Using the Idea-Marathon System (IMS) in University Education and Creativity Development

  • Takeo Higuchi
  • Shozo Saegusa
  • Daehyun KimEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


The Idea-Marathon System (IMS) can be used to develop creativity by fusing self-reflection, idea generation, and journal writing. As a person reflects on ideas and circumstances, he or she maintains a rigorous written record by enumerating ideas and drawing associated visuals. This particular method of self-reflection was created by Takeo Higuchi when he worked for a trading company. After retiring in 2004, Higuchi carried out several studies in Japan with participants from research institutes and industrial companies. Higuchi used the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) (Torrance, The Torrance tests of creative thinking-norms-technical manual research edition-verbal tests, forms A and B- figural tests, forms A and B. Personnel Press, Princeton, 1966/1974) to evaluate the use of the Idea-Marathon System. Moreover, through Higuchi’s experiments with participants at various educational institutions, he assessed that the IMS can be useful way for students to capture their creative ideas. Higuchi also found that the IMS journals may help students to develop both creativity and good study habits. In this chapter, the measurement of creativity is discussed based on Higuchi’s dissertation when he conducted research in Kobe University. Also discussed in this chapter, is the IMS application used by Saegusa who introduced the topic ‘Thinking Ways to Creativity’ to a freshmen class in Business Administration at Shujitsu University, Okayama, Japan. In 2016, Higuchi and Saegusa investigated the effects of the IMS by considering variables such as creativity, curiosity, intellectual interest, love of learning, and better cooperation among groups. The investigators introduced the IMS method to undergraduate students enrolled in an ‘Introduction to Thinking Methodology’ course during 2016 and 2017, with continuing studies in 2018. Throughout the initial 2-year collaboration, the investigators’ found in their evaluations that the IMS impacted the freshmen participants not only in the number of ideas generated but also in a final performance assessment. It was also found that faculty support (i.e., weekly communication cards with students) was extremely important for students in order to maintain their motivation for the IMS writing regimen. To determine the impact of the IMS on student performance, a quantitative assessment of students’ creativity was used along with an evaluation survey. The goals of these evaluations were to have students use the IMS method as a useful career tool to help their innate creative talents grow by engaging in self-reflection and encouraging written and visual expression.


Idea-Marathon System (IMS) Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) Continuity power Creativity Self-reflection Written and visual expression 


  1. Bidshahri, R. (2017, July 4). 7 Critical skills for the jobs of the future. Retrieved from
  2. Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991) Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom (ASHE-ERIC higher education reports no. 1). Washington, DC: George Washington University.Google Scholar
  3. Cherney, I. D. (2008). The effects of active learning on students’ memories for course content. Active Learning in Higher Education, 9(2), 152–171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cramond, B. (2005). Developing creative thinking. In F. A. Karnes & S. M. Bean (Eds.), Methods and materials for teaching the gifted (pp. 313–351). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  5. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1988). Society, culture, and person: A systems view of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity (pp. 325–339). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, G. A. (2003). Identifying creative students, teaching for creative growth. In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (pp. 311–324). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, G. A. (2004). Objectives and activities for teaching creative thinking. In D. J. Treffinger & S. M. Reis (Eds.), Creativity and giftedness (pp. 97–104). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  8. Florida, R. (2005). The flight of the creative class. New York, NY: Harper Collins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 8410–8415. Idea No. 1,830, July 31, 2018. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Higuchi, T. (1992). You can get affluent ideas from this book. Tokyo, Japan: Diamond Inc.Google Scholar
  11. Higuchi, T. (1998). How to create affluent ideas. Tokyo, Japan: Toyo Keizai Shinpo Sha.Google Scholar
  12. Higuchi, T. (2008a). Group Idea-Marathon. Tokyo, Japan: Just System.Google Scholar
  13. Higuchi, T. (2008b). Power to start with one note: Continue to give power: An idea marathon idea that both life and work goes well. Tokyo, Japan: Kou-Shobo.Google Scholar
  14. Higuchi, T. (2011). Notebook technique for workers. Tokyo, Japan: Toyo Keizai Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Higuchi, T. (2014). Enhancement effects of the Idea-Marathon system on creativity (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Ishikawa, Japan.Google Scholar
  16. Higuchi, T. (2015, November). Application of the Idea-Marathon principle for ignition and fostering creativity of the pre-school children. Paper presented at the Knowledge Information and Creativity Support System (KICSS), Phuket, Thailand.Google Scholar
  17. Higuchi, T. (2016). Practice of the two-storied active learning structure in universities establishing a habit of thinking and immediate writing as the intellectual basis of active learning. Journal of Japan Creativity Society, 20, 36–39.Google Scholar
  18. Higuchi, T. (2018). Idea-Marathon – Visualizing your thinking: The strongest notebook technology, 34 years of continued achievement. Tokyo, Japan: Amazon Digital Services LLC.Google Scholar
  19. Higuchi, T., Yuizono, T., Miyata, K., Sakurai, K., & Kawaji, T. (2013). Creativity effects of the Idea-Marathon system (IMS): Torrance tests of creative thinking (TTCT) figural tests for college students. In A. M. J. Skulimowski & J. Kacprzyk (Eds.), Knowledge, information and creativity support systems: Recent trends, advances and solutions (pp. 185–200). New York, NY: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  20. Inagaki, T., & Mochida, T. (2012). Reactive half-metallocenium ionic liquids that undergo solventless ligand exchange. Chemistry: A European Journal, 18(26), 8070–8075. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kato, F. (2017). Cooking simulator. Open Lab Review. Retrieved from
  22. Kato, F., Shiina, M., Tokizaki, T., Mitake, H., Aoki, T., & Hasegawa, S. (2008). Culinary art designer. Proceedings of the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, 398.
  23. Kawaji, T. (2011). Effect of creativity in Idea-Marathon system. Proceedings of the Japan Creativity Society, 33, 24–27. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  24. Kawamoto, T. (2016, October). What is Active Learning we need today. Paper presented at the Japan Creativity Society, Tokyo, Japan.Google Scholar
  25. Kobayashi, A., Suzuki, T., & Suzuki, E. (2015). Active learning practice. Tokyo, Japan: Sangyo Noritzu University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed? Modelling habit formation in the real word. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 998–1009. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lin, Y.-S. (2011). Fostering creativity through education: A conceptual framework of creative pedagogy. Creative Education, 2, 149–155. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Matsushita, K. (2015). Deep active learning. Tokyo, Japan: Keisou Shobo.Google Scholar
  29. Matsushita, K., & Ishii, T. (2016). Evaluation of active learning. Tokyo, Japan: Toshindo.Google Scholar
  30. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. (2017a). Japanese Government Policies in Education, Science, Sports, and Culture 1997. Retrieved from
  31. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. (2017b). On integrated reforms in high school and university education and university entrance examination aimed at realizing a high school and university articulation system appropriate for a new era. Report by author. Retrieved from
  32. Miyata, K., Umemoto, K., & Higuchi, T. (2010). An educational framework for creating VR application through group work. Computers & Graphics, 34, 811–819. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mochida, T. (2014). Research manual of Mochida Research Office, (p. 5). Kobe, Japan: University of KobeGoogle Scholar
  34. Nishiura, K., & Kunifuji, S. (2016). Establishment of SIG and the latest trend to creative education of AL: Active learning. Journal of Japan Creativity Society, 20, 1–3.Google Scholar
  35. Noda, T., Nomura, K., Komuro, N., Chen, Y., Tao, Z., & Miyata, K. (2008). Landscape Bartender: Landscape image generation system using analogy of cocktail. Retrieved from
  36. Prabhu, V., Sutton, C., & Sauser, W. (2008). Creativity and certain personality traits: Understanding the mediating effect of intrinsic motivation. Creativity Research Journal, 20, 53–66. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Renzulli, J. S. (2012). Reexamining the role of gifted education and talent development for the 21st century: A four-part theoretical approach. Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 150–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Runco, M. A. (2014). Creativity: Theories and themes: Research, development, and practice. New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  39. Runco, M. A., & Kim, D. (2011). Creativity complex. In M. A. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity (2nd ed., pp. 292–295). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Runco, M. A., & Kim, D. (2013). Four Ps of creativity and recent updates. In E. G. Carayannis (Ed.), Encyclopedia of creativity, invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship (pp. 755–759). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Saavedra, A. R., & Opfer, V. D. (2012). Learning 21st-century skills requires 21st-century teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 94, 8–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Saegusa, S., & Higuchi, T. (2016). Strengthening thought and idea in first year’s education: Practice of active learning with IMS introduced. Paper presented at the 38th Academic Lecture Meeting of the Japan Creativity Society, Tokyo, Japan.Google Scholar
  43. Saegusa, S., & Higuchi, T. (2017a). Strengthening of thinking and imagination during the first year education (2nd report): Promotion and continued enhancement of independent IMS idea through internal and external collaborations with teachers. Proceedings of the Japan Creativity Society, 39, 9–12. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  44. Saegusa, S., & Higuchi, T. (2017b). Active learning & teaching education method for University freshmen. Paper presented at the 12th International Conference on Knowledge, Information and Creativity Support Systems (KICSS), Nagoya, Japan.Google Scholar
  45. Schack, G. D. (2004). Effects of a creative problem-solving curriculum on students of varying abilities. In D. J. Treinger & S. M. Reis (Eds.), Creativity and giftedness (pp. 125–140). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  46. Shavinina, L. V. (2009). On giftedness and the economy: The impact of talented individuals on the global economy. In L. V. Shavinina (Ed.), International handbook on giftedness (pp. 1181–1202). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Science.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith, S. R. (2017). Model of dynamic differentiation (MoDD): Innovation education for talent development. In T. S. Yamin, K. W. McCluskey, T. Lubart, D. Ambrose, K. C. McCluskey, & S. Linke (Eds.), Innovation education (pp. 41–66). Ulm, Germany: The International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE).Google Scholar
  48. Sternberg, R. J. (2018). What’s wrong with creativity testing? Journal of Creative Behavior, 1–17.Google Scholar
  49. Subotnik, R. F., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Worrell, F. C. (2012). A proposed direction forward for gifted education based on psychological science. Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 176–188. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sumida, M. (2013). Emerging trends in Japan in the education of the gifted: A focus on science education. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 36(3), 277–289. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Todd, S. M., & Shinzato, S. (1999). Thinking for the future: Developing higher-level thinking and creativity for students in Japan and elsewhere. Childhood Education, 75, 342–345. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Torrance, E. P. (1963). Education and the creative potential. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  53. Torrance, E. P. (1966/1974). The Torrance tests of creative thinking-norms-technical manual research edition-verbal tests, forms A and B- figural tests, forms A and B. Princeton, NJ: Personnel Press.Google Scholar
  54. Torrance, E. P. (1988). The nature of creativity as manifest in its testing. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity (pp. 43–73). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Torrance, E. P., Murdock, M., & Fletcher, D. C. (1996). Creative problem solving through role playing. Pretoria, Republic of South Africa: Benedict Books.Google Scholar
  56. Treffinger, D. J. (2004). Introduction to creativity and giftedness: Three decades of inquiry and development. In D. J. Treffinger & S. M. Reis (Eds.), Creativity and giftedness (pp. xxiii–xxxxx). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  57. Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2009). 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Idea-Marathon Institute (IMS Institute)TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Shujitsu UniversityOkayamaJapan
  3. 3.Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent DevelopmentUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Seokhee Cho
    • 1
  1. 1.St. John’s UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations