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Faculty of Psychology. Creativity: How Innovative Ideas and Products Emerge. Christiane Spiel & Hans Westmeyer University of Vienna & Free University of Berlin New Frontiers in Evaluation, Vienna April 2006. Introduction. Since 1950 intensive psychological research on creativity caused by:

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creativity how innovative ideas and products emerge

Faculty of Psychology

Creativity: How Innovative Ideas and Products Emerge

Christiane Spiel & Hans Westmeyer

University of Vienna & Free University of Berlin

New Frontiers in Evaluation, Vienna April 2006

introduction
Introduction

Since 1950 intensive psychological research on creativity caused by:

1. J.P. Guilford´s 1950 APA presidental address

He contrasted the critical role of creativity in the fulfillment of human potential with the neglect it had suffered as a topic of psychological research (intelligence: convergent thinking – creativity: divergent thinking).

2. The „Sputnik-shock“

1957 the Sovjets successfully launched the first satellite to orbit Earth.

introduction3
Introduction

Journal articles with creativity in the title or abstract indexed by PsychINFO:

1950: 16 1959: 56 1999: 328

Phase: Euphoria – creativity as a set of personality traits (empirical but not theoretical)

→ disillusionment

2. Phase: Creativity in a societal context (more theoretical, less empirical)

→ no agreement about how creativity can be identified and promoted

topics
Topics

Creativity

as a characteristic of the individual

as an individual and social phenomenon

from an interactionistic / systemic perspective

Consequences

for research on creativity

for creativity in our knowledge based society

theories on personality
Theories on personality

Personality: theoretical construct

Definition: from philosophic to psychometric

Eysenck (1953): more or less definite and everlasting organisation of character, temperament, intellect and physis of a person

theories on personality7
Theories on personality

Guilford (1964): entire structure of traits

Trait = continuous, normally distributed variable

it‘s extent can be measured for each individual

measurement theory
Measurement Theory

Connecting the theoretical with the empirical level (Operationalization)

Assignment of numerals to objects or events according to rules

(so that the relations between the numbers reflect the relations between the objects with respect to the property concerned)

measurement of creativity
Measurement of creativity

Personality:

Biographic inventories

Assessment of personality characteristics

Assessment of motivation and attitudes

measurement of creativity10

Biographic inventories

Assessment of personality characteristics

Assessment of motivation and attitudes

E.g. family background, intellectual and cultural orientation, range of interests

Measurement of creativity

Personality:

measurement of creativity11
Measurement of creativity

Personality:

Biographic inventories

Assessment of personality characteristics

Assessment of motivation and attitudes

E.g. fluency, flexibility, independence, imagination, ambiguity tolerance

measurement of creativity12

E.g. goal-orientation, preference for complexity, intention to ask many (unusual) questions

Measurement of creativity

Personality:

Biographic inventories

Assessment of personality characteristics

Assessment of motivation and attitudes

measurement of creativity13
Measurement of creativity

Performances:

Psychometric tests

for the assessment of

  • Divergent thinking

(Guilford)

  • Ability to solve problems
measurement of creativity14

Psychometric tests

for the assessment of

  • Divergent thinking

(Guilford)

  • Ability to solve Problems

E.g. rapid production of ideas, quitting habitual patterns of thinking, unusual combination of ideas

Measurement of creativity

Performances:

measurement of creativity15

E.g. identification of problems, decoding of information, selection

Measurement of creativity

Performances:

Psychometric tests

for the assessment of

divergent thinking

Ability to solve problems

evaluation the conception of creativity as a characteristic of individuals
Strength

Assessment of divergent thinking and related personality characteristics

Evaluation: The conception of creativity as a characteristic of individuals
evaluation the conception of creativity as a characteristic of individuals17
Evaluation: The conception of creativity as a characteristic of individuals

Weaknesses

  • Criterion of novelty contradicts the requirement of repeatability of measurement.
  • Possibility to provoke creative performances in test situations is argueable.
  • No prognosis from test values on the creation of creative/ innovative products/ performances is possible. (Interpretation of test values? Model of measurement?)
model of psychoeconomics rubenson runco 1992
Model of Psychoeconomics (Rubenson & Runco, 1992)

Utilitarian approach: Theoretical framework, how people apply limited resources to competitive activities

„There‘s no such thing as a free lunch.“

model of psychoeconomics rubenson runco 199220
Model of Psychoeconomics (Rubenson & Runco, 1992)

Potential for creative acts:

Genetic and environmental factors

Active investment (costs!)

Higher investment in

Extensive perspective of future

Ensured employment

Supply and demand on markets

model of psychoeconomics rubenson runco 199221

Marginal Costs, Marginal Benefits

Marginal Cost

Marginal Benefit

Q*

Quantity of Investment

Figure. Individual investments in creative potential

(Q* : Equilibrium Rate of Investment)

Model of Psychoeconomics (Rubenson & Runco, 1992)
model of psychoeconomics rubenson runco 199222

Marginal Costs, Marginal Benefits

Supply

P*

Demand

Q*

Quantity of Creative Activity

Figure. The market for creative activity

(Q*, P* : Market Equilibrium)

Model of Psychoeconomics (Rubenson & Runco, 1992)
investment theory sternberg lubart 1991
Investment Theory (Sternberg & Lubart, 1991)

People invest their creative potential into creative projects,

when they perceive that the resulting product has a good chance of being recognized or may generate a „profit“.

investment theory sternberg lubart 199124

Cognitive Resources

Affective-Conative Resources

Environ-mental Resources

Intelli-gence

Know-ledge

Intellectual Style

Personality

Environ-ment

Moti-

vation

Confluence of Interacting Resources

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

Domain-Relevant Creative Abilities

C1

C2

C3

C4

Cn

Portfolio of Creative Projects

P1a

P3a

P4a

P4b

Evaluations of Creative Products

E1ai

E1aii

E4bi

E4bii

E4biii

Investment Theory (Sternberg & Lubart, 1991)
slide25

Evaluation: Psychoeconomic and investment perspectives on creativity

Strength

  • Extension of creative perspectives on social dimensions (Utilitarianism exists by all means)
slide26

Evaluation: Psychoeconomic and investment perspectives on creativity

Weaknesses

  • Profit of active investment for creative products is not evident (high creativity also exists without that investment).
  • „Swansong-phenomenon“ (creative performances shortly before death) can not be explained (consumption of gains not possible).
  • No specifications about selection of evaluators.
creativity as interaction between person product field and domain28
Creativity as interaction between person (product), field and domain

The starting point for determining creativity lies not in the person but rather in the product itself.

Whether a product is creative or not is determined by its evaluation.

systems perspective csikszentmihalyi 1997 1999

Culture

Domain

Transmits Information

Selects Novelty

Stimulates Novelty

Individual

Field

Produces Novelty

Personal Background

Society

Systems perspective (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997, 1999)
social constructionism gergen 1985
Social constructionism (Gergen, 1985)

The terms by which we understand our world and our self are neither required nor demanded by "what there is".

Concepts are social artefacts. The process of understanding results from an active, cooperative endeavor of people interacting with each other.

Forms of negotiated understanding are of crucial importance to our social life.

creativity as a social construction westmeyer 1998 1999 2001
Creativity as a social construction(Westmeyer, 1998, 1999, 2001)

EXP1: Product x of person p is considered to be creative at a certain point in time t if and only if there are D, F and R with

  • D as a domain,
  • F as the field belonging to domain D and
  • R as a substantial subset of F;
  • for all r out of R it holds true that product x of person p has been evaluated by the rating person r at time t as creative with respect to domain D.
creativity as a social construction westmeyer 1998 1999 200132
Creativity as a social construction (Westmeyer, 1998, 1999, 2001)

EXP2: The person p is considered to be creative at a certain point in time t if and only if there is (at least) one product x of person p at time t that is considered to be creative.

EXP3: The process pr of a person p is considered to be creative at a certain point in time t, if the process pr of person p has generated a product x that is considered to be creative at time t.

evaluation systemic and social constructionist perspectives on creativity
Strength

Convincing and stringent argumentation

Evaluation: Systemic and social- constructionist perspectives on creativity
evaluation systemic and social constructionist perspectives on creativity34
Evaluation: Systemic and social- constructionist perspectives on creativity

Weaknesses

  • Inhomogeneity of field and domain
  • Specification of relations between „components“ is missing
  • Little is known about the social evaluative processes
  • Empirical studies are missing
slide36
The conception of creativity as a personality characteristic and respective methods of measurement should be given up.

Creativity is not a personality characteristic, but has to be defined with regard to a certain domain.

What psychology defines and investigates are characteristics and competencies, which are predictors of creative performances.

Consequences for research on creativity

slide37
Empirical implementation of systemic and relational approaches (interdisciplinary!!)

Psychology accompanies and analyses the process of evaluation.

Consequences for research on creativity

slide38
Central relevance of:

Field (controlled access to domain, affects the system of reception in the society, assigns the label „creative“)

Opinion leaders (Journalists, politicians, etc.)

Marketing (Resources, relations, etc.)

Mechanisms of production (Resources, familiarity with field and domain, etc.)

Creativity in our knowledge- based society

slide39
Promotion of creativity

Creativity in our knowledge- based society

Fostering individuals‘ competencies to assert their products in interaction with the respective field and domain (by intervention of effective rules and standards)

Transparency of the criteria to become affilated in the field

slide40
Promotion of creativity

Creativity in our knowledge- based society

To force incrusted systems of reception (in fields of important domains) to avoid onesidedness and orthodoxy

To make rules and criteria of evaluation in the field transparent (standards)