerable
span of time or at a high intensity;

* a product resulting from the formulation of a problem which was initially vague
and ill-defined (p. 780).

Similarly, Jackson and Messick (1965) attempted to define the criteria essential for

a creative product. They proposed that a creative product must satisfy four criterions,









which are explained in order with respect to the progression of complexity, and are

dependent on the ones that precede it. To ensure a products' creativity, Jackson and

Messick (1965) argue that the following must be true:

* a product must be both unusual and appropriate in relation to its norms, fitting the
context of its response or situation, and evoke surprise and satisfaction to the
viewer; these two criterions are used conj ointly rather than independently.

* a product must transform and overcome conventional constraints, creating new
forms; and be stimulating.

* a product must possess "condensation"-requiring continued contemplation, or
savoring--where apparent simplicity and complexity are unified.

Jackson and Messick (1965) were also sensitive to the expected emotional or aesthetic

responses transmitted by the product to the viewers. They felt was important to not only

look at the "responsive" qualities of the creative product (i.e. unusualness,

appropriateness, transformation, and condensation), but also to discuss them in relative

terms (1965).

Amabile's (1982) consensual or operational definition of creativity is widely used

for subj ective, contextually-bound assessments of products. She states that:

A product or response is creative to the extent that the appropriate observers
independently agree it is creative. Appropriate observers are those familiar with
the domain in which the product was created or the response articulated. Thus,
creativity can be regarded as the quality of products or responses judged to be
creative by appropriate observers, and it can be regarded as the process by which
something so judged is produced (1982, p. 1001).

Amabile (1983) argues that it is impossible to utilize obj ective criteria alone for

analyzing and identifying products as creative. For example, the beauty of something or

someone is decided based on judgments of others--where defined characteristics of

beauty may or may not be applied. Therefore, Amabile (1983) suggested that in order to









identify something as creative, there must be some type of subj ective assessment

included in the methodology.

There are benefits to pairing obj ective dimensions of creativity with subj ective

assessments of experts. Sobel and Rothenberg (1980) solicited two internationally

acclaimed artists to rate sketches on three dimensions. In this study, the raters were

informed of the protocol by which to assess the sketches. The researchers defined

creativity in terms of originality and value, and explained the criteria to assess for:

* Originality of sketches: the sketch presents a fresh, new or novel design, structure,
image, or conception;

* Value of sketch: the artistic worth of the sketch, determined by factors such as
effectiveness, visual interest or visual power, coherence or unity, intelligibility,
emotional impact, "says" or "conveys" something;

* Overall creative potential of the art product: degree to which the product is both
original and of value (Sobel and Rothenberg, 1980, p. 957).

Similarly, Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi (1976) evaluated works of art by

incorporating four different groups of judges-two expert and two nonexpert groups.

These judges were asked to use their own subj ective views while rating the drawings on

the three dimensions of originality, craftsmanship, and overall aesthetic value.

Assessment of Creative Products

The analysis of products has long been seen as the forerunner of assessment

methods for identifying creativity (MacKinnon, 1978). The types of investigations

employed throughout literature run the gamut. Simple, straightforward rating scales have

been utilized while complex assessment techniques have been used to record value

through the use of expert judges. Some studies employ a single criterion such as

originality (Simonton, 1980), while others use multiple criteria like creativity, technical

quality, attractiveness, interest, expressiveness, integrating capacity, and goodness of










example (Christiaans, 2002). Exploring both ideas, Ward and Cox (1974) compared the

use of a single criterion versus multiple criteria for the assessment of creativity to

examine if sex and socioeconomic status were associated with the evaluated creativeness

of a product. A radio contest was held where "listeners were invited to submit humorous

and original little green things" (p. 202). In two studies, judges evaluated these products

using the criteria: originality, infrequency, attractiveness, humor, complexity, and effort

(Ward & Cox, 1974). In the first study, using only the criterion of originality, the authors

found "a significant association between social status measures and originality for

entrants whose products represented some investments of effort" (p. 210). The second

study utilized all the criteria as a subset to originality and reported that humor,

infrequency, and amount of effort were the best predictors of originality. Ward and

Cox' s efforts proved effective for supporting the idea of using several dimensions to

predict creativity.

Several instruments for assessing creative products have been developed by

researchers that are based on theoretical models. Researchers have taken different

approaches to establishing these models but with a similar goal--solving the criterion

problem. In the examples reviewed below, Taylor's (1975) theoretical model introduces

seven criteria that can be used to evaluate the degree of "effective creativeness" of a

product. This framework guided Besemer and Treffinger (1981) to introduce a

theoretical matrix that discusses the attributes of a creative product. Additionally,

Amabile (1983) introduces criteria for subj ective assessment through the use of expert

judges.









In 1975, Taylor formally presented the Creative Product Inventory for assessing

creativity of products. This theoretical model evaluated products using seven criteria:

"generation, the extent to which it generates or produces new ideas; reformulation, the

extent to which the product introduces significant change or modification in oneself or

others; originality, the degree of the product's usefulness, uncommonness, or statistical

infrequency; relevancy, the extent to which the product satisfactorily provides a solution

to a problem; hedonics, the valence or degree of attraction the product commands;

complexity, the degree of range, depth, scope, or intricacy of the information contained

in the product; and condensation, the degree to which the product simplifies, unifies, and

integrates" (Taylor, 1975, p. 314, 316).

Creative Product Analysis Matrix

The review of literature on creative products and the characteristics or attributes

presented in previous creativity studies encouraged Besemer & Treffinger (1981) to

synthesize and organize the literature into the Creative Product Analysis Matrix (CPAM).

This theoretical framework hypothesized that the three related categories created were the

"fundamental dimensions, the independent variables of creativeness manifested in

creative products" (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p. 163). Besemer (1998) also argues

that the model can be used for any type of 'artifact" of the creative process including

works of art and new product ideas. The three creative product attributes included (1)

novelty, (2) resolution, and (3) elaboration and synthesis. Novelty refers to the newness

of the product in terms of concepts, techniques, methods, and materials used to make the

product. The resolution of a product indicated the correctness of the solution to the

problem at hand, and elaboration and synthesis deals with the stylistic attributes of the

product (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981; Besemer and O'Quin, 1986; 1999; Besemer,











1998). These three characteristics are further broken down into facets. Early literature

on the CPAM framework illustrates 14 facets; however, the model currently demonstrates

9 facets that are: "for novelty, originality and surprise; for resolution, logical, useful,

valuable, and understandable; and for elaboration and synthesis, organic, well-crafted,

and elegant (Besemer & O'Quin, 1999, p. 287). Besemer (2003) later referred to

Elaboration and Synthesis simply as Style (Table 2-1).

Novelty ResolutionStl


The extent of newness of the How well the product works, The degree to which the product
product; in terms of the number and functions, and does what it is combines unlike elements into a
extent of new processes, new supposed to do. The degree to refined, developed, coherent whole,
techniques, new measures, new which the product fits or meets the statement or unit.
concepts including; in terms of the needs of the problematic situation.
newness of the product both in and Organic
out of the field. Logical The product has a sense of
The product or solution follows the wholeness or completeness about it.
Surprise acceptable and understood rules for All the parts "ai !i1. 11! together.
The product presents unexpected or the discipline.
unanticipated information to the Well-Crafted
user, listener, or viewer. Useful The product has been worked and
The product has clear, practical reworked with care to develop it to
Original applications. its highest possible level for this
The product is unusual or point in time.
infrequently seen in a universe of Valuable
products made by people with The product is judged worthy Elegant
similar experience and training. because it fills a financial, physical, The product shows a solution that is
social, or psychological need. expressed in a refined, understated
way.
Understandable
The product is presented in a
communicative, self-disclosing way,
which is "user-friendly."

Table 2-1. Creative Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p. 164;
Besemer, 2003)

A variety of creative products were assessed using the CPAM model. The testing

instrument developed by Besemer and her colleagues was used to measure the creative

attributes of products. Largely based on Taylor and Sandler's (1972) Creative Product

Inventory, the bipolar, adj ective scale created was derived from the theoretical model and

later termed the Creative Product Semantic Scale (CPSS). The scale measured the three

characteristics of the CPAM model--novelty, resolution, and elaboration and synthesis--










by using several semantic pairs of adjectives (Besemer & O'Quin, 1986; 1987). The

CPSS started with 1 10 adj ectives using 4-point scale ratings; though, after many tests, the

instrument was modified to 55 bipolar items with 7-point scale ratings.

The CPSS instrument that Besemer and her colleagues created has been used in its

entire form in some studies, while others have chosen a shorter, modified version. Lobert

and Dologite (1994) felt it was important to adapt the instrument to the specific domain

and product being investigated. Following suggestions given by expert judges, four items

were removed from the scale because they were either considered inappropriate for the

domain or were repetitive, and two more items were added. Lobert and Dologite (1994)

also thought it was necessary to capture the overall assessment in order to explore the

correlations with the other scales. Thus, an overall creativity dimension was included in

the scale as well.

Other studies have chosen to utilize only the CPAM. By using the matrix as a

theoretical framework, researchers have been able create valuable instruments specific to

their studies. One study utilized the CPAM to generate a 52-item survey for assessing

products from the perspective of the consumer (Horn & Salvendy, 2006). Centrality,

importance, and desire were recognized as significant predictors of consumer satisfaction

and purchasing ability.

In another study, Cropley and Cropley (2000) wanted to see if engineering students

would produce more creative ideas if they were taught creativity by way of class lectures.

Products made by the engineering undergrads were evaluated using an instrument that

combined certain ideas from the CPAM and the Creative Product Inventory. The product

was subj ectively judged on the dimensions of: "effectiveness (distance traveled), novelty










(originality and surprisingness), elegan2ce (understandability and workmanlike finish),

and germinality (usefulness, ability to open up new perspectives)" (pg. 211). An Overall

Impression dimension was also included to encourage students to be as creative as

possible. This fifth dimension was effective in illustrating whether effectiveness,

novelty, elegance, and/or germinality were responsible for overall impression or

perceived creativity of the product. In this study, novelty and germinality correlated

significantly with overall impression, suggesting that the rater' s subj ective assessment of

the product was influenced by how original and useful the product was.

Consensual Assessment Technique

Supplementary to the consensual definition of creativity previously discussed,

Amabile (1983) developed a theoretic framework for the assessment of creativity. She

clarifies two essential elements that discuss the nature of the observer' s responses. This

framework operates on the idea that: "A product or response will be judged as creative to

the extent that:

1. it is both a novel and appropriate, useful, correct or valuable response to the task at
hand, and

2. the task is heuristic rather than algorithmic" (Amabile, 1983, p. 33).

While incorporating the common approach of most product definitions where

creativity occurs when there is novelty and appropriateness, Amabile's framework takes

into account the type of task involved. A heuristic task is one in which the "path to the

solution" is not obvious and easily noticeable (1983). By contrast, an algorithmic task

has a path that is clear-cut and simple.

Amabile (1982; 1983) developed an assessment method based on this theoretical

framework. The consensual assessment technique relies heavily on the subjective









judgments of experts within the domain of the product under evaluation. There are

several requirements for this method that should be mentioned: the judges involved in the

assessment process should have some experience with the domain at hand; judges should

make their assessments independently; judges should assess the product for other

dimensions in addition to creativity; judges should rate products relative to one another

on the specific dimensions in question; and each judge should examine the products

randomly and in a different order (Amabile, 1983).

The most important criterion for this technique is that the expert' s assessments be

reliable. Amabile (1983) claims that, "by definition, inter-judge reliability is equivalent

to construct validity. If appropriate judges independently agree that a given product is

highly creative, then it can and must be accepted as such" (p. 39; Hennessey & Amabile,

1988). Amabile and her colleagues (Amabile, 1982; 1983; Hennessey & Amabile, 1988)

have developed and tested this technique in several studies involving children and adults,

utilizing poems, stories, and collages. A consistently high inter-rater reliability score has

been reported for over thirty experimental studies (Amabile, 1982; 1983; Hennessey &

Amabile, 1988). For example, one study asked female students in a psychology course to

create a collage (Amabile, 1979). Fifteen artists evaluated the collages on 16 dimensions

of judgment. The inter-judge reliability was .79, where reliability for 15 of the 16

dimensions was .70 or above, 12 of the 15 were over .80, and the median reliability was

.84, illustrating significant inter-rater reliability.

Summary

The complex nature of creative is illustrated in a thorough review of literature.

Though difficult to define, creativity is multifaceted and can be identified as the creative

person, the creative process, the creative product, and/or the creative press (Mooney,









1963). Having the widely accepted characteristics of novelty and appropriateness, the

creative product is recognized as "the starting point" of all creativity studies and

examined in further detail. Specific types of creative product assessment methods were

introduced including two that are relevant to the methodology of this study-the Creative

Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981) and the Consensual Assessment

Technique (Amabile, 1983). The Creative Product Analysis Matrix utilizes the criteria of

novelty, resolution, and style to describe the creativity of a product, and the Consensual

Assessment Technique is based on the assumption that creative products are

independently judged by experts familiar to the domain of the product. Studies using

both methods reported high reliability ratings.















CHAPTER 3
IVETHODOLOGY

Research Design

This exploratory study aims to measure how design professionals judge creativity

of entry-level interior designers by examining senior interior design student portfolios

from the University of Florida. The study integrated survey and interview research

methods into a three-part investigation. First, professional interior designers watched an

overview slideshow presentation of the selected portfolios. Next, designers viewed and

evaluated each portfolio individually using a locally developed evaluation form. Finally,

open-ended interview questions were asked to realize designer' s perceptions of the

creativity of entry-level portfolios. The descriptive and statistical analyses developed

from the resulting data were acquired during the second and third phases. This

triangulation of methods increases the confidence of the analysis (Denzin, 1984; Yin,

1984).

Setting

The University of Florida was selected to be part of this study because of its

extensive history and notable design program and institutional standing. As a member of

the Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1985, the University of Florida

has been committed to advancing American universities through intensive research.

Encouraged within the university, research is an integral part of all the schools and

colleges on the University if Florida' s campus. The Department of Interior Design is










especially dedicated to "promoting, developing, and advancing the interior design

discipline through excellence in teaching, research, and service (Mission and Goals).

The interior design program at the University of Florida initially began in 1948 and

was later established as a Department in the College of Architecture in 1982. Now rooted

in the College of Design, Construction, and Planning, the Department of Interior Design

offers students the opportunity to graduate with a Bachelor of Design in Interior Design

degree from a CIDA accredited program. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation

(CIDA) has been acknowledging interior design programs from North American colleges

and universities for over 35 years. The University of Florida' s Department of Interior

Design is currently one of CIDA' s 201 accredited design programs. The Council takes

great pride in the accreditation process and standards required of programs seeking

accreditation:

The Professional Standards set forth by the Council for Interior Design
Accreditation are used to evaluate interior design programs that prepare students
for entry-level interior design practice and position them for future professional
growth. The Council is firmly committed to setting high standards for interior
design education, challenging others to meet and exceed those standards and
seeking ways to continuously elevate and evolve the standards, thus significantly
contributing to the advanced professionalism of the interior design field
(Professional Standards).

Since the University of Florida' s Interior Design program is accredited, it is assumed that

the students graduating from this program are of the caliber of entry-level designers for

the Interior Design profession.

Furthermore, the University of Florida has also been recognized by leading design

firms as one of the nation' s top interior design schools (DesignIntelligence, 2005).

Printed annually, America's Best Architecture and' Design Schools is a guide for

prospective students, acknowledging the top architecture, landscape architecture, interior









design, and industrial design programs throughout the nation. The University of Florida

has appeared in this publication within the top 25 design schools Hyve times since its first

printing in 2001.

Pilot Study

Prior to the data collection, a pilot study was conducted that proved to be

invaluable. Sommer and Sommer (2002) stress the importance of pre-testing study

procedures and tools in order to identify any problems and omissions and to refine survey

and interview questions. They believe that a pilot study does improve "the precision,

reliability, and validity of the data collected in the actual study" (pg. 9).

Two interior design educators from the University of Florida where selected to

pilot test the instrument and study procedure. These faculty members were chosen

because they exemplify the characteristics of the participants in this study; they both have

practiced interior design professionally, and have experience reviewing portfolios. With

no time restrictions, the educators viewed the slide show, evaluated the portfolios in

random order, and then responded to the eleven interview questions. The overall

evaluation instrument and interview protocol were effective; however, one portfolio was

eliminated and replaced by another, and the slideshow was modified to display each slide

a few seconds longer with a clear, visual break in between student proj ects.

The slide show incorporated a randomly selected proj ect from each of the 12

portfolios with a blank screen appearing between each project. The purpose of the slide

show was to allow the viewer to have a chance to get an overall sense of all the portfolios

in the sample. Initially it was set-up to play automatically and advance each slide after

Hyve seconds. After the pilot test was conducted, both designers noted how quickly the

slides advanced, not permitting enough evaluation time to develop an impression of the









portfolios. Instead of the projects advancing after five seconds, the amount of time each

slide was displayed on the screen was delayed to seven seconds. A colored slide,

additionally included after each blank screen, color coordinated with the proj ect

following it and did not add or detract from the proj ect itself. The blank slide provided

the viewer a visual break while the colored slide prepared the viewer for the next proj ect.

Once the pilot test was completed, each educator was asked to sort the 12 portfolios

into groups indicating excellent, average, and poor creativity so that the sample of

portfolios represented a range in quality. This approach of grouping or rating the

portfolios relative to one another by expert judges follows the widely accepted

Consensual Assessment Technique of creative products developed by Amabile (1982).

The technique requires products in a domain to be judged in relation to each other by

experts familiar to that domain and the judgments must be made independently. This

technique was used by two design educators to sort the portfolios into the three quality

related groups. The resulting groups differed by one portfolio; one educator classified a

portfolio as being average, while the other viewed it as poor. It was also noted that the

number of portfolios in the excellent group was small compared to the average and poor

groupings. Therefore, the complete sample represented mostly average portfolios, and

the poor group included more portfolios than the excellent group. As a result, the lowest

scoring portfolio was replaced with an above average portfolio to balance the quality of

the portfolios within the sample.

Sample

The interior design portfolios were the property of the University of Florida from

the Department of Interior Design' s graduating class of 2005. The sample of portfolios,

representing about one-third of the graduating class (n = 12), was selected because they









were available in digital format. Each student' s portfolio showcased what they perceived

as their best work produced throughout their design studios in the interior design

program. The 12 portfolios used in the sample represented a varying number of proj ects

that illustrated mostly healthcare, corporate, retail, hospitality, and residential design, and

portfolios include projects completed individually and with a group. The number of

slides included in each portfolio ranged from 4 to 31 with a mean number of 17.75 slides.

The portfolios were submitted in varying digital formats that required use of many

different computer programs in order to view the portfolios. Prior to the pilot test, the

portfolios were formatted into individual Microsoft PowerPoint slide shows. The

integrity and context of the portfolios were kept exactly the same as when they were

originally submitted. By formatting the portfolios into a single layout, it allowed the

portfolios to be viewed by a particular computer program which was more time efficient,

and controlled for variances in the many programs capable of producing similar graphic

renditions.

Participants

For this study, several design firms were selected based on specific criteria: firm

size, services, clientele, accolades, and location. Each firm that was selected to

participate was similar in size with 16 or more design employees in both medium and

large sized firms. This study adopted the definition by Battaglini (2003) where a medium

size firms employ 8 to 49 employees and large firms have 50 or more people on staff.

(See Table 3-1). The twenty-one participants came from 4 medium firms and 6 large

firms. The scope of services and target clientele are similar and include but are not

limited to corporate, hospitality, retail, education, government, healthcare, justice,

residential, and information design. Each firm has received outside awards or honors in









the architecture and design Hields, such as annual awards, design competitions, awards of

excellence, and design merit awards from both American Society of Interior Designers

and American Institute of Architects. The firms are located in Jacksonville, Tampa, and

Orlando, all of which offer a comprehensive and competitive design market in the

Southeast Region of the United States. Jacksonville was home to 4 firms, Tampa had 6

firms involved, and 2 firms in Orlando participated. A total of 12 offices contributed to

the study, but because two firms had office branches in two of the three locations, there

were a total of 10 firms involved in the study (See Table 3-1).

Table 3-1. Firm profile
Location Firm Name Firm Size Participants (n=21)
Jacksonville ASD Large 1
Gresham .Glithl and Partners Large 2
Rink Design Partnership Medium 2
Rolland, DelValle & Bradley Medium 2
Orlando HKS Large 1
Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo Lar ge 1
Tampa Alfonso Architects Medium 2
Elements Design Medium 1
Gensler Lar ge 5
Gresham .Glithr and Partners Large 2
Gould Evans Associates Lar ge 1
HKS Large 1
Note: Firms listed in italics have been ranked in Top 100 Giants of 2006 by Interior
Design Magazine (Davidsen & Leung, 2006).

The 10 firms utilized in the study were selected because of their high credentials in

the field of design. Of the 10 firms involved in the study, the six large firms have been

recognized and ranked by a national magazine based on their monetary growth. ASD,

Gresham Smith and Partners, HKS, Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo, Gensler, and

Gould Evans Associates have received recognition in Interior Design Magazine as the top









100 industry leaders of 2006 (Davidsen & Leung, 2006). The four remaining firms not

ranked by this magazine and are medium sized firms; Rink Design Partnership, Rolland

DelValle and Bradley, Alfonso Architects, and Elements Design are also recognized in

the field as influential and innovative.

After selecting firms that met all the criteria, the designer' s participation was

requested. Designers were selected from each firm based on their position and

responsibilities. In order to evaluate portfolios of interior design graduates seeking entry-

level placement, it was important that the judges had experience in viewing and assessing

portfolios of potential new hires. A letter was sent to each firm acknowledging a

designer who was endorsed as a leader within the firm. The letter explained the purpose

of the study and the amount of time anticipated for participation (See Appendix A). A

follow-up telephone call was made to the designer three days later soliciting

participation. After a verbal agreement, the designer was asked for a recommendation of

another designer within the firm who had similar credentials and would be available to

participate in the study. If the designer had a suggestion, in most cases a verbal

connection was initiated by the designer. On occasion, the researcher contacted the

accompanying designer. Of the thirty-six designers solicited over a period of six weeks,

twenty-two designers agreed to represent the sample of judges that were responsible for

assessing the 12 portfolios. Following further review of the participants' credentials, one

designer with only one year working in the profession was eliminated from the

participant sample.

There were a few occurrences in the data collection that contained missing

information. During the individual portfolio evaluations, answers were left blank for










three participants. Two incidences appeared to be an oversight, while the third was

attributed to problems accessing four of the 12 portfolios. Completing these four

portfolios at a later time was not suitable for the participant. After discussing the matter

with a statistician, it was determined that since the participant evaluated over 50% of the

material, his information was valuable and it was not necessary to eliminated it from the

research.

The total of 21 participants was made up of 9 males (43%) and 12 females (57%).

The mean age was 42.6 years (n=20). The mean number of years the participants had

been practicing interior design or architecture was 18.2 years. The participants reviewed

an average of 20 portfolios per year for an average of 10 years (See Table 3-2).

Table 3-2. Participant design and portfolio review experience

Age Design Reviewer Portfolio /yr Review Time
Pariciant (n20) Experience (n=21) (n=20) (n=20)
(n=21)
M~ SD M~ SD M~ SD M~ SD M~ SD
Total 42.60 0.71 18.19 8.69 10.20 7.52 20.07 19.48 59.10 18.94
Reviewer = Number of years participant has reviewed entry-level portfolios
Portfolio / yr = Number of entry-level portfolios participant reviews per year

The participants (n=21) selected ranged from principals, vice-presidents, associates,

directors of interior divisions, senior managers, proj ect managers, proj ect designers, and

interior designers or architects. The participants were categorized into four groups based

on job position (Coleman, 2002). The following illustrates the four groups created:

* Principle (n=6)

* Design Director; includes vice-presidents, first level managers, and design
managers (n=8)

* Project Manager; includes senior designers, senior project designer, and proj ect
designers (n=5)

* Designer; includes interior designers and architects (n=2)









Participant Procedure

Upon initiating the study procedure, all 21 participants were informed of the

consent requirements and agreed to participate. It was made known that: the study did

not anticipate any risks or benefits, participant identities were to remain confidential,

participation was completely voluntary, and no penalty would be assessed for

withdrawing from the study.

When a research study involves human subj ects, the University of Florida requires

approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) (Appendix B). To submit to the

IRB, the necessary documents included a concise description of the study's purpose and

participants, a summary of the intended methodology, and examples of the evaluation

form, interview questions, and consent form. The board granted complete approval for

the research study.

Instrument

Since both quantitative and qualitative methods were implemented in this study,

two different types of instrumentation were developed by the researcher. The quantitative

portion of the study required a tool that measured characteristics of a creative portfolio

and allowed for numerical analysis (See Appendix C). The survey tool created for this

study quantified specific attributes of creative products and entry-level portfolios. An

evaluation form emerged that included Hyve dimensions: novelty, resolution, style,

creativity and hiring potential. The qualitative evaluation was captured with a

questionnaire (See Appendix D). The five open-ended interview questions were designed

to get focused responses to each participant' s subj ective views of creativity and entry-

level portfolios. Six additional questions were utilized to determine background

information and establish a profile of the sample firms.









The Creative Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981) framework

was used to organize the attributes of creativity into three maj or characteristics. The nine

attributes, along with two additional attributes for both creativity and hiring potential,

became the thirteen points the evaluation form measured. The three conceptual

dimensions that were identified--novelty, resolution, and style--related to analyzing the

creativity of a product. Novelty refers to the newness of the product and can be

characterized by originality and surprise; resolution deals with the usefulness,

logicalness, value, and understandability of the product; and the style of the product

attests to the physical attributes of the finished product and consists of an organic, well-

crafted, and elegant design (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981; Besemer, 2003).

Overall creativity and hiring potential were included in the evaluation form.

These additional attributes provided a way to connect the success of a portfolio to its

genuine purpose. The creativity variable awarded a value to each portfolio based on its

overall creativity. Though the Creative Product Analysis Matrix asserts that a product' s

creativity is a result of its values of novelty, resolution, and style, an overall value of the

product' s creativity is not accounted for. Incorporating this variable provided a way to

compare the creativeness of each portfolio. In addition, the last variable of hiring

potential was especially important considering that entry-level interior designers create

portfolios in order to gain professional employment. Thus, it was necessary to identify

the value professional interior designers place on the different aspects of entry-level

interior design portfolios. Including these two variables provided additional information

that was useful for determining how and which of the characteristics of creativity had the

most influence.









Since the participants had not been informed beforehand of the criteria being

evaluated and no concrete definition of creativity was mentioned, the questionnaire was

utilized to seek out each of the participant' s personal views on creativity in terms of

interior design and entry-level portfolios. The Einal six of the eleven total questions

captured pertinent background information on participant's personal experience and their

firm's services and specialties.

Procedures

The data collection took place at each of the respective firms. The designers

scheduled a two hour block of time to complete the study. A packet was created for each

judge containing two compact discs (CD), 12 evaluation forms, and the list of interview

questions. The procedure was broken into three parts. First, to get an overall impression

of the portfolios as a group, judges watched a programmed slide show of the 12

portfolios. Second, judges viewed and evaluated the 12 portfolios based on the attributes

of creativity. Third, the researcher asked each judge eleven questions regarding

creativity, portfolios, and their design background.

Timed slide show

In order for the judges to evaluate the portfolios, it was necessary for them to get a

glimpse of each one before individually assessing them. Amabile (1996) incorporates a

similar method in her Consensual Assessment Technique where "the judges familiarize

themselves with the products to be rated before they actually begin the rating task"

(pg.75). Amabile suggests using a random sample of approximately 20% of the entire

product or products when rating a products) could be tedious and time consuming. As a

result of this concept, a CD was created that, when inserted into a computer,

automatically started a timed Microsoft PowerPoint slide show illustrating one proj ect










from each portfolio. Although each project was randomly selected from each of the

individual portfolios, efforts were made to ensure that similar proj ects weren't viewed

directly next to one another in the sequence. These proj ects allowed the judges to get a

quick look at all of the portfolios before they evaluated each one individually.

Evaluations

For the second step of the procedure, five different CD's were made that contained

the 12 files of the portfolios in question. The digital portfolios were formatted into

individual Microsoft PowerPoint slide shows that began as soon as each file was set in

motion. Randomly changing the order in which the portfolios appeared on the five CD's

helped control for ordering effects that would confound the results. In addition, the five

CD's were randomly issued to the twenty-one judges. Although the portfolios remained

the same on each CD, two judges from the same firm never viewed the portfolios in the

same order.

Since these slide shows were not programmed to advance automatically, each judge

could control the portfolio and the time they spent evaluating. The twenty-one judges

were asked to view and evaluate each one using the evaluation form. As soon as each

judge received the CD of portfolios to assess, the time the first portfolio started was noted

as well as the time when the judges finished evaluating the last one. This observation

was recorded to see if there were unusual variances in the evaluation times between each

judge.

Interviews

The final step in the procedure was comprised of interviews. As soon as the

evaluations of the 12 portfolios were completed, the interviews commenced. The

questions were structured and open-ended. A tape-recorder was used to document the










verbal responses of the judges. One participant asked to see the questions before

answering so they could formulate comments. In other instances, the participant

preferred to respond to the questions in writing. This was the case in 67% of the

interviews. This was an unexpected option, but became helpful in situations where two

or more designers were participating at the same time, the meeting time turned out to be

inconvenient for the designer and the designer didn't have enough time to complete the

entire process, or if a designer was out of town.

The questions were divided into two sections. The first section was an extension of

the evaluation process. Five questions were asking questions regarding creativity and

entry-level portfolios. The second section asked six questions involving the participant's

background and history in the interior design profession.

The responses to the first set of questions on creativity and entry-level interior

design portfolios had to be coded. Since the questions were open-ended, participants'

responses varied. To be more reliable, the researcher and an interior design educator

independently coded the answers. The responses were coded similarly for each question.

For the first two questions that asked for the participant' s definition of creativity and

entry-level portfolios, the researcher and educator were able to organize the responses

according to the creative product attributes. When designers mentioned one or more

characteristics of one attribute, the answer was coded for both characteristics. If the same

designer mentioned characteristics for one or more attributes, the answer was coded to

include all attributes mentioned. In the third and forth questions that introduced other

factors besides creativity, categories representing those responses were included.









Limitations

There was one limitation this study couldn't control. Since the Creative Product

Analysis Matrix (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981) guiding the study accredits a product' s

creativity to its values of novelty, resolution, and style, it does not provide an overall

value of the product's creativity. Besemer and Treffinger (1981) indicate that novelty,

resolution, and style define the creativity of an already creative product. However, in

order to compare these attributes to the creativity of the design portfolio, another variable

was included to give a value to each portfolio based on its creativity.

Summary

This study, which combined quantitative and qualitative methods, gathered

information on creativity of entry-level interior design portfolios. Twelve interior design

portfolios from the University of Florida were evaluated on several characteristics of

creativity. Twenty-one participants were selected from high profile architecture and

design firms that were noted as industry leaders. The designers not only had valuable

experience in design, but more importantly had experience reviewing portfolios. The

study procedure was accomplished in three parts; first, designers viewed a slide show that

illustrated one randomly selected proj ect from each portfolio, then, designers evaluated

the 12 individual portfolios using a locally developed form, and finally, a questionnaire

was completed to obtain the designers' subj ective views of creativity and entry-level

portfolios.















CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of what professional

designers consider creative in entry-level interior design portfolios. Designers

participating in the study overviewed selected portfolios, evaluated each portfolio

individually, and responded to questions that explored their views of creativity in interior

design and portfolio evaluation. A description of the 21 participants responsible for

assessing the 12 portfolios along with a detailed account of the data analysis precedes the

discussion of the research questions. This study utilized three research questions that

examined the importance of novelty, resolution, and style in predicting creativity and

hiring potential, and sought further elaboration on designers' perceptions of entry-level

interior design portfolios. All statistical analyses reported in the study employ an alpha

level of .05 to determine significance.

Participant Demographics

The sample of participants consisted of interior designers and architects from

leading firms in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. Two of the ten firms had multiple

offices involved in the study. For example, designers from Gresham Smith and Partners

participated in Jacksonville and Tampa, and designers from HKS participated in Orlando

and Tampa. The total of 12 offices contributed seven designers from Jacksonville, two

from Orlando, and twelve from Tampa. The participating designers answered a series of

demographic and employment experience questions including age, type of design work,










j ob position, design experience, number of years reviewing portfolios, and number of

portfolios reviewed per year.

Participants (n = 21) ranged in age from 28 to 62, with a mean age of 42.60 and

standard deviation of 8.65. Table 4-1 illustrates that 42.9% (n = 9) of the designers were

male while 57. 1% (n = 12) were female. The age range of the males (SD = 1 1.55) was

much broader than that of the females (SD = 5.72).

Table 4-1. Participant demographics

Gender n % Age (n = 20)

M SD
Male 9 42.9 43.89 11.55
Female 12 57.1 41.55 5.72
Total 21 100.0 42.60 8.65

The specializations of design work from the designers' respective firms are

illustrated in Figure 4-1. Both public and private sectors of design practice included

healthcare, corporate, retail, education, government, hospitality, and residential. The

greatest number of designers in the study practiced corporate design (n = 16), while the

least number engaged in government design (n = 4). All 21 designers practiced in the

public or commercial sector, with an additional six also working in the private or

residential arena.




18 s






Healthcare Corporate Retail Education Government Hospitality Residential


Figure 4-1. Design specializations of participating firms









Position titles of these designers included Principle, Vice-President, Associate,

Director of Interior Division, Senior Manager, Proj ect Manager, Proj ect Designer, and

Interior Designer or Architect. These responses were organized into four groups based

on level of responsibility as: Principle, Design Director, Proj ect Manager, and Designer

(Coleman, 2002). Figure 4-2 represents the frequency of each group within the

participant sample. Design Directors composed the largest portion with 38.1% (n = 8),

followed by Principles with 28.6% (n = 6), Proj ect Managers with 23.6% (n = 5), and

Designers with 9.5% (n = 2).

9.5%,
n=2
28.6%, JOB POSITION
n = 6 H Principle
SDesign Director
23.8%, OProject Manager
n=0 ODesigner







38.1%,
n= 8


Figure 4-2. Distribution of job positions

In addition, questions were asked regarding experience in design as well as

experience reviewing portfolios. These variables appear to correlate naturally with job

position. Table 4-2 illustrates that the higher the position, the more experience the

participant had in design practice and with portfolio reviews. The six Principles had the

most design experience with 24. 17 years, followed by Design Directors (20.38 years),

Project Managers (11.80 years), and Designers (7.50 years).









Table 4-2. Position title by employment variables
Design Exp. Review Portfolio / yr
Group n %
(n = 21) (n = 21) (n = 21)
M ~SD M2~SD M ~ SD
Principle 6 28.6 24.17 8.80 15.50 6.63 26.42 20.60
Design Director 8 38.1 20.38 6.37 11.57 6.02 27.44 20.61
Proj ect Manager 5 23.8 11.80 5.93 05.60 6.66 07.80 10.33
Designer 2 09.5 7.50 3.54 01.00 1.41 02.25 01.77
Design Exp. = Number of years participant has practiced design
Review = Number of years participant has reviewed entry-level portfolios
Portfolio / yr = Number of entry-level portfolios participant reviews per year

The Principles reviewed portfolios for 15.50 years; Design Directors reviewed for

1 1.57 years; Proj ect managers reviewed for 5.60 years; and Designers reviewed

portfolios for 1.00 year. The approximate number of portfolios reviewed each year

showed that the two most experienced groups--Principles and Design Directors--

reviewed the greatest number of portfolios. On average, Design Directors (27.44) and

Principles (26.42) review comparably the same number of portfolios each year, Proj ect

Managers review 7.80 portfolios per year, and Designers reviewed only 2.25 portfolios

per year.

Data Analysis

The maj ority of the data analysis centered on examining relationships between

three creative product attributes. Designers evaluated 12 portfolios using a locally

designed instrument that measured thirteen items using a Hyve-point Likert scale ranging

from poor to excellent. The instrument contained Hyve variables that consisted of items

defining the creative product attributes of novelty, resolution, and style, as well as

creativity and hiring potential. Creativity was included to gauge the creativeness of the










portfolio, while hiring potential was included to measure the value of entry-level interior

designers seeking employment.

To ensure that the items correlated and consistently measured the main variables,

data entered into Microsoft Excel was tested for inter-item reliability. Table 4-3

illustrates the thirteen items that make up the five variables. The items within each

variable were pair-tested to see if they correlated. The items that make up the style

variable, for example, were pair-tested three times: well-crafted with organic, well-

crafted with elegant, and elegant with organic. These correlations were used to obtain

alpha ratings using Cronbach 's alpha, a test that measures the reliability of variable in

producing consistent results (Blaikie, 2003). A high alpha value indicates a high level of

consistency among items, while an alpha rating less than .70 is not considered reliable.

The reliability ratings for the five variables can be seen in Table 4-4. All five variables

were found to be consistent reaching an alpha level of .85 or higher, with creativity

reaching the highest reliability with an alpha score of .92.

Table 4-3. Portfolio assessment variables
Hiring
Novelty Resolution Style Creativity
Potential
Original Logical Well-crafted Creative Potential
Surprise Useful Organic Innovative Promise
Understandable Elegant
Valuable

Evaluations of the 13 items within the portfolio instrument resulted in a total of 248

data points. This data was inserted into SPSS, a statistical software program, and

analyzed. Table 4-4 illustrates the mean and standard deviations of the five variables.

Since the findings show the mean scores for the five variables were between 3 and 4, the

thirteen items within the evaluation instrument were rated between average and good.










Resolution was the highest scoring variable with a mean score of 3.53 and consequently

had the smallest spread of scores (SD = 0.77). However, resolution had one of the lowest

average inter-item correlations (.69). Even so, resolution had a high alpha level

indicating a strong correlation among items. Alpha has a positive correlation with the

number of items within a variable: the more items in a variable, the higher the alpha

value will be (Blaikie, 2003). Novelty had the lowest mean score of 3.21. The spread of

the distribution of scores was largest for hiring potential shown with a standard deviation

of 0.99.

Table 4-4. Descriptive statistics of novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring
potential
Variable Average Inter- Standard
Alpha Mean
(n = 248) Item Correlation Deviation
Novelty .74 .85 3.21 .90

Resolution .69 .90 3.53 .77

Style .66 .85 3.44 .88

Creativity .85 .92 3.31 .95

Hiring Potential .84 .91 3.37 .99



Research Question One

What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, and style in entry-level

interior design portfolios in predicting creativity? This question considers the three

creative product variables, as identified by Besemer and Treffinger (1981; Besemer,

2003), in relation to the creativity of entry-level interior design portfolios. It further

seeks to examine the relationship between these attributes and creativity.

The analysis being undertaken is based on the assumption that there are key

attributes of a product that relate to creativity. More specifically, these attributes are









likely to influence the degree of creativity of the product. Figure 4-3 illustrates the

possible associations and influences novelty, resolution, and style have on creativity.

Novelty


Resolution ,I Creativity


Style

Figure 4-3. Relationship model of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity

The associations between the three creative product variables (novelty, resolution,

and style) and creativity can be seen in Table 4-5. As a measure of the strength of

association, Pearson's r coefficient shows the larger the number, the stronger the

association is between two variables; and how much variance two variables share in

common (Blaikie, 2003). The relationships demonstrated here are all positive and

significantly associated with creativity, but with varying strengths of association.

Examining the associations between these four variables, the strongest relation exists

between novelty and creativity (r = .89). Style also has a very strong association with

creativity with a coefficient of .84. The weakest association is between resolution and

creativity (r = .71). Even though this association is still considered to be strong, it is the

weakest among the three creative product variables. Some unaccounted variance may

exist between the variables but since their associations are not fully correlated they are

not measuring the same thing, and thus, the variables are not interchangeable.

In order to understand the variance between two variables, the r value is squared.

For instance, in the relationship between novelty and creativity, r2 = .79. This means that

novelty can predict creativity 79% of the time. Additionally, style can predict creativity

71% of the time, while resolution only has a 50% chance of predicting creativity.










Table 4-5. Correlation matrix of novelty, resolution, and style related to creativity
Variables Novelty Resolution Style Creativity

Novelty --- .70* .79* .89*
Resolution .70* --- .81* .71*

Style .79* .81* --- .84*
Creativity .89* .71* .84* ---
* p<.05

To examine these relationships further, multiple regression was used to explain the

relative influence of the predictor variables on a single outcome variable by indicating the

contribution of each predictor variable when the influence of all other predictors is held

constant. In this case, novelty, resolution, and style are the predictor variables and

creativity is the outcome variable. This type of analysis assumes the relationship between

variables is linear; that as one variable increases or decreases, the other variable also

increases or decreases, and that the changes in value on both variables occur at the same

rate (Blaikie, 2003). In addition, "the predictor variables are regarded as having the same

role, that is, in possibly contributing to an explanation of the outcome variable" (Blaikie,

2003, p. 294).

The influences of the three creative product variables on creativity can be seen in

Table 4-6. The purpose of this table is to explain the variances of creativity and to

illustrate which predictor variables are the strongest contributors to creativity. By

looking at the R2 ValUe (Which is the correlation coefficient for multiple regression,

comparable to r2) Of .84, this set of predictor variables--novelty, resolution, and style--

can explain 84% of the variance in the outcome variable. In looking at the significance

values, novelty (t = 14.17) and style (t = 7.15) are the only two significant variables (p <










.05) with a t-value greater than 1.96, while resolution is not significant with a t-score of

0.62.

To further assess the individual contributions of the predictor variables, we need to

examine the standardized coefficient beta for each variable. We find .61 for novelty, -.22

for resolution, and .38 for style. These values indicate that novelty has one-third more

influence on creativity than style. This may be a result of the fact that there is a very

strong association between novelty and creativity (r = .89), and marginally less

association between style and creativity (r = .84). Hence, novelty, defined as the original

and surprising characteristics of a portfolio, is viewed as more creative than the stylistic

attributes of well-crafted, elegant, and organic.

Beta values also indicate the linear degree of contributions by the predictor

variables. Beta tells us how many standard deviation units of the predictor variable will

cause an increase in one standard deviation unit in the outcome variable. In this case, as

the value of creativity increases by one standard deviation unit, the value of novelty

increases by .61 standard deviations and the value of style increases by .38 standard

deviations.

Table 4-6. Multiple regression analysis of creativity

Predictor Variables Slope (b) Std. Error Beta t Sig.

Novelty 0.67 0.05 .61 14.17 .00*
Resolution -0.03 0.06 -.22 -0.50 .62

Style 0.43 0.06 .38 7.15 .00*
R = .92 R2 = .84
*p < .05

The data analysis from research question one initially examined the relationships

between the creative product attributes and creativity. Since significant associations were










established, the data analysis was taken a step further to examine the strength of

influences the attributes had on creativity. Novelty, resolution, and style are all

significantly associated with creativity, but only novelty and style significantly influence

creativity. Furthermore, novelty predicts creativity almost two-thirds of the time, while

more than one-third of creativity is attributed to style.

Research Question Two

What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity of

entry-level interior design portfolios in predicting hiring potential? This question

addresses the creative product attributes in addition to creativity and their influence on

entry-level interior designers hiring potential.

A conceptual model guided this analysis that conveyed the relationships of the Hyve

variables (Figure 4-4). The relationships between hiring potential and novelty,

resolution, style, and creativity are analyzed in the same manner as the previous research

question.


Novelty


Resolution Hrn

Style Potentia



Creativity


Figure 4-4. Relationship model of novelty, resolution, style, creativity and hiring
potential

By looking at the Pearson correlation matrix illustrating the Hyve variables in

question (Table 4-7), we Eind that novelty, resolution, style, and creativity are statistically










associated with hiring potential. With values ranging from .77 for novelty to .87 for

style, the four variables show very strong associations with hiring potential. Style has the

strongest association (r = .87), followed by creativity (r = .81), resolution (r = .80), and

novelty (r = .77). The last three variables seem to differ only marginally while presenting

a larger gap between style and the others. This could possibly be indicating a stronger,

independent association with hiring potential. In addition, the bivariate regression

produced a R2 Of .76. This suggests that style accounts for 76% of the variance, meaning

that 76% of the time, style can predict hiring potential. The other three variables of

creativity, resolution, and novelty accounted for 66%, 64%, and 59% of the variance,

respectively .

Table 4-7. Correlation matrix of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity related to hiring
potential
VariblesNovety RsoluionHiring
Varibles Novety Rsoluion Style Creativity
Potential

Novelty --- .70* .79* .89* .77*

Resolution .70* --- .81* .71* .80*

Style .79* .81* --- .84* .87*

Creativity .89* .71* .84* --- .81*

Hiring.77* .80* .87* .81* -
Potential
p<.05

Multiple regression established the independent influence of the set of predictor

variables on hiring potential. Table 4-8 shows the regression analysis scores of the

predictor variables--novelty, resolution, style, and creativity--on the outcome variable--

hiring potential. The R2 Score (.80) indicates that this set of predictor variables can

explain 80% of the variance in hiring potential. By looking at the t-test values, we notice

that resolution, style, and creativity are significant at the .05 level. Novelty's low t-test










value of 1.08 doesn't meet the 1.96 criterion, which in turn explains why this variable

does not have a significant influence on hiring potential. The beta values indicate that

style (.46) has almost twice as much influence on hiring potential than resolution (.25),

which is followed by creativity (. 19).

In analyzing the contributions of resolution, style, and creativity on hiring potential,

we can discuss several things about the linear regression. As the value of hiring potential

increases by one standard deviation unit, the value of style increases by .46 standard

deviations, the value of resolution will increase by .25 standard deviations, and the value

of creativity will also increase by .19 standard deviations.

Table 4-8. Multiple regression analysis of hiring potential

Variables Slope (b) Std. Error Beta t Sig.

Novelty 0.07 0.07 .07 1.08 .28
Resolution 0.30 0.06 .25 4.93 .00*

Style 0.49 0.07 .46 7.04 .00*
Creativity 0.18 0.07 .19 2.61 .01*

R = .89 R2 = .80

*p < .05

With these results, we can summarize the relative importance novelty, resolution,

style, and creativity have on predicting hiring potential. The correlation matrix (Table 4-

7) illustrates the strong associations between all four variables to hiring potential. The

strongest association lies with style (r = .87), followed by creativity (r = .81), resolution

(r = .80), and novelty (r = .78). Additionally, style has the strongest influence on hiring

potential with a beta of .46. Resolution has about half as much influence (beta = .25),

creativity has even less (beta = .19), and novelty does not significantly influence hiring

potential.









When we analyze the results from question one and two, we can better understand

the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. All four predictor

variables have a statistically significant influence on hiring potential. (See Figure 4-5).

Since we already know that creativity is associated to novelty, resolution, and style, this

model took into account both the direct and indirect influences. In this instance,

creativity becomes an intervening mechanism with the influence novelty, resolution, and

style on hiring potential indirectly mediated through creativity. Since we learned in the

previous question that resolution does not have a significant influence on creativity, the

line connecting the two variables is dashed. The associations between novelty and style

with creativity are shown with solid lines representing a significant influence. Beta

values are represented to show the degree of influences between two variables. The

results from question two allow us to chart the direct influences as well. Resolution,

style, and creativity have direct, significant influences on hiring potential, while novelty

does not. Novelty does, however, influence hiring potential indirectly through creativity.




Novelty .6 1* ''

" "' ~Creativity .19 Hrg
Resolution (mediator) (dirct effct) Potential

I I idrc fet


(direct effect)

Figure 4-5. Model of creative product variables related to hiring potential in interior
design












Research Question Three


How do the open-ended designer perceptions of creativity and entry-level


interior design portfolios relate to the quantitative portfolio evaluations? This


question examines the similarities and differences between how professional designers


personally define creativity and how they assess creativity of design portfolios in terms of


novelty, resolution, and style. Findings from portfolio evaluations will be analyzed


relative to the four questions posed in order to better understand designers' perceptions of


creativity. Figure 4-6 illustrates an overview of designers' responses to the qualitative


inquiry.


Figure 4-6. Designer responses to open-ended questions


Open-ended questions allowed designers to answer freely without other


preconceived factors inhibiting responses. Two researchers independently assessed the


answers from the four qualitative questions and classified responses accordingly. The


Creativity of
portfolios










O Style
"overall presentation"

SResolution
"appropriate design
responses"
O Novelty
"something fresh and
different"


Portfolio review
factors










0 Style ~
"organization and
presentation"
0ii Technical skills
"new abilities in software"

Resolution
"clear well thought out
concepts and solutions"
Individual
"how well a person speaks,
dresses, etc"
O Novelty
"innovative designs"

O Thought process
"well-rounded thought process


Additional factors


tEi Technical skills
"Photoshop, Illustrator"

SCommunication
"to present and sell ideas
well"
SIndividual
"sense of humor,
personality, etc."
O Thought process
"exhib~itmng more process"

O Internship
"be exposed to the office
environment"


SResolution
creatingg a space that is
useful for its occupants"
O Novelty
"thinking outside the box"

O Style
"cohesive and clear design"


Creativity









first two questions dealt with definitions of creativity and the characteristics of novelty,

resolution, and style emerged as the three categories in which responses were organized.

The third question, asking for other factors that were important when reviewing

portfolios, was also coded based on responses and included the three creative product

attributes as well as three other categories comprised of technical skills, the individual,

and thought process. The Einal question simply asked participants for further elaboration

on the topic of creativity and portfolio evaluation. These responses were organized into

the five categories of technical skills, the individual, communication, thought process,

and internship experience.

Defining creativity in interior design

Designers were asked to supply their personal definition of creativity. The

responses to this question were organized using the attributes novelty, resolution, and

style. The frequency of each attribute appears in Figure 4-7. Sixty-two percent of

responses referenced design specifically, suggesting creativity was "the ability to see

multiple solutions to a design problem," while the other 38% of responses were more

general and, for example, defined creativity as "developing unique solutions." Overall,

50% of the responses related to characteristics of resolution, 27% mentioned

characteristics of novelty, and 24% referenced the stylistic attributes of a portfolio.

The maj ority of designers defined creativity in entry-level portfolios in terms of

resolution. Responses that related to resolution as a variable of creativity defined a

functional solution that is both useful and sensitive to human aspects and client needs.

Designers mentioned characteristics of the four items representing resolution: logical,

useful, valuable, and understandable. For example, one designer shared the sentiment of

others when he defined creativity as "creating a space that is useful for its occupants."










Designers also recognized the value of the human condition for both the client and the

end users with statements that demonstrate the need to "support human functions" and

"meet the client's expectations."

Further, the designers referenced novelty (26.5%) and style (23.5%) in their

definitions almost equally. Novelty, representing originality and surprise, was noted as an

"uncommon solution for a common problem" and the ability to "think outside the box."

Style describes the portfolios appearance and how well it is put together. Style was

captured by designers who emphasized, "solving a problem in a manner that is

aesthetically pleasing" and presenting a "cohesive and clear design."

23.5%, 26.5%,
n~s 8 n 9 DEFINITIONS OF CREATIVITY
SResolution
O Novelty
O Style








50.0%,
n =17

Figure 4-7. Definitions of creativity by novelty, resolution, and style

These Eindings strongly support the quantitative Eindings in that novelty, resolution,

and style are considered by designers to be important aspects of creativity in entry-level

design portfolios. However, the analysis from the first research question that examined

the importance of novelty, resolution, and style for predicting creativity concluded that

resolution did not influence creativity, but did have a significant influence hiring

potential. In addition, the value designers place on the creative product attributes differs









from their perceptions of creativity of entry-level interior design portfolios. When

designers define creativity, the characteristics of resolution are mentioned twice as much

as the characteristics of novelty and those of style.

Defining creativity in entry-level portfolios

Question two asked designers to define creativity in terms of entry-level portfolios.

Since characteristics of novelty, resolution, and style were also mentioned for this

question, responses were organized accordingly. Figure 4-8 illustrates that the

characteristics of style were considered 43.3% (n = 13) of the time when discussing

creativity of entry-level interior design portfolios, followed by resolution (33.3%) and

novelty (23.3%). Designers who emphasized characteristics of style felt "overall

presentation" was important with responses including topics of format, layout,

techniques, and materials. One designer felt it was important to "organize your portfolio

to be clear but graphically outstanding," while another contended "well translated and

well put together" as qualities of creativity in entry-level portfolios.

The features of resolution were mentioned second to style with 33.3% of responses

(n = 10) as novelty captured 23.3% of responses (n = 7). Designers who defined

creativity of portfolios using characteristics of resolution talked about "appropriate design

responses," "resolving design issues," and "maintaining a good design concept and

solution." Novelty was mentioned as a "reinterpretation of the expected," "something

fresh and different," "new," and "not what everybody else is doing." One designer

captured the essence of all three attributes when he said creativity of a portfolio was "the

ability to relay an idea, a concept, in a very simple fashion, so it' s understandable,

exciting, does have a sense of surprise to it but also a sense of reality."










23.3%, DEFINITIONS OF CREATIVITY
n = 7 INT PORTFOLIOS
O Style
Resolution
43.3%, ONovelty
n =13





33.3%,
n =10



Figure 4-8. Definitions of creativity in design portfolios by novelty, resolution, and style

This question essentially focused on hiring potential by examining the connections

between the three attributes of a creative product and entry-level interior design

portfolios. This finding offers additional support for recognizing style as the greatest

influence on hiring potential, followed by resolution. Novelty was also very important to

designers when defining creativity of portfolios even though novelty only had an indirect

influence on hiring potential in the quantitative Eindings.

Additional factors for portfolio evaluation

Designers were asked to identify additional influences besides creativity that they

perceived to be important when reviewing portfolios. Interestingly, although this

question targeted other factors besides creativity, responses still included characteristics

of the three creative product attributes. Designers noted characteristics of style the most,

followed by technical skills, the individual, resolution, novelty, and the thought process

as additional factors they perceive as important. Figure 4-9 illustrates the relative

importance of each category. Qualities of style were mentioned almost 40% of the time

with responses focusing on the "overall look" including "organization skills" and










"presentation" techniques. A few designers stated "neatness, spelling, [and] grammar"

were important factors as well.

Technical skills (21.7%) were reported the most after style and were related to

specific skills and computer programs. Issues dealing with "new abilities in software,"

"technical drawing," and "skill sets in general" were discussed. The characteristics of

resolution (13%) were mentioned as "appropriate scale of space" and "clear well thought

out concepts and solutions." The individual (13%) was also discussed the same number

of times as resolution. One designer' s felt it was important to point out that the firm

"looks at the work and person as a whole. How well a person speaks, how they are

dressed, etc.," are important considerations besides the portfolios.

Other responses mentioned by designers were qualities of novelty (7%) and topics

dealing with the thought process (7%). Designers talked about the characteristics of

novelty by suggesting "new ideas" and "innovative designs." They also revealed the

importance of presenting a "well-rounded thought process."

6.% ADDITIONAL FACTORS
21 7%/. n IMPORTANT FOR
n =I: 1'- 3. REVIEWING PORTFOLIOS
o Style
[ii Technical
Resolution
Individual
13.0%/;. ~1 O Novelty
n = 6 O Thought Process


0.590, 39.1%
n=3 n=18


Figure 4-9. Designer considerations for reviewing portfolios









Since this question examines factors important for reviewing portfolios, these

Endings relate to hiring potential. The Eindings discussed here support the quantitative

Endings that examined the importance of novelty, resolution, and style in predicting

creativity and hiring potential and the findings from the previous interview question

related to definitions of creativity for entry-level portfolios. Novelty, resolution, and

style remain important factors that designers consider when reviewing portfolios. Within

the three creative product attributes, style of a portfolio continues to be the most

important factor in terms of hiring potential, followed by resolution and novelty.

However, the Eindings for this interview question introduce additional factors designers

feel are important that, in some instances, are more important than resolution and novelty.

Following style, important factors designers mentioned were: technical skills, resolution,

the individual, novelty, and the thought process. Resolution and the individual were

mentioned equally, as well as novelty and the thought process.

Finally, the designers were asked to offer any additional comments on the topics of

creativity and entry-level interior design portfolios. Overall, technical skills were

mentioned the most, followed by communication and the individual, the thought process,

and lastly, a new, additional category of internship experience was discussed (Figure 4-

10). When designers talked about characteristics of technical skills (28.6%), comments

mostly related to knowledge and experience with various software programs including

three-dimensional rendering with "Photoshop and Illustrator," as well as "[Auto]CAD

skills."

Designers also mentioned themes conveying communication (23.8%) skills to

illustrate the importance of being able "to present and sell ideas well," as well as "speak










in front of others, and listen to potential clients." Communication was discussed the

same amount as the personality of the individual (23.8%). As one designer asserted,

"The people themselves are a huge part of it; sense of humor, personality, etc."

Issues relating to thought process were mentioned in terms of "exhibiting more

process," especially when one designer suggested, "that there is a keen interest among

professionals to see the entire process." Lastly, internship experience was pointed out as

an additional benefit. Designers shared this sentiment by saying it was important "to

work, or intern, or be exposed to the office atmosphere" and that students should spend

time "interning for architectural or interior design firms."

9.5%,

28 60 n
ADDITIONAL FACTORS
/ IMPORTANT TO DESIGNERS
23.8%, O~ii Technical Skills
n = 5 2 Communication
SIndividual
0 Thought Process
O Internship Experience
23.8%,
n=5
14.3%,
n=3


Figure 4-10. Additional designer considerations for entry-level hiring

This last interview question relates to the quantitative Eindings by addressing topics

that go beyond what was asked in the previous interview questions that looked at

designers' personal definitions of creativity, their perceptions of creativity in design

portfolios, and their considerations for portfolio review. The topics introduced by

designers are thought to be important and support the additional factors designers

reported that relate to hiring potential. Furthermore, the third qualitative question found









that in addition to the three creative product attributes, technical skills, the individual, and

the thought process are supplementary aspects designers felt were important when

reviewing portfolios. These three aspects, along with communication and internship

experience were also mentioned in question four by designers when they had the

opportunity to suggest other issues relevant to the topic of creativity and entry-level

interior design portfolios.

Summary

This study examined the creative product attributes of entry-level interior design

portfolios to understand the relationships between novelty, resolution, style, creativity,

and hiring potential. The statistical analyses found strong associations between each

variable. Moreover, novelty and style significantly influence creativity, while style,

resolution, and creativity influence hiring potential. The qualitative findings strongly

support creative novelty, resolution, and style on many levels. When discussing

creativity and entry-level portfolios, designers implicitly recognized the three attributes

of a creative product. In an ideal sense, they perceived resolution to be the strongest

quality of creativity, followed by novelty and style. In terms of creativity relative to

entry-level interior design portfolios, style was the greatest quality, followed by

resolution and novelty. Characteristics of style were also recognized as the strongest

contributor for designers when reviewing portfolios. Technical skills, resolution, the

individual, novelty, and the thought process were also considered important by designers,

as well as communication and internship experience.















CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

This study considered the impact of creativity on the evaluation of entry-level

interior design portfolios by examining the relationships among the creative product

attributes of novelty, resolution, and style. The portfolio evaluation instrument also

revealed the significance of each attribute in influencing the creativity and hiring

potential of interior design portfolios while open-ended interview questions revealed

additional, qualitative factors. These results will be discussed and interpreted in relation

to the larger literature on creative products and connected to the domain of interior

design. Possible reasons for several seemingly contradictory findings will be suggested

along with recommendations for future research directions.

This study examined perceptions of creativity in a sample of entry-level interior

design portfolios where designers individually assessed 12 portfolios from graduating

seniors in an accredited interior design program using an instrument measuring novelty,

resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential. Designers responded to qualitative

questions aimed at revealing individual views of creativity and entry-level interior design

portfolios. The findings from the research questions below will be discussed in detail and

implications will be made for the field of interior design as a whole.

* What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, and style of entry-level
interior design portfolios in predicting creativity?
* What is the relative importance of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity of entry-
level interior design portfolios in predicting hiring potential?
* How do the open-ended designer perceptions of creativity and entry-level interior
design portfolios relate to the quantitative portfolio evaluations?









Validity

The present study was designed to employ highly experienced designers skilled in

reviewing entry-level interior design portfolios. The participants of the study represent a

high caliber judge group of professional designers from respected firms in Jacksonville,

Orlando, and Tampa. Six of the ten firms represented in the study are considered large

firms with over 50 employees and are nationally recognized in the Top 100 firms of 2006

(Davidsen & Leung, 2006). Many of these firms have multiple offices across the world.

For example, Gensler is ranked as the number one firm in the nation in terms of value of

their work installed and interior design fees, and generates design work from 29 offices

spanning the globe. Other firms that made the list include: HKS in 31s~t place, ASD in

48th place, Gresham Smith and Partners in 54th place, Gould Evans in 63rd place, and

Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo in 78th place. The remaining four firms are medium in

size and have one or two offices with between 8 and 49 employees. Though somewhat

smaller, these firms are also considered industry leaders having received numerous

accolades from the foremost design organizations such as American Society of Interior

Designers and the American Institute of Architects.

The 21 designers involved in the study were also considered highly respected with

significant experience. The designers were nearly 43 years of age on average, which is

consistent with significant professional experience needed to evaluate portfolios. While

the 21 designers involved in the study illustrated various levels of responsibility and

review experience, the maj ority represented primary decision makers or senior designers

of the firms. Since nearly sixty-seven percent of the designers were in high-level

positions, the level of experience designers noted was also consistent with their j ob

position and further validates the strength of the judge group. The findings also suggest









that Principles and Design Directors actively participate in the hiring of entry-level

designers possibly more than Project Managers and Designers. The professional

experience of the participants provided a particularly good fit with the University of

Florida' s Interior Design program from which the portfolios were selected; a strong

commercial emphasis of the interiors program was reflected in the portfolios and in the

designers' specializations.

Why is it important to have such a high caliber judge group? Not only does the

experience of the judge group strengthen the methodology, but it also provides pertinent

information for interior design education. Since the firms are respected leaders in the

Hield of interior design, students who aspire to work for one of these firms and design

educators preparing students to enter the Hield can trust the Eindings as representative of

what designers from highly valued firms are looking for in portfolios of prospective

entry-level employees.

In addition to the experience level of the judge group, the validity of the study is

also dependent on familiarity with accepted standards for portfolios in the domain of

design. The designers' open-ended responses reinforced that creativity of a product

should be assessed within its field. Specific examples offered insights into the meaning

of creativity in entry-level portfolios and the results of the investigation support domain

specifieity. This finding aligns with Amabile's (1982; 1996) consensual definition of

creativity maintaining that creativity is domain specific and should be judged by experts

in the field under study. For example, if individuals with only basic design knowledge

judged the entry-level design portfolios, the findings would not be as relevant especially










for predicting hiring potential. In sum, the reliance on well seasoned designers from

noted firms increases the validity of the study.

Reliability

The idea of domain specificity supports evaluating portfolios within interior design

in as close to an actual setting as possible. For example, since the hiring process quite

often takes place in a conference room or office of a designer guiding the interview, the

present study collected data at each firm in either a conference room or designer's office.

Other assessment tools also reflected factors tied to field testing. For pragmatic reasons,

the evaluation instrument was an abridged version of the theoretical framework

developed by Besemer and Treffinger (1981). Although the Creative Product Analysis

Matrix offered a 55-item semantic scale adjective checklist, a 13-item evaluation

instrument based on the matrix was developed to shorten the time necessary to complete

the assessment. Since designers evaluated 12 portfolios on 13 items, a shorter instrument

was more practical and sensitive to time, fatigue, and other uncontrollable responses.

Other studies have taken into account the benefits of creating an evaluation

instrument that responds to the domain in question. For example, Cropley and Cropley's

(2000) study also utilized an abridged version of the Creative Product Analysis Matrix to

examine products designed by engineering students. For the dimensions of novelty,

germinality, which relates to resolution, and elegance, which relates to style, they found

novelty and germinality significantly correlated with overall creativity, but elegance did

not. Though these three dimensions were termed differently, this study essentially

explored novelty, resolution, and style. Cropley and Cropley's (2000) study implies that

these dimensions are considered in the engineering field as one thing, yet, the findings









from the present study suggest the three dimensions mean something else for the domain

of interior design.

The findings indicate the designers consistently judged the 13 items utilized in the

portfolio evaluation instrument. Where an alpha rating greater than .70 is considered

acceptable (Blaikie, 2003); novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential

yielded high alpha ratings ranging from .85 to .92, showing strong internal reliability of

the instrument,. In several preliminary studies testing the reliability of the subscales for

the original Creative Product Analysis Matrix (Besemer & O'Quin, 1987), similar high

alpha ratings were found. Besemer and O'Quin tested a variety of letter openers,

cartoons, and art work using an experimental judging instrument based on the model.

They found reliability ratings ranging from .70 to .80 with an average alpha of .76 for all

the studies. The present study reported even higher alphas averaging .87 for the five

variables, which further validates the reliability of the judging instrument.

After establishing the level of reliability, designers' judgments of novelty,

resolution, and style of the 12 portfolios were examined further by comparing average

ratings of the variables. The mean score for resolution was the highest of the variables

and had the smallest variance of rated scores assigned by judges. This suggests the four

items indicating the functionality of a portfolio in terms of its logicalness, usefulness,

understandability, and value, were scored higher and more consistently among judges

than the other two variables. Style had the second highest mean of the five variables,

while novelty had the lowest.

Since this study used Besemer and Treffinger' s (1981) definition of a creative

product that features novelty, resolution, and style as attributes, it is interesting to note









the mean score for the variable creativity was almost exactly the average of the means for

the three creative product variables. The findings suggest the creativity variable may

closely measure the creativeness of design portfolios. This is especially important

because, while there is a fair amount of agreement in the field that these dimensions are

important for creative products. However, it is not definitive that other factors do not

come into play, particularly in an interior creative design product.

In addition, the average of novelty, resolution, style, and creativity is almost equal

to the mean score of hiring potential. Although novelty, resolution, and style are

products of creativity, their value along with the actual value of the portfolio' s creativity

is a strong indicator of the potential of the portfolio' s creator to be hired by the firms

involved in the study. Since the variables correlate highly to overall creativity and hiring

potential, the findings of the study help establish the reliability of the evaluation

instrument utilizing the creative product attributes of novelty, resolution, and style.

Further research would have to be undertaken to explore other influencing factors.

Entry-level Interior Design Portfolios

A portfolio is a summation of work accomplished throughout a period of time

(Newstetter & Khan, 1997). An entry-level interior design portfolio is comprised of

selected design proj ects that are perceived by the individual compiling his or her portfolio

as representing a body of work produced over a given period of time. Design proj ects, by

definition, are creative products. While design projects are guided by design criteria and

program requirements, these open-ended problems encourage many imaginative,

innovative solutions. There may be several design projects featured in an interior design

portfolio, but the portfolio itself acts as a single unit to display a student' s abilities,

experiences, and potential. It is because of this reason that interior design portfolios can










be viewed from two vantage points: as a creative product and as a means for

employment.

The Eindings support examining entry-level interior design portfolios from a

creative product perspective. A number of researchers in creativity have suggested

criteria to define the creative product (Newell, Shaw, & Simon, 1963; Jackson &

Messick, 1965; Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi, 1976). While many discuss novelty and

appropriateness, there exists disagreement on these criteria. Nevertheless, researchers

agree that a set of criteria that defines a creative product should apply to creative products

across domains and disciplines. Besemer and her colleagues support this notion and

propose nine facets of the Creative Product Analysis Matrix that "are internally consistent

across different creative products in different samples" (Besemer & O'Quin, 1987).

Yet, a creative product should also be considered in the context for which it was

created. An entry-level interior design portfolio, as one designer stated, is "an artistic and

creative rendition of one' s best academic works." The purpose of the portfolio is to act

as a mechanism for gaining entry-level employment. By connecting the creative

attributes of a portfolio to the reason why entry-level designers create portfolios initially,

the findings of the study help understand the relationship of the portfolio to hiring

potential. This study also examined creativity in a domain-specific context to see how

important creativity is to hiring potential in interior design.

To reiterate the primary purpose, the present study examined theory of a creative

product to see if it could be applied to interior design portfolios. After reviewing a

number of writings on the creative product, Besemer and Treffinger' s Creative Product

Analysis Matrix (1981) appeared to be the most appropriate for the interior design field.









According to Besemer and Treffinger (1981), the three attributes inherent to all creative

products are novelty, resolution, and style. Novelty refers to the newness or originality of

the product; resolution deals with how well the product functions or does what it was

supposed to do, while style pertains to the stylistic and craftsmanship qualities of the

product. This matrix helped direct the research questions that focused on analyzing

specifically what was creative about entry-level interior design portfolios and how the

creative product attributes contribute to hiring potential. The findings related to novelty,

resolution, style, and creativity will be discussed in further detail.

Novelty

Novelty, defined as "the extent of newness of the product in terms of processes,

techniques, and concepts" (Besemer & Treffinger, 1981, p.164) appears to be a

significant factor in design portfolios. Of the three product attributes, the present study

found the strongest associations between novelty of a portfolio and perceived creativity

but not to hiring potential. The findings also show that novelty significantly influences

the creativity of a portfolio more than the other attributes of resolution and style. The

designers participating in this study were not supplied with a formal definition of

creativity, yet, when they offered their own creativity definitions, interestingly

characteristics of novelty were mentioned in more than one-forth of the responses, such

as "thinking outside the box" as well as "developing unique solutions." Thus, the

quantitative and qualitative results support the concept of novelty as a clear dimension of

creativity .

While novelty clearly emerges as a well-recognized dimension of the portfolio as a

creative product, its influence is not nearly as strong in predicting hiring potential as

resolution and style. Furthermore, the indirect influence novelty had on hiring potential,










though important, is not as significant as the influences of resolution and style on hiring

potential. When considering the design portfolio as a vehicle for entry-level

employment, it appears that novelty may be necessary for a portfolio to be considered a

creative product, but is not sufficient to gain employment. Designers making hiring

decisions may not give as much credence to portfolios that are just novel, different, or

unique in interior design where factors such as functionality and presentation may

supersede creative novelty.

However, novelty of a portfolio should not be completely discounted. Designers

may feel that an individual can be trained on the job to think and design in more

functional and stylistic ways, whereas the ability to develop novel idea may be more

difficult to develop. Although some designers may show a preference for individuals that

create portfolios illustrating more original and novel points of view, it is possible that a

large group of designers from other regions may have different preferences, but further

research is explore this issue.

Resolution

Another variable examined in the study was resolution, which was defined as "how

well the product works, functions, and does what it is supposed to do" (Besemer &

Treffinger, 1981, p. 164). The most surprising and contradictory findings of the study

relate to resolution as a creative product attribute. Resolution had the weakest association

to creativity and was not significantly perceived to be an indicator of creativity in the

design portfolio. It is possible that, while the resolution scores were the highest of all the

variables, they were also the least comparable to creativity scores, especially because

resolution did not correlate as strongly to creativity. For example, if a portfolio was

judged to have very high resolution, while novelty, style, and creativity were scored less;









novelty and style would be more closely associated to creativity than resolution,

indicating a stronger influence on creativity. It appears that strength of influences are

directly associated to strength of correlations between two variables, and furthermore, by

controlling the effects of novelty and style on the creativity of portfolios, the effects of

resolution become redundant and thus non-significant.

Nonetheless, resolution emerged as an important factor in designers' definitions of

creativity. Fifty percent of responses illustrated characteristics of resolution manifest in

designers' comments that often referenced a practical solution to a challenge. This is

likely because resolution deals with how well the design solution functions or solves the

problem. Additionally, over sixty percent of those responses focused on design rather

than creativity in a general sense. For example, such statements explained resolution as

"useful for its occupants," "functional to the end user," and "solves the design problem."

Consequently, designers' definitions of creativity seem to regard functionality very

highly and support resolution as a dimension of creativity.

Perhaps designers viewed resolution as a key factor because functionality is so

critical to the success of design projects, and in design practice, the designer' s main

concern is to create a space that is purposeful and functional to its end users and proves

satisfactory to clients. This may be true since eighty percent of the designers participated

in corporate design where work environments need to offer employees adequate settings

in which to work productively. Rengel (2003) suggests that resolution of an office design

project involves:

A good understanding of the many units on the office, their roles, and their
relationship to each other. The first step of any office design solution is to
carefully place all elements for optimal function. The second step is to organize
these into a coherent system of open and enclosed areas (p. 337).










While optimal function is necessary in order to achieve resolution in an office design, the

design would have to demonstrate a logical, useful, understandable, and valuable

solution.

The findings of the study might have been very different if the focus was on

designers and portfolios that were residentially oriented. It is possible that resolution

would not be viewed as the most important attribute since residential design often times

deals largely with the stylist attributes and in an interior residence those may include

interior finishes, color, pattern, and ornamentation (Rengel, 2003). These are significant

to enriching the overall environment but may contribute less to the function of the design.

While it is not to say that residential interior designers don't consider novelty and

resolution when designing the interior of a home, further research in this area is

necessary. However, it is hypothesized that style would be regarded as the most

influential attribute.

The influence resolution had on hiring potential is cleaner cut than resolution.

Considered the second most influential variable, resolution of a portfolio predicts hiring

potential more than creativity and novelty, but less than style. In addition, characteristics

of resolution also contributed to one-third of the qualitative comments including

"appropriate design responses" that are "understandable" and "easy to follow." It

appears that designers consider resolution to be an important element in entry-level

design portfolios, and these findings are illustrated in the words of one designer who

implicitly explained the value of functionality over novelty:

I guess a lot of what you see in entry-level portfolios is just extreme creativity and
you don't see a lot of the technical information. You know there are other elements
to our industry.... [Students] see something and think 'oh that' s cool,' but is it










practical to use here, how do you install it, and will it last through the people
working in the environment.

This citation demonstrates that the functional aspects of design are just as important, if

not more important than novelty alone.

While resolution appears to be an important element for interior design, it is

difficult to determine why resolution was not an influential factor for predicting creativity

in the quantitative results, but emerged as such a maj or component in the qualitative

portion of the study defining creativity. One explanation may be attributed to the fact

that designers made specific judgments on the 12 portfolios without accompanying

proj ect descriptions or narratives while they commented on creativity and entry-level

design portfolios in a general sense. It appears that designers responded to the open-

ended questions by describing or suggesting considerations of an actual entry-level hiring

situation. One designer suggested the difficultly in evaluating portfolios without having

the actual job applicant present:

I think the difficult thing to separate was that I was evaluating the portfolios and
not the proj ects, that was hard because some of them had some really good proj ects
but again not as strong a presentation, and again, I think seeing it only on a laptop
makes it harder to evaluate a portfolio and a person or a person's ability.

An actual portfolio evaluation involves designers viewing a portfolio with the job

candidate talking through and explaining the contents within the portfolio. By verbally

communicating the ideas and thought processes behind a design solution, the

characteristics that define resolution may become clear, in that, the functionality of a

design is based on its logical, useful, valuable, and understandable qualities. This may be

especially relevant since designers recognized the importance of communication, thought

process, and the individual when considering additional factors that contribute to entry-

level hiring. One designer felt: "If you have the opportunity to present your portfolio, it









is a little easier to talk about what the process was and it is a little more personal then to

have it all written down because you loose the attention span." Yet, understanding the

design process and the functionality of the design is not the only factor driving the design

solution; if this were the case, the path to the solution would be clear cut and only a

limited number of design solutions would emerge. In addition, a portfolio in an actual

hiring situation may illustrate design projects through physical pages or may be viewed

digitally. Nevertheless, designers seem to encourage verbal communication of the

process by explaining how the design responded to the limitations and functional criteria,

while at the same time incorporating original ideas.

Style

Style is identified as "the degree to which the product combines unlike elements

into a refined, developed, coherent whole, statement or unit:" (Besemer & Treffinger,

1981, p. 164). In the present study, style of a portfolio refers to how the portfolio looks

visually, particularly its organization and craftsmanship. Style, in addition to novelty,

was found to significantly influence creativity. Although novelty was more influential,

the degree of influence for style was quite substantial. This is interesting since the

previous findings indicate that novelty may be the least important attribute of the three.

In addition to the possibility that novelty is viewed synonymously with creativity, it is

also possible that novelty influences creativity more than style because the two items

representing novelty were found to be more consistent than the three items representing

the style of the portfolios, indicated by equal alpha scores. Yet, the emphasis placed on

novelty and style for predicting creativity is contradictory to designers' definitions of

creativity that mention resolution in half of the responses.









Style also had a strong relationship with hiring potential. Of the four variables,

style claimed the strongest association to and influence on hiring potential. Style

significantly influences hiring potential almost twice as much as resolution and more than

double creativity. The value placed on style of a portfolio shown by the Eindings suggests

that the style may be more important than novelty, resolution, and creativity in predicting

hiring potential. This means that when designers try to determine the potential of an

entry-level interior designer by assessing their portfolio, they are most strongly

influenced by how well the portfolio is put together and the overall, visual presentation.

In addition to the direct influence style has on hiring potential, intervening effects

of style also persuade hiring potential. Since the style of a portfolio influences its

perceived creativity and the creativity of a portfolio influences hiring potential, a

portfolio's style inadvertently influences potential for employment. We already know

that the visual presentation of a portfolio is a very significant indicator of hiring potential.

The fact that style has an additional affect on hiring potential that is indirectly mediated

through creativity, further supports that entry-level interior designers should prioritize the

look of their portfolio and its organization.

Style is further supported as the most important consideration by designers in

determining hiring potential. When asked to define creativity in entry-level portfolios,

designers' responses mentioned characteristics of style over forty percent of the time.

Even though designers cited to characteristics of style more than novelty and resolution,

they appeared to value each attribute since the frequency of responses were quite similar

across the three variables. Interestingly, since designers recognized these three attributes

of a creative product, designers' views were consistent with the study's guiding









framework developed by Besemer and Treffinger (1981). In sum, the designers'

comments frequently reflected novelty, resolution, and style in entry-level interior design

portfolios.

When asked to suggest other factors important while reviewing portfolios,

designers referenced the style of a portfolio more than other factors. For example,

comments included "organization from the start to finish of the portfolio" and the

"presentation [and] overall look." Perhaps style is given more attention when evaluating

hiring potential because the stylistic qualities of a portfolio affect how the information is

presented and may influence designers' perceptions of the material within the portfolio.

In other words, the style of the portfolio illustrates "the ability to solve a problem in a

manner that is aesthetically pleasing." Interior design is highly visual, and as one

designer mentioned, "[the] visual impact [of the portfolio] is just as important, sometimes

as a first impression more important than the design because you want someone to pay

attention to what you are trying to do." The overall look of the portfolio, through the

organization and the layout of the page, maybe the factor they return to when evaluating a

portfolio and making hiring decisions.

Creativity

The creativity variable was included in the multiple regression analysis to gauge its

contribution to hiring potential. Although a significant influence on hiring potential was

found, we do not know how much of the influence was solely attributed to creativity.

Since novelty and style influenced creativity, part of the influence creativity had on hiring

potential was also influenced by these other factors, and furthermore, because these

variables overlap to a degree. Some designers appeared to view novelty as the same

thing as creativity. As mentioned earlier, one designer stated "A lot of what you see in










entry-level portfolios is just extreme creativity and you don't see a lot of the technical

information." This comment implies novelty may be viewed synonymously with

creativity. Although novelty has a strong association with creativity, the two variables

were still found to be different statistically. The profession of interior design also

supports this view by defining interior design as "a multi-faceted profession in which

creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior

environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the

occupants, and are aesthetically attractive" (NCIDQ, 2006). This definition implies that

the interior design profession may view novelty and creativity similarly. It also reflects a

misconception that designers cannot be creative with the technical and functional aspects

of design. Yet at the same time, the definition illustrates the importance of creative

novelty, resolution, and style. Nevertheless, the qualitative findings showing less than

perfect associations suggest that novelty and creativity are not the same thing since

designers regarded them differently when rating the portfolios on the five variables in

question. Further research into the field of interior design should target these

misconceptions and suggest a clearly defined definition of interior design that takes into

account the creativity aspects of novelty, resolution, and style.

In sum, the results of the present study support the complex and multifaceted nature

of creativity based on both the quantitative and qualitative findings. The quantitative

findings are more definitive than the qualitative findings since they are based on 248

assessments of portfolios as opposed to the opinions of 12 judges. The quantitative

portion of the study found:

* Novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential are associated;
* Creativity is influenced the most by novelty and then by style, and;










* Hiring potential is influenced the most by style, and then resolution and creativity.

The qualitative, exploratory findings of the elite judge group found:

* Designers perceive resolution to be the most important attribute of creativity; and
* Designers perceive style, resolution, and novelty to be important for hiring
potential.

In addition to the importance of entry-level design portfolio to interior design, the

portfolio appears to carry a significant weight in the hiring process, accounting for almost

three-fourths of the hiring decision. In Baker and Sondhi's (1989) study that looked at

competencies and attributes of entry-level interior design graduates, they noted that sixty-

eight percent of hiring decisions by professionals are made based on the individual's

portfolio. The current study supports the importance of portfolios for assessing

performance and emphasizes the role portfolios play in gaining entry-level employment.

Yet, additional factors that account for remaining influences in hiring decisions

should be recognized. The participating designers stressed the importance of being able

to communicate, show technical skills, exude personality, illustrate thought processes,

and have internship experience. As one designer put it, "We do not evaluate a portfolio

alone, we also are interviewing the person: how well a person speaks, how they are

dressed, etc. We look at the work and the person as a whole." This multi-dimensional

process is captured by Baker and Sondhi (1989) who concluded that "large interior

design firms are looking for entry-level personnel who critically think through design

solutions based on design theories, communicates verbally and through graphic

presentation, practice professional ethics, and present themselves as mature, enthusiastic,

and well groomed" (p. 35). Assuming an evidence-based approach to portfolio










preparation at the job applicant level can facilitate the development of a portfolio that

provides the best opportunity for employment.

Implications

Recommendations can be drawn from these results to benefit interior design

educators and entry-level graduates who are entering the job market. If interior design

educators were informed of the significance these attributes have on entry-level

portfolios, they could consider focusing their studios and even curriculum to align with

professional expectations. Educators could incorporate novelty, resolution, and style into

the earliest stages of design and through the final presentation stage. They could

structure design problems to specifically address the three attributes, in turn, providing a

framework helpful for students throughout the development of a design solution. These

criteria--novelty, resolution, and style--could then be used by educators to evaluate

projects. Furthermore, during the design juries, students could present their design

solution by explaining how the attributes contributed to their process. For instance,

novelty can be explained as an enriching factor of a design by possibly creating

originality and surprise; resolution can be explained as an ordering factor that facilitates

understanding and orientation while also clarifying the value and usefulness of the

design; and style can be explained as an expressive factor that communicates the design

message as a cohesive unit that is elegant and carried out skillfully. Informed educators

could inevitably influence the way students address their design proj ects, as well as create

their portfolios. These advantages, in turn, could create a greater seamlessness between

education and practice.

The findings from this study also allow entry-level interior designers to maximize

their potential for employment. It is suggested that entry-level interior designers create a










portfolio that showcases their talents and skills while keeping in mind professional

designers' perceptions of creativity and entry-level portfolios. It was found that

designers with hiring responsibility appeared very impressed with how the portfolio is

presented visually and the degree to which it emphasizes appropriate solutions,

originality and uniqueness. A combination of these attributes is preferred rather than

concentrating on one attribute. For example, a portfolio that is purely novel may be

viewed as bizarre or attention getting, with no underlying substance or style. If a

portfolio has only characteristics of resolution it may be lacking organization, a visual

impact and imagination. Alternatively, if a portfolio is purely stylistic it can suggest a

lack of substance, functionality, interior design skills, and originality.

Though the results of this study strongly support the stylistic attributes, a portfolio

should illustrate characteristics of all three variables in varying degrees. Kilmer and

Kilmer (1992) suggest overall design impressions are greater than the sum of its parts and

are dependent on style: "The impact of design will depend on its successful organization

of ideas or elements into unifying wholes--the use of materials, the manipulation of

form, aesthetic sensitivity, and satisfying a need" (p. 17). The current study advocates

that style is considered the umbrella for the portfolio, or the overall visual impact of the

organization of the portfolio. Style is also integrative, in that, it bridges the attributes of

novelty and resolution into an organized, coherent unit. This is true for the portfolio as a

unit as well as for the individual design proj ects within a portfolio. One designer

mentioned the importance of presenting the individual work in a stylized manner and

stressed "organization from start to finish of the portfolio and each proj ect within."









Evident at many levels, style contributes to the design of spaces within design proj ects,

and also influences the visual impact across proj ects in a portfolio.

One challenge for design students when integrating the attributes of creativity into

their portfolios is the issue of illustrating resolution. Designers evaluating the design

portfolios appeared to have a harder time recognizing resolution than novelty and style.

While the Eindings support j ob applicants explaining the resolution of their portfolios,

there are benefits to explicitly clarifying the functional considerations within design

proj ects. Some ways to do this, for example, may include manipulating graphics or

including written explanations to better communicate the effectiveness and organization

of the design, as well as bring more attention to the human conditions. While the job

candidate remains important to the hiring process, carefully considering the functional

aspects of a design by visually illustrating resolution will allow entry-level design

portfolios to convey a more accurate message.

Suggested Future Research

Given the paucity of research on creativity in interior design related to entry-level

portfolios, Bender encourages further investigation into this topic and is writing the first

book dedicated to interior design portfolios (D. Bender, personal communication,

October 2006). The following recommendations offer ideas on expanding this study

conceptually and methodologically.

The first recommendation is to replicate and expand the study by utilizing a large,

random sample of differently focused participants. While the designers and the portfolios

in the study focused on commercial design, another worthwhile study could examine

residentially focused designers and portfolios. It is hypothesized that style would emerge

as the most important factor along with novelty because residential design and designers









seem to direct more attention on the stylistic attributes of a space while also incorporating

unique characteristics. Resolution may not be as influential because residential designs

frequently do not address as many code regulations or special user groups or constraints.

A second recommendation is to compare physical design portfolios to digital ones.

Although it may be difficult, this study would be beneficial to providing a more accurate

representation of the portfolio, in turn, contributing to more accurate results. One

designer mentioned "seeing [the portfolio] only on a laptop makes it harder to evaluate."

Using actual portfolios in the assessment task would allow designers to see and touch the

portfolio. It is possible that "the texture" and "the quality of the paper" contribute to the

visual impact or style of the portfolio, which in the end influences designers' perceptions

and the portfolio's potential for employment. Further, some design programs encourage

the development of a container to hold the portfolio. This container may in fact

contribute to designers perceptions of the style of a portfolio, but would have to be

investigated further.

It may also be beneficial to expand the present study to include other components

that addressed one or more of Mooney's four 'P's" (1963) discussed in the review of

literature. Creativity studies revolve around the creative person, the creative process, the

creative product, and the creative press. Future studies relating creativity to hiring

potential in interior design, for example, could investigate characteristics of the creative

person as well as related to their creative product. In the domain of interior design field,

entry-level portfolios and entry-level interior designers could be examined to gain better

insights into whether the characteristics of a creative person contribute to the perceived

characteristics of their design portfolio.










A final recommendation for future research is to explore the interior design

programs from several universities. Often times, interior program may convey and

overall identity or look that could possibly contribute to how design proj ects are resolved

and portfolios developed. In turn this could have positive or negative influences on

designers' perceptions of the novelty, resolution, and style of a portfolio.

Research is responsible for continually expanding the current perceptions and

knowledge base in the interior design Hield. The Eindings from the current study support

and suggest further research in order to inform design education and design students as

well as advance the profession.

Conclusion

The purpose of this study was to determine what design professionals consider

creative in entry-level interior design portfolios. More specifically, the study explored

the specific attributes of creative products to determine how the perceptions of entry-level

interior design portfolios relate to creativity and hiring potential. Twenty-one

professional designers applied a locally developed instrument to 12 entry-level interior

design portfolios to judge novelty, resolution, style, creativity, and hiring potential.

Further open-ended questions expanded designer views on creativity and interior design

portfolios.

The study found that designer' s perceived creativity of entry-level interior design

portfolios to be influenced by the portfolio's unique character and its overall presentation.

Furthermore, the perceived hiring potential of the portfolio' s creator was influenced

directly by the overall presentation, the appropriateness of the portfolio, and its creativity.

When designers discussed creativity, they most often cited characteristics relating to the

appropriateness of the portfolio. However, when discussing factors relevant to the hiring










potential of portfolios, designers most frequently cited the characteristics of style were

most often cited, followed by appropriateness and novelty.

The results of the study are significant for creativity research, as well as for design

educators and students applying for entry-level employment or even internships. The

understanding of creativity as a scholarly area of research is expanded through new and

exciting applications of interior design. Benefits also accrue with the field when

educators can inform interior design students on best practice requirements for creating

their portfolios, and in turn students will have the best opportunity for gaining

employment at suitable design firms.















APPENDIX A
PARTICIPATION LETTER REQUEST



March 1, 2006

Designer
Firm
Address

Dear Designer,

My name is Katie Levins. I am a graduate student at the University of Florida studying
interior design. I am currently working on a thesis proj ect that seeks to understand what
interior design professionals look for in senior design portfolios. As you know, creativity
is a vital aspect of any design proj ect or product, including portfolios. With this study, I
want to measure how design professionals judge creativity in potential employees by
assessing the portfolios of senior interior design students.

For my sample, I would like to collaborate with you and possibly another member of
your firm that you would recommend with experience in reviewing portfolios and hiring
entry level designers. I anticipate your involvement being less than two hours and at a
time convenient to your work schedule. I would like to collect my data towards the
middle of April and will be calling you to discuss your possible participation in this study
and answer any questions you may have.

Dr. Meg Portillo is the professor who is supervising this proj ect with me. She has done
several studies on creativity in interior design and been published in numerous journals.
If Dr. Portillo or I can answer any questions for you, please feel free to contact either one
of us.

Sincerely,

Katie Levins

Margaret Portillo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair


















APPENDIX B
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL LETTER


Informed Consent


Protocol Title: The impact of creativity on the evaluation of entry-level interior design
portfolios.


Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this
study.


Purpose of the research study: This study intends to measure how design professionals
judge creativity in potential employees by assessing the portfo~lios of students from an
accredited four-year interior design program. A quantitative scaled measurement, paired with a
qualitative inquin; will give substantial insight into the professional practices of interior
designers.


What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be asked to review and evaluate 12
entnt-level design portfolios with an evaluation form that will be sulpplled to you for each
portfolio. The portfolios will be viewed in PowerPoint format. You will first watch a ~timed slide
show revealing one randomly selected project from each portfolio to familiarize yourself with
the portfollas to be evaluated. Following the slide show you will observe the 12 portfolios
individually and complete an evaluation form for each one. The speed for viewing the
individual portfolios is controlled by you. When you are finished evaluating the 12 portfolios,
you will be asked several questions regarding the portfolios and your background. These
answers will be audio taped for la~teFr reviewving by the research committee.


Time required: 2 hours


Risks and Benefits: There are no anticipated risks for particlpatung in this study. You will be
given an executive summary-of the findings that will document the perceptions of entry-level
portfolios of leading firms in Florida.


Compensation: There will be no compensation for particlpating in this survey.


APproved by
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2006-U-306
For Use Through~320





Confidentiality: Your identity will remain confidential to the extent provided by the law. Any
information linking you and your work will be kept in a locked file. Your name will not be
mentioned in any report. Your taped responses will not: be heard by anyone other than the
research committee.


Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no
penalty for not part c pating.


Right to withdraw from the~ study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at
anytime without consequence.


Whom to contact if you have any questions about the study: Katie Levins, Graduate
Student, Department of Interior Design, 342 Architecture Bulllchng. PO Box 115705, Gainesville,
FL 32611-5706, ph 941-928-5209, klevins~ufl~edu


Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UF"IRB
Office, Box 1112250, University of Florida, Galnestllet, FL 32611-2250; ph 352-392-0433.


Agreement;: I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in
the procedure and I have received a copy of this description.


Participant:


Date:


Date:


Principal Investigator:


Approved by
University of Florida
Institutional Review Board 02
Protocol # 2006-U-306
For Use Through 04/3/2007





























I VIll VIV IYVIIIVI CI'C'VV p


Evaluate the portfolio as a complete unit. Rate the thirteen dimensions for each portfolio using the following scale:
1 =Poor; 2 =Below Average; 3 =Average; 4 =Good; 5 =Excellent


Below
Poor Average Average Good Excellent

Logical The portfolio Is appropriate for the disciphlne of
mterior design 2 3 4 5


Useful The portfolio has clear, practical apphications1 2 3 4 5



Understandable The portfolio commumicates in an effective and "user-friendly" way
12345



Well Crafted The portfolio presentation shows a high degree of technical skill and care 2 3 4 5



Original The portfolio Is unusual and novel 1 2 3 4 5



Innovative The portfolio Is mnovative1 2 3 4 5



Surprise The portfolio presents unexpected mformation to the viewer 1 2 3 4 5



Creative The portfolio Is creative
12345



Elegant The portfolio Is refmned and graceful 2 3 4 5



Valuable The portfolio addresses the human conditions 2 3 4 5



Organic The portfolio has a sense of wholeness or completeness about It
12345



Promise What Is the hlkehlhood that this portfolio seems comparable to your other entry-level
employees? 1 2 3 4 5


Potential What are the chances that the person who created this portfolio would be hired by
your firm?


o iloftro #


APPENDIX C

PORTFOLIO EVALUATION INSTRUMENT


PORTFOLIO EVALUA N
















APPENDIX D
INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE




1. How do you define creativity in interior design?




2. How do you define creativity in entry-level portfolios?




3. What factors besides creativity are important when you evaluate portfolios?




4. Is there anything else that you would like to add?




5. Can you estimate on how many portfolios do you review a year?


Year of birth

How many years have you practiced interior design?

How many years have you reviewed portfolios?

What type of design work do you do?
Healthcare Corporate Retail _
Conunercial Hospitality Residential
Formal Position Title

How many interior designers are employed by your firm?


years

years


_Educational
Other


Government


number

















APPENDIX E
SUMMARY OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS

Question 1: How do you define creativity?

NOVELTY
1 to think outside their realm of exposure
2 uncommon solutions for common problem
3 thinking outside of the box
4 innovative
5 creativity is developing unique solutions
6 an idea of reordering something in a way that is different
7 innovation
8 creativity, innovative
9 creating an unforgettable experience

RESOLUTION
10 evolving practical solutions to design challenges
11 design solution that is based on the clients' needs
12 solution that not only meets the client's expectations but also the functional and the human aspects
13 various design solutions
14 the ability to totally capture a concept or idea into a 3D space
15 to have a concept or point-of-view regarding the program or client, that will drive the project.
16 solutions for what the client is asking for
17 creating useful space; makes it function better
18 do they clearly illustrate the main item or idea of the project.
19 support human functions
20 relationship between form & function
21 functional to the end user
22 solves the design problem
23 the ability to see multiple solutions to a design problem or client request.
24 understanding of forms and human elements
25 creating a space that is useful for its occupants
26 design that reflects the function of the space

STYLE
27 color, texture
28 use of materials
29 creative use of material, textures, form, and light
30 is the complete thought shown; plans, perspectives, or other items to convey the ideas
31 leverage available materials
32 an expressive understanding of the process of interior architecture
33 the ability to solve a problem in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing
34 cohesive and clear design












Question 2: How do you define creativity in entry-level portfolios?


NOVELTY
1 different attitude, a different way of looking at things, a different way to solve a problem
2 exciting, does have a sense of surprise
3 putting your own twist on it, fresh and something different
4 fresh ideas
5 an attempt at reinterpretation of the expected
6 not what everybody else is doing
7 thinking beyond the obvious solution

RESOLUTION
8 understandable
9 has a sense of reality
10 used their sources of inspiration & concepts to inform their projects
11 to resolve design issues could be in use of materials or space definition
12 drawings clearly define the concept
13 the ability to deliver appropriate design responses
14 good design concept and solution
15 understanding of forms and human elements
16 easy to follow
17 clarity of intent is most important

STYLE
18 design solution is detailed
19 overall presentation
20 well translated and well put together
21 the ability to rely an idea, a concept, in a very simple fashion
22 creativity is well-rounded, in all aspects of the portfolio, concepts, graphic/technical, hand sketches
23 using materials
24 organizing your portfolio to be clear but graphically outstanding
25 format on your portfolio page
26 an artistic and creative rendition of ones best academic works
27 new presentation techniques
28 showcasing all of ones projects in a highly designed manner
29 design and layout of the pages can emphasis the design
30 use of various mediums is good












Question 3: What factors besides creativity are important when you evaluate
portfolios?

INDIVIDUAL
1 an individual or a team project
2 the person seems to be organized
3 we also are interviewing the person, so how well a person speaks, how they are dressed, etc.; we look
at the work and the person as a whole
4 what you love to see is consistently excellent and excellent people are typically consistently excellent
5 what can the person bring to the team
6 range of talents and experiences

NOVELTY
7 new ideas
8 innovative designs
9 innovation

RESOLUTION
10 a consistent train of thought
11 is it put together n a very logical [way]
12 consistent level of quality
13 constructability, rationality, realism
14 clear well thought out concepts & solutions
15 appropriate scale of the space

STYLE
16 excellent organizational skills
17 an understanding of color and proportion
18 I look at it for professionalism, is the portfolio neat, clean, well organized, are the edge cut clean, and
precise, are the mountings meticulous
19 graphics, the texture, the quality of the paper, or if it's in PowerPoint, on the computer, then the visual
impact
20 overall organization of the portfolio
21 neatness, spelling, grammar; it should look professional
22 clearly organized
23 organization, fluidity, metaphoric "tie-ins"
24 presentation, line weight in drawings, true 3D perspectives
25 understanding the materials
26 organization from the start to finish of portfolio & each project witlun
27 graphics, technology, balance
28 organization, logical layouts; easy to read and understand
29 neatness, spelling
30 design flow
31 graphics
32 presentation, overall look
33 simple and clear presentation of the project process and goals










TECHNICAL SKILLS
34 technical drawing
35 understand how to put construction documents together
36 are they familiar with codes and regulations
37 technical skills, skill sets in general
38 new abilities in software
39 graphic design skills
40 varied skills; technical, graphic
41 technical skills
42 showing of skill sets
43 use of computer automated drafting

THOUGHT PROCESS S
44 thought process
45 thought process and seeing how someone's mind works
46 well rounded thought process and interpretation