Learning Change

Learning Change Project: +6750 Posts in 8 Blogs

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Creativity and Complexity in Cross Functional Teams

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Cross functional collaboration, when individuals attempt to integrate their diverse knowledge backgrounds into synergistic solutions, is the intersection of a complex set of factors researched in a variety of fields: psychology, management. social psychology, computer science, design, architecture, and many more.  Concepts such as team group, cohesiveness, cognitive complexity, group maturity, creativity, decision making, and many more interact and influence each other in very complex ways.  Like the Blind Men and the Elephant, these different people and fields have diverse, often conflicting perspectives and insights on the process.  It would seem useful if these diverse knowledge resources could be brought together in an integrated perspective on this phenomenon that would enable the different fields to build upon each other in the search for more useful knowledge.  This paper discusses some perspectives that may assist in bringing all the perspectives together into a shared discussion space that supports deliberate efforts to get more from cross functional efforts: defining creativity as insight, managing for complexity of thinking, and understanding team complexity.

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Written by learningchange

October 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The Organizational Context in Cultural Patterns of Creativity

In this article, we first review cross-cultural research, especially that concerning similarities and differences between East Asian and Western cultures, on creativity using laboratory tasks and tests. On the basis of this review, we then propose some directions for future cross-cultural research on creativity in the workplace. We emphasize the need to theorize why cultural differences make a difference in creativity and directly investigate, rather than assume, effects of contextual factors on creativity. In this regard, two literatures on creativity – cross-cultural studies using laboratory tasks and organizational studies of employee creativity – can benefit tremendously from integration. We also call for more empirical research examining effects of culture on creativity in the workplace, especially in China.

Our review of the cross-cultural creativity literature revealed that much of the research has taken an individual-centered, or individual differences approach to an understanding of levels of creativity in different cultures. Context has been almost completely missing from previous theorizing and research in the cross-cultural creativity literature. As a result of the decontextualized approach, the usefulness dimension of creativity has not been considered. Also, there has been little theorizing about the proximal social contexts that affect creative work, such as the workers’ relationships to supervisors, peers, and associates. This unsatisfactory state-of-affairs provides impetus for more and better theorizing and research in the cross-cultural creativity research area …

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Written by learningchange

July 31, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Enhancing Creativity in Group Collaboration

As Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become established tools for communication, organizations increasingly use computer-mediated work groups to support various business processes and find creative solutions to organizational problems. In such a context, groups’ creative performance can greatly contribute to organizational success. Previous literature has examined the influence of various factors on different outcomes of group collaboration. However, mechanisms through which creativity can be improved, and how to design ICT’s interfaces to increase creativity have received little attention. In this study, we aim to understand the effects of two specific motivational affordances, namely, performance targets and performance feedback, on people’s perceived competence and creativity within the context of computer-mediated collaboration. Using computer-mediated idea generation as an instantiation of collaboration systems, we test the effects of performance targets and different types of feedback on people’s perceived competence and creativity in a controlled laboratory experiment. Our results show that the difficulty of performance targets and the type ofperformance feedback interact, influencing people’s perceived competence, which in turn influences their creativity in group collaboration. We conclude our study with a discussion of implications for the design of human–computer interfaces for computer-mediated idea generation.

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Written by learningchange

July 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Fostering Creative Thinking: Co-constructed Insights from Neuroscience and Education

The following educationally relevant and scientifically credible concepts were identified in this project:

  • Although every creative act contains elements of spontaneity, teachers can play a critical role in fostering creative thinking processes through use of environment and strategy.
  • No single part of our brain is responsible for creativity. Some regions linked to producing divergent associations, of the type needed for creativity, appear usually located in the right hemisphere. However, creativity is a complex thought process that calls on many different brain regions in both hemispheres. Left-brain/right-brain theories of learning are not based on credible science and are unhelpful in understanding creativity, especially when used to categorise individuals.
  • Creativity appears to require movement between two different modes of thinking: generative and analytical.
  • Cognitive fixation occurs when we become unable to move beyond an idea or set of ideas. It can be thought of as being stuck in analytical mode. However, in normal circumstances, we can monitor and, to some extent, regulate which mode we are using. In this sense, creative thinking appears amenable to metacognition.
  • Analytical thinking can benefit from extrinsic rewards such as assessment praise, whereas generative thinking can benefit more from more intrinsic motivations such as fascination and curiosity. Analytical thinking can also be encouraged by mild anxiety, while a stress-free and uncritical environment can produce more generative thinking.
  • Rehearsing the same idea can feel reassuring, whereas generative thinking can feel like a step in the dark, especially when there are few constraints or guidelines. To avoid anxiety, and thence fixation, the right level of constraint is sometimes required: not so constrained that creativity can’t flourish, but sufficient to provide some level of reassurance.
  • When we visualise, our brain activity can resemble that associated with real experience. This suggests visualisation is a potentially powerful educational tool. For example, enhancement of generative thinking can be achieved through visualising changes in context.

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Educating for Creativity and Innovation

In the last several decades many of the world’s most developed countries have shifted from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, one based on the creation of knowledge, information, and innovation. Educational researchers have paid very little scholarly attention to this economic shift, although it has substantial implications. After all, educational historians have repeatedly shown how today’s schools were designed in the first half of the 20th century to meet the economic needs of the industrial economy; if that economy is a thing of the past, then many features of contemporary schools may become obsolete. In today’s knowledge society, creativity always occurs in complex collaborative and organizational settings. Teams and organizations innovate using open-ended, improvisational group processes. I argue that education should be structured around disciplined improvisation, and I advocate the use of situated, collaborative knowledge-building activities. I argue that creative collaboration in classrooms aligns with the social nature of innovation in today’s economy.

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Written by learningchange

July 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Distributed Creativity: Thinking Outside the Box of the Creative Individual

This book challenges the standard view that creativity comes only from within an individual by arguing that creativity also exists ‘outside’ of the mind or more precisely, that the human mind extends through the means of action into the world. The notion of ‘distributed creativity’ is not commonly used within the literature and yet it has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about creativity, from how we define and measure it to what we can practically do to foster and develop creativity. Drawing on cultural psychology, ecological psychology and advances in cognitive science, this book offers a basic framework for the study of distributed creativity that considers three main dimensions of creative work: sociality, materiality and temporality. Starting from the premise that creativity is distributed between people, between people and objects and across time, the book reviews theories and empirical examples that help us unpack each of these dimensions and above all, articulate them into a novel and meaningful conception of creativity as a simultaneously psychological and socio-material process. The volume concludes by examining the practical implications in adopting this perspective on creativity.

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Written by learningchange

July 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

A Cultural and Systemic View of Distributed Creativity

This article discusses the limitations of the first generation of creativity-management technologies based on the psychological theories of intelligence and problem solving. The turn into a cultural and systemic conceptions in the psychology of creativity is analysed. It is argued that this psychology converges with the ideas developed in the sociology of knowledge, the history of technological systems, and activity theory as well as in innovation studies. All of them underline the significance of artefact-mediated communities, domains or practices. They agree on the importance of combining heterogeneous cultural resources and knowledge by horizontal networking across the boundaries of knowledge and activity domains. The internet-mediated new communities are discussed as emerging forms of distributed creation. A challenge for the management of creativity is to study and learn from the emerging problems, means and patterns of conduct of these communities.

A vital question in managing creativity is related to the mobilization of heterogeneous cultural resources within domains and across the boundaries of domains. This will take place in horizontal networks that cannot be managed in the ways characteristic of the market and hierarchical organization. The development of information technology, especially the Internet, is rapidly giving rise to new forms of distributed creation and new types of communities. This development is still in its early stage, and new technologies have unprecedented potential for novel uses and organizational forms. Therefore, it is vital to learn from the organizational principles and critical problems of the open developmental model and other forms of Internet-mediated activities.

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Creativity As Cultural Participation

Understanding creativity means understanding the various systems that contribute to its development and manifestation: from the biological to the cultural, from individual expression to social dynamics. This systemic view dominates today’s literature on the topic, being explicitly adopted by Hennessey and Amabile in their most recent Annual Review presentation of creativity. The two authors, while supportive of this approach, also warned against fragmentation and lack of dialogue between specialists working at different “ends” of the creativity system. By definition, a system includes both components and interactions and “the ‘whole’ of the creative process must be viewed as much more than a simple sum of its parts”. And yet creativity in psychology has been very often “read” at only one level, the individual one, and only relatively recently have social and cultural perspectives been acknowledged as valuable for its study. This article aims to bring the two general levels of analysis together, arguing against segmentation and partial understandings that treat creativity as either individual or socio-cultural. The main argument developed here is that creativity is both individual and sociocultural mainly because individuals themselves are socio-cultural beings. As a consequence, creative expression is also a form of cultural expression and, ultimately, one of the most illustrative forms of cultural participation: engaging with cultural artefacts to produce new cultural artefacts, employing culture to generate  culture.

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