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The mind has great influence over the body and maladies often have their origin there.

Creative industries and services

Today, creativity forms the core activity of a growing section of the global economy—the so-called “creative industries“—capitalistically generating (generally non-tangible) wealththrough the creation and exploitation of intellectual property or through the provision of creative services. The Creative Industries Mapping Document 2001 provides an overview of the creative industries in the UK. The creative professional workforce is becoming a more integral part of industrialized nations’ economies.

Creative professions include writing, art, design, theater, television, radio, motion pictures, related crafts, as well as marketing, strategy, some aspects of scientific research and development, product development, some types of teaching and curriculum design, and more. Since many creative professionals (actors and writers, for example) are also employed in secondary professions, estimates of creative professionals are often inaccurate. By some estimates, approximately 10 million US workers are creative professionals; depending upon the depth and breadth of the definition, this estimate may be double.

Creativity is required at all stages of the product development process, from the generation of new product ideas to their commercialization. A work environment that stimulates employee creativity is generally believed to be beneficial for a firm’s new product performance. When people at any level in the organization have creative capabilities they can contribute to innovation, despite claims that people at lower levels of an organization introduce fewer and less radical innovation. All organizational members can directly (e.g., as part of new product development (NPD) team) or indirectly contribute to product innovation, especially in less structured organizations.

In other professions

Isaac Newton‘s law of gravity is popularly attributed to a creative leap he experienced when observing a falling apple.

Creativity is also seen as being increasingly important in a variety of other professions. Architecture and industrial design are the fields most often associated with creativity, and more generally the fields of design and design research. These fields explicitly value creativity, and journals such as Design Studies have published many studies on creativity and creative problem solving.

Fields such as science and engineering have, by contrast, experienced a less explicit (but arguably no less important) relation to creativity. Simonton shows how some of the major scientific advances of the 20th century can be attributed to the creativity of individuals. This ability will also be seen as increasingly important for engineers in years to come.

Accounting has also been associated with creativity with the popular euphemism creative accounting. Although this term often implies unethical practices, Amabile has suggested that even this profession can benefit from the (ethical) application of creative thinking.

In a recent global survey of approximately 1600 CEO’s, the leadership trait that was considered to be most crucial for success was creativity. This suggests that the world of business is beginning to accept that creativity is of value in a diversity of industries, rather than being simply the preserve of the creative industries. For instance, the civil service bureaucracy (in modern discourse frequently derided as in opposition to the creative), has benefitted from employing creative writers, from John Milton, to Anthony Trollope, to Flann O’Brien, who are capable of analysing the workings of their own institutions.

In organizations

It has been the topic of various research studies to establish that organizational effectiveness depends on the creativity of the workforce to a large extent. For any given organization, measures of effectiveness vary, depending upon its mission, environmental context, nature of work, the product or service it produces, and customer demands. Thus, the first step in evaluating organizational effectiveness is to understand the organization itself — how it functions, how it is structured, and what it emphasizes.

Amabile argued that to enhance creativity in business, three components were needed:

  • Expertise (technical, procedural and intellectual knowledge),
  • Creative thinking skills (how flexibly and imaginatively people approach problems),
  • and Motivation (especially intrinsic motivation).

There are two types of motivation:

Six managerial practices to encourage motivation are:

  • Challenge – matching people with the right assignments;
  • Freedom – giving people autonomychoosing means to achieve goals;
  • Resources– such as time, money, space etc. There must be balance fit among resources and people;
  • Work group features – diverse, supportive teams, where members share the excitement, willingness to help and recognize each other’s talents;
  • Supervisoryencouragement – recognitions, cheering, praising;
  • Organizational support – value emphasis, information sharing, collaboration.

Nonaka, who examined several successful Japanese companies, similarly saw creativity and knowledge creation as being important to the success of organizations. In particular, he emphasized the role that tacit knowledge has to play in the creative process.

In business, originality is not enough. The idea must also be appropriate—useful and actionableCreative competitive intelligence is a new solution to solve this problem. According to Reijo Siltala it links creativity to innovation process and competitive intelligence to creative workers.

Creativity can be encouraged in people and professionals and in the workplace. It is essential for innovation, and is a factor affecting economic growth and businesses. In 2013 the sociologist Silvia Leal Martín, using the Innova 3DX method, suggested measuring the various parameters that encourage creativity and innovation: corporate culture, work environment, leadership and management, creativity, self-esteem and optimism, locus of control and learning orientation, motivation and fear.

Economic views of creativity

Economic approaches to creativity have focussed on three aspects — the impact of creativity on economic growth, methods of modelling markets for creativity, and the maximisation of economic creativity (innovation).

In the early 20th century, Joseph Schumpeter introduced the economic theory of creative destruction, to describe the way in which old ways of doing things are endogenously destroyed and replaced by the new. Some economists (such as Paul Romer) view creativity as an important element in the recombination of elements to produce new technologies and products and, consequently, economic growth. Creativity leads to capital, and creative products are protected by intellectual property laws.

Mark A. Runco and Daniel Rubenson have tried to describe a “psychoeconomic” model of creativity. In such a model, creativity is the product of endowments and active investments in creativity; the costs and benefits of bringing creative activity to market determine the supply of creativity. Such an approach has been criticised for its view of creativity consumption as always having positive utility, and for the way it analyses the value of future innovations.

The creative class is seen by some to be an important driver of modern economies. In his 2002 book, The Rise of the Creative Classeconomist Richard Florida popularized the notion that regions with “3 T’s of economic development: Technology, Talent and Tolerance” also have high concentrations of creative professionals and tend to have a higher level of economic development.

The creative industries in Europe — including the audiovisual sector — make a significant contribution to the EU economy, creating about 3% of EU GDP — corresponding to an annual market value of €500 billion — and employing about 6 million people. In addition, the sector plays a crucial role in fostering innovation, in particular for devices and networks. The EU records the second highest TV viewing figures globally, producing more films than any other region in the world. In that respect, the newly proposed ‘Creative Europe’ programme will help preserve cultural heritage while increasing the circulation of creative works inside and outside the EU. The programme will play a consequential role in stimulating cross border co-operation, promoting peer learning and making these sectors more professional. The Commission will then propose a financial instrument run by the European Investment Bank to provide debt and equity finance for cultural and creative industries. The role of the non-state actors within the governance regarding Medias will not be neglected anymore due to a holistic approach.

Social network view of creativity

Creativity research has long been polarized between the ‘romantic’ view that major creative achievements are sparked by imaginative and uniquely gifted individuals at the margin of an intellectual field. Although this remains the dominant approach when examining individual creativity, an increasingly large number of studies have stressed the importance of also looking at social factors. Following this line of thought and drawing more explicitly from research by sociologists and sociopsychologists, organizational scholars have increasingly recognized the importance of the network side of individual creativity.

The key idea of this perspective is that a deeper understanding of how creative outputs are generated and become accepted can be achieved only by placing the individual within a network of interpersonal relationships. The influence of the social context in which individuals are embedded determines the range of information and opportunities available to them during the creative process. Several studies have begun to expose the network mechanisms that underlie the genesis and legitimacy of creative work.

Fostering creativity Creativity techniques

Daniel Pink, in his 2005 book A Whole New Mind, repeating arguments posed throughout the 20th century, argues that we are entering a new age where creativity is becoming increasingly important. In this conceptual age, we will need to foster and encourage right-directed thinking (representing creativity and emotion) over left-directed thinking(representing logical, analytical thought). However, this simplification of ‘right’ versus ‘left’ brain thinking is not supported by the research data.

Nickerson provides a summary of the various creativity techniques that have been proposed. These include approaches that have been developed by both academia and industry:

  1. Establishing purpose and intention
  2. Building basic skills
  3. Encouraging acquisitions of domain-specific knowledge
  4. Stimulating and rewarding curiosity and exploration
  5. Building motivation, especially internal motivation
  6. Encouraging confidence and a willingness to take risks
  7. Focusing on mastery and self-competition
  8. Promoting supportable beliefs about creativity
  9. Providing opportunities for choice and discovery
  10. Developing self-management (metacognitive skills)
  11. Teaching techniques and strategies for facilitating creative performance
  12. Providing balance

Some see the conventional system of schooling as “stifling” of creativity and attempt (particularly in the pre-school/kindergarten and early school years) to provide a creativity-friendly, rich, imagination-fostering environment for young children. Researchers have seen this as important because technology is advancing our society at an unprecedented rate and creative problem solving will be needed to cope with these challenges as they arise. In addition to helping with problem solving, creativity also helps students identify problems where others have failed to do so. See the Waldorf School as an example of an education program that promotes creative thought.

Promoting intrinsic motivation and problem solving are two areas where educators can foster creativity in students. Students are more creative when they see a task as intrinsically motivating, valued for its own sake. To promote creative thinking educators need to identify what motivates their students and structure teaching around it. Providing students with a choice of activities to complete allows them to become more intrinsically motivated and therefore creative in completing the tasks.

Teaching students to solve problems that do not have well defined answers is another way to foster their creativity. This is accomplished by allowing students to explore problems and redefine them, possibly drawing on knowledge that at first may seem unrelated to the problem in order to solve it.

Several different researchers have proposed methods of increasing the creativity of an individual. Such ideas range from the psychological-cognitive, such as OsbornParnesCreative Problem Solving ProcessSynectics, Science-based creative thinking, Purdue Creative Thinking Program, and Edward de Bono‘s lateral thinking; to the highly structured, such as TRIZ (the Theory of Inventive Problem-Solving) and its variant Algorithm of Inventive Problem Solving (developed by the Russian scientist Genrich Altshuller), and Computer-Aided Morphological analysis.

Understanding and enhancing the creative process with new technologies

A simple but accurate review on this new Human-Computer Interactions (HCI) angle for promoting creativity has been written by Todd Lubart, an invitation full of creative ideas to develop further this new field.

Groupware and other Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) platforms are now the stage of Network Creativity on the web or on other private networks. These tools have made more obvious the existence of a more connective, cooperative and collective nature of creativity rather than the prevailing individual one. Creativity Research on Global Virtual Teams is showing that the creative process is affected by the national identities, cognitive and conative profiles, anonymous interactions at times and many other factors affecting the teams members, depending on the early or later stages of the cooperative creative process. They are also showing how NGO’s cross-cultural virtual team’s innovation in Africa would also benefit from the pooling of best global practices online. Such tools enhancing cooperative creativity may have a great impact on society and as such should be tested while they are built following the Motto: “Build the Camera while shooting the film”. Some European FP7 scientific programs like Paradiso are answering a need for advanced experimentally driven research including large-scale experimentation test-beds to discover the technical, societal and economic implications of such groupware and collaborative tools to the Internet.

On the other hand, creativity research may one day be pooled with a computable metalanguage like IEML from the University of Ottawa Collective Intelligence Chair, Pierre Levy. It might be a good tool to provide an interdisciplinary definition and a rather unified theory of creativity. The creative processes being highly fuzzy, the programming of cooperative tools for creativity and innovation should be adaptive and flexible. Empirical Modelling seems to be a good choice for Humanities Computing.

The Creativity and Cognition conference series, sponsored by the ACM and running since 1993, has been an important venue for publishing research on the intersection between technology and creativity. The conference now runs biennially, next taking place in 2015.

Social attitudes

Although the benefits of creativity to society as a whole have been noted, social attitudes about this topic remain divided. The wealth of literature regarding the development of creativity and the profusion of creativity techniques indicate wide acceptance, at least among academics, that creativity is desirable.

There is, however, a dark side to creativity, in that it represents a “quest for a radical autonomy apart from the constraints of social responsibility”. In other words, by encouraging creativity we are encouraging a departure from society’s existing norms and values. Expectation of conformity runs contrary to the spirit of creativity. Ken Robinson argues that the current education system is “educating people out of their creativity”.

Nevertheless, employers are increasingly valuing creative skills. A report by the Business Council of Australia, for example, has called for a higher level of creativity in graduates. The ability to “think outside the box” is highly sought after. However, the above-mentioned paradox may well imply that firms pay lip service to thinking outside the box while maintaining traditional, hierarchical organization structures in which individual creativity is condemned.



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