Sunday, October 11, 2009

Toward the Advent of Creative Society

It appears that “creativity” is one of the most notable keywords today. While in some fields like business and policymaking the term "innovation" is preferred, what is intended to mean seems be quite similar. Especially the recent trend is to place emphasis on creativities of group, organization, community, and even society as well as creativity of individuals. To indicate the affair, the term “collaboration” and then its derivative terms like “Creative Collaboration” (Schrage 1995, John-Steiner, 2000), “Group Creativity” (Sawyer 2003), “Group Genius” (Sawyer 2008), “Organizational Creativity” (Zhou & Shalley 2007), “Collective Creativity”, “Open Collaboration”, “Swarm Creativity” (Gloor 2006), and “Mass Collaboration” (Tapscott & Williams 2008) are used.

Keywords associated with Creative Society (Illustrated by Takashi Iba)

There are several reasons why creativity is paid attention today. First, against the backdrop of the shift from labor-intensive work to knowledge-intensive work, many people involved in business need to make full use of intelligence and creativity for obtaining added-valued outcomes (Florida 2002). While introducing information technologies has been changing the style of work, the upcoming trend requires being more creative (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995, Malone 2004). As Daniel Pink (2006) pointed out, we are no longer simply in “Information Age”, but in an emerging age called “Conceptual Age”. Thus thinking with both of “left-brain” and “right-brain”, which is often called “design thinking”, is required today (Kelley & Littman 2001, Brown 2009).

Second, we have been realizing that enhancing creativity is necessary to shape the future in our complex, diverse, and "liquid" society. The problems today are quite complex and dynamic to solve, so we must gather the creative abilities beyond professions and disciplines. As Michael Gibbons et. al. (1994) pointed out, the emerging mode of scientific knowledge production, which is called “mode 2” against the mode of conventional sciences, is characterized by transdisciplinary, heterogeneity, heterarchical, and transient. The challenge to create new trends for the future is often carried out with a growing network including creators, communicators, and collaborators, which Peter Gloor (2006) called “Collaborative Innovation Networks” (COINs).

Third, people have been thinking that engaging in creative activities can meet the human desire in deep level. For a past decade, information technologies, especially the Internet, has provided the infrastructure for everyone to enjoy participate collaborations based on their interest (Torvalds & Diamond 2002, Friedman 2005, Tapscott & Williams 2008). According to psychological studies by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990; 1996), the “flow” experience when involved in creative activities is known to provide the feeling of happiness. Self-fulfillment in contemporary age is not based on material pleasures, but higher stage of motivation like creativity (Maslow1954).

Thus the advent of “creative society” demands enhancement of our creative ability and the environment (Resnick 2002). There is, however, the crucial problem that the essential nature of creative process is still unknown. In fact, we know little about what goes on in creative process and how we can support it, although psychologists have endeavor to understand the creativity. It is just because psychological approach can reveal only one aspect of creativity, that is to say psychological aspect, and other aspects remain to be studied.

Against such a background, this blog "Creative Systems Lab" carries out an explanation into the nature of creative process with our new theory named "Creative Systems Theory" (Iba 2009), which is based on the latest system theory, namely autopoietic systems theory. We will explain the theory and also re-consider several cases based on it. Furthermore, we will provide a wide variety of information about creativity.

Okay, it's a time to start. Enjoy!

Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, HarperBusiness.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990; 2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Harper Perennial.
Florida, R. (2002). The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, Basic Books.
Friedman, T.L. (2005; 2007). The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, Further updated and expanded, resease 3.0, Picador.
Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P.& Trow, M. (1994). The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies, Sage Publications.
Gloor, P. (2006). Swarm Creativity: Competitive Advantage Through Collaborative Innovation Networks: Oxford University Press
Iba, T. (2009). An Autopoietic Systems Theory for Creativity, This first conference on Collaborative Innovation Networks (COINs).
John-Steiner, V. (2000). Creative Collaboration, Oxford University Press.
Kelley, T. & Littman, J. (2001). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm, Broadway Business.
Malone, T.W. (2004). The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life, Harvard Business School Press.
Maslow, A.H. (1954; 1987). Motivation and Personality, 3rd edition, HarperCollins Publishers.
Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995; 2008). The Knowledge-Creating Company, Harvard Business School Press.
Parsons, T. (1951). The Social System: Free Press.
Pink, D.H. (2006). A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, Update edition, Riverhead Trade.
Resnick, M. (2002). Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age, in The Global Information Technology Report: Readiness for the Networked World, G. Kirkman (ed.), Oxford University Press.
Sawyer, R.K. (2003). Group Creativity: Music, Theater, Collaboration, Lawrence Erlbaum.
Sawyer, R.K. (2007). Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration, Basic Books.
Schrage, M. (1990). Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration, Random House.
Schrage, M. (1995). No More Teams!: Mastering the Dynamics of Creative Collaboration, Currency Doubleday.
Tapscott, D. & Williams, A. D. (2008), Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Expanded edition, Portfolio.
Torvalds, L. & Diamond, D. (2002). Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary, Harper Paperbacks.
Zhou, J. & Shalley, C. (eds) (2007). Handbook of Organizational Creativity (Hardcover), Psychology Press.

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