The roots of IDAK’s Natural Talents and Talent Discovery Guide began at the University of California at Davis in 1973. IDAK president, John Bradley, at that time was Coordinator for Career Planning, Research and Experimentation. Part of his job was directing a task force of students, faculty and staff to study and develop career assessment systems which formed around natural talents. The products of this combined team were also refined and evaluated through accredited independent study courses completed by each student on the task force. Models and methods from well-known career development theories were also studied, including E. K. Strong, Jr. (1943), John Holland (1959, 1973, 1976), David Campbell (1971), Richard Bolles (1972), John Crystal (Crystal and Bolles, 1974), and Charles Johansson (1975, 1977), along with many other lesser known career practitioners such as Bernard Haldane (1975) and Howard Figler (1979).
During the next year, assessment exercises and workshop sessions, including computer-assisted systems, continued to be refined. The result was the publication of a career guidance text, The Employment Development Manual, written and copyrighted by John Bradley. This was sold to students and alumni. During this time the University Career Planning Center became an unofficial clearinghouse for career planning ideas by colleges and universities in the region covered by the Western College Placement Association.
In 1976 Bradley moved to Portland, Oregon, to direct the career planning office at Warner Pacific College. The college provided a unique opportunity to continue his research, including the fusion of career decision making with field education (experiential learning). The college also allowed him to expand his counseling beyond students to the community adult population. By 1980 Mr. Bradley had made the transition to his own private practice which included career guidance and personnel assessment consulting. His aptitude assessment and career matching theories had matured through his counseling experience to include self-scoring inventories including interest assessment, natural talent assessment (two exercises) and value assessment. These instruments were administered in conjunction with the conventional career tests addressing the same aptitudes. These years of applied study and experimentation allowed Mr. Bradley to develop the format for what is now known as the IDAK Talent Discovery Guide.
In 1982 a research funding venture of $500,000 was acquired to develop a computer- scored version of the earlier hand-scored interest, talent and values assessment systems. This funding formed the IDAK Career Match™ Research Team which consisted of 17 professionals divided into five task forces. The first, the psychometrics team, included Dr. Robert Larzelere, professor of psychometrics at Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology (team director), Dr. Keith Edwards and Dr. Arvid Leighton, a human resource consultant and graduate student at Rosemead. Leighton's doctoral dissertation, completed in August 1986, included a validity and reliability study of the IDAK Career Match™ system.
In the summer of 1983 the research team released the first edition of the IDAK Career Match™ (the research edition) which was mailed out for review to approximately 500 professionals in the United States. The reviewers included corporate human resource directors, psychologists, college career guidance counselors and ministry candidate screening officers, as well as other counselors who had participated in earlier field test questionnaires and exercises. This survey evaluated the face validity of the instrument, specifically focusing on the clarity of instructions and possible ambiguities in text questions. Comments were also requested on the overall layout and graphics of the instrument. The response assisted the research team in making several corrections to clarify introductions and provide exercise samples.
The first regular edition for sale was published in November 1983. More than 200 complimentary copies were sent to a new group of field evaluators who had prior experience in career guidance but who had not previously seen the instrument. Each one was asked to complete a detailed evaluation sheet. All were either contacted by telephone or visited in person during a national two-month, 10-field site tour by IDAK president John Bradley and IDAK counselor Pam Opar Hedges.
Since the printing of the first regular edition, the IDAK staff has continued to evaluate user response and make manuscript changes and adjustments in the data processing systems. Consultation with the psychometrics task force continues with additional study into special developmental areas.
An important contribution to the IDAK Talent list of definitions was through seminar, workshops and classroom instruction featuring the self-scoring IDAK Talent Discovery Guides. These seminars began in 1979 and were presented at universities, seminaries, corporations and churches. Through observing thousands of participants, valuable insights were gained as to misunderstandings regarding Talent names and definitions.
In 1987, IDAK developed a specialized counselor training program which was delivered and installed at four centers. These locations included Los Angeles, Nashville, Minneapolis and Denver. At this time, the IDAK Autobiographical Interview was formalized. The Interview is used as a separate Talent Assessment process providing a way for counselors to determine the validity of a client’s Talent Discovery Guide assessment results. This Interview process asks specific questions which focus on one’s lifestyle. The behavioral pattern of one’s Talent strengths exhibited in everyday life can be identified by a certified counselor. The list of Talent questions used in the Interview process continues to be upgraded. These questions are the foundation for the online Talent Discovery Guide Validation questions.
Since 1983, considerable research and three doctoral dissertations have been completed on IDAK’s Talent names, definitions and assessment systems. One of the counselors at the Nashville training center proposed and completed a doctoral dissertation comparing the IDAK Career Match™ with the Brain Preference Indicator (BPI) assessment system. The thesis compared IDAK’s Talents with the traits identified by the BPI system. The doctorate was completed in July 1989 at Oxford Graduate School in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1999, a faculty professor at Toccoa Falls College completed a doctoral dissertation on the IDAK system through the University of Georgia. His focus was comparing IDAK’s Natural Talents with freshmen college student retention and academic achievement.
In 2004, a Spanish edition of the Talent Discovery Guide was developed through the assistance of Central and South American bi-lingual foreign nationals representing Puerto Rico, Mexico and Argentina. The translation process provided further insight into the observation of Talent behavioral patterns in cross-cultural settings.
Since 1984, IDAK has continued to upgrade its publications and training information regarding the behavioral patterns of Natural Talents.