And What Does Collective Creativity Mean?
What is creativity? According to Wikipedia: Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value. What counts as “new” may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. What counts as “valuable” is similarly defined in a variety of ways. BTW the above picture was taken at the annual Sausalito Art Festival just this weekend.
Scholarly interest in creativity ranges widely: Topics to which it is relevant include the relationship between creativity and general intelligence; the mental and neurological processes associated with creative activity; the relationship between personality type and creative ability; the relationship between creativity and mental health; the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology; and the application of an individual’s existing creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning processes and of the teaching processes tailored to them.
Creativity and creative thinking are studied across many disciplines from psychology to cognitive science, art, education, philosophy, technology, theology, sociology, linguistics, business studies, and economics. As a result, there are a multitude of definitions and it all depends how you use it. What’s the motivation for people to be creative? Or people just want to be creative because they are creative? Sometimes this is the case and sometimes people are motivated by problems that need to be solved or jobs that need to get done and conventional approach is not effective.
Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes. Often we are not creative enough about what’s creativity is or who is considered a ‘creative’ person. Sometime people can just pull an idea out from nowhere; and sometimes people scan for alternatives and quickly come to what they believe the best idea. It is sometimes a quality game and sometimes a quantity game – good idea versus lots of ideas. When creativity requires analysis and other more qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, is that still consider creativity? Or it should be called ‘Design Thinking?’ Does creativity be just novel or it is not enough for it to be novel; it must have value, or be appropriate to the cognitive demands of the situation and the context.
The creative domain is basically nested in culture – the symbolic knowledge shred by a particular groups, society or by humanity as a whole (visual arts, performance art, craft-based professions etc.) and then there are gatekeepers (curators and producers). The person who involves in the act of creativity includes musicians, engineers, designers, architects, business strategists etc. But being in one of these professions, does one automatically qualify as a member of the ‘creative class?’ This one I am not sure.
Creative people have a great deal of energy; an urge to look at things differently but they also have a combination of playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. The best creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy on one end, and rooted sense of reality at the other. And what about ‘collective creativity?’ We need to be more creative about what’s creativity? What about creativity and co-creation’, that’s a topic for another post.
Idris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.