Connecting Innovative Communities

In 2010, we established Hunter Higgs LLC to improve our communities by connecting innovative people and cultural organizations with the political system. For years, we successfully advocated in Massachusetts for the arts, culture, arts education, a creative economy, and tourism. As important as the yearly legislative battles proved to be, we also looked for ways to have a deeper, longer-lasting impact on society: How can we grow innovation? How can we educate creative students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have yet to be invented?

We live in a society that seems to value only what can be measured. Educational policy favors what can be measured through standardized testing, which diminishes the opportunities for students to engage in creative work and develop their imagination skills.
So, we developed the Creative Challenge Index as a means to increase the priority of creative work in public schools. The Creative Challenge Index—passed in the 2011 Massachusetts economic stimulus bill—sought to establish a measurement of classroom activities to enhance student creativity. We carried our ideas to several other U.S. states, Canada and South Korea.

Since 2011, we have worked closely with Creative Oklahoma to design and implement the Oklahoma Innovation Index based on our original ideas. The Oklahoma Innovation Index has been piloted in 12 schools across Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Throughout this process and exchange of ideas, it became clear that schools, researchers and even corporations need a low-cost, effective measurement of creativity.

The Hunter Imagination Questionnaire (H-IQ) was conceived by Dan Hunter in late 2014. It was successfully tested with MRIs and personality and brain measurements during the summer of 2015. After filing for a patent, we are now ready to pilot H-IQ in four communities in the fall of 2017.

Hunter Higgs LLC is now fully dedicated to improving imagination and ideation skills through the promotion and distribution of H-IQ.

Our Team

Dan Hunter

Dan Hunter is a playwright, songwriter, teacher and founding partner of Hunter Higgs, LLC. Hunter is the inventor of H-IQ, the first assessment of individual imagination and ideation. He is the co-author of A New Measure of Imagination Ability: Anatomical Brain Imaging Correlates, published March 22, 2016 in The Frontiers of Psychology, an international, peer-reviewed journal.

Hunter has 25 years of experience in politics and arts advocacy, serving as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities (MAASH), a statewide advocacy and education group, and as Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, a cabinet appointment requiring Senate confirmation. He has also taught creative writing at Boston University since 2000.

Hunter has written many successful plays including Un Tango en La Noche (winner of a national Kennedy Center award) and The Monkey King (finalist for the 2004 Heideman Award, Actors Theatre of Louisville). Hunter’s play, Red Elm, received critical acclaim in 2005 and his 2013 comedy, Legally Dead, was called “uproarious” by the Boston Globe.

For many years as a singer/songwriter/humorist, Hunter performed original songs like “Walkin’ Beans,” “Ballad of the Pork Queen,” and “Please Don’t Burn Perry Como.”

Hathalee Higgs

Hathalee Higgs is a founding partner of Hunter Higgs, LLC.

Hathalee has seventeen years of experience working with nonprofit cultural organizations in Vermont and Massachusetts. For two years, she served as Development Director of MAASH (Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences & Humanities). She also formed Emerging Arts Leaders of Massachusetts (EALM), a career development and advocacy group for young arts professionals in the Boston cultural community.

From 1999 to 2007, Hathalee was Producing Director of Kingdom County Productions (KCP), an independent film production company and nonprofit media arts organization in northern Vermont. Hathalee worked with award-winning filmmakers Jay Craven and Bess O’Brien to produce dozens of projects, most notably the feature films Disappearances (Kris Kristofferson, Genevieve Bujold) and The Year That Trembled (Fred Willard, Jonathan Brandis), and seven episodes of “Windy Acres,” an Emmy Award-winning comedy series for Vermont Public Television.

Hathalee was also Administrative Director of Fledgling Films, Kingdom County Productions’ educational division. She produced five years of the Fledgling Films Summer Institute, an intensive writing and production program for teenagers, during which 25 short narrative films and five documentaries were made with young filmmakers.

Hathalee earned a Masters in Arts Administration from Boston University and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.