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Overview and Creativity. MFG 202 History of Creativity in the Arts, Sciences and Technology. What is creativity?. A way of thinking and doing that brings unexpected and original ideas to fruition. Elements of Creativity. Unique (usually thinking) Value (usually doing)

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overview and creativity

Overview and Creativity

MFG 202

History of Creativity in the Arts, Sciences and Technology

what is creativity
What is creativity?
  • A way of thinkingand doing that brings unexpected and original ideas to fruition.
elements of creativity
Elements of Creativity
  • Unique (usually thinking)
  • Value (usually doing)
  • Intent (usually doing)
  • Implementation: Excellence/Continuation (doing)
thinking in new ways
Thinking in new ways
  • Linear and lateral
how the mind works
How the Mind Works
  • Information is placed in zones (files)
  • Logical links are automatically created (index)
  • Information from all the senses can be converted and stored as regular data
value ordinary creativity small c
Value:Ordinary Creativity (small c)
  • Everyone does it
  • Doing something you have never done before
  • Developing a skill (which many others have also mastered)
value extraordinary creativity big c
Value:Extraordinary Creativity (big C)
  • You must impress those who judge your work
  • You must make a contribution to the domain

Perhaps what differentiates highly creative ideas from ordinary ones is some combined sense of beauty, simplicity, and harmony.

– Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach

intent preparation
Intent: Preparation
  • “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

– Louis Pasteur

  • “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

– Benjamin Franklin

  • “It takes a lot of work to get to the point where one can be lucky.”

– Robert Woodward, Nobel laureate in chemistry

  • Serendipity
continuance and implementation excellence
Continuance and Implementation Excellence
  • Skill level (performance creativity)
  • Prodigies not as surprising in skills as in understanding (which usually takes experience)
how the class helps you in thinking and doing more creatively
How the class helps you in thinkinganddoingmore creatively
  • Lectures and readings
    • Linear in details and sequences
    • Lateral in relating one period or person to another
      • Renaissance versus Baroque
      • Bacon versus Descartes
    • Lateral in comparing themes between readings
    • Quizzes test doing ability
how the class helps you in thinking and doing more creatively16
How the class helps you in thinking and doing more creatively
  • Exams
    • Linear in identifications
    • Lateral in take home
    • Linear and lateral in essays (lateral for comparisons and linear for support)
    • Timed nature of exam forces implementation excellence
  • Creative project/paper
    • Linear in execution
    • Lateral in relationship to history and creativity
    • The difference between an A project and a B project is big C
Creativity is like cooking a great meal. The first essentials are the basic ingredients (such as the meat and the potatoes) which must be of the finest quality. This is the depth and for creativity it is the experience and study within the domain. The second important part involves the spices. These lift the taste to new areas. These are like the lateral thoughts and creative thinking skills. They excite the mind to new things. Finally, the chef must have passion for the meal. This is not easily explained but is clearly understood when it is present. It is the presentation, the choices, the verve when everything is put together. In creativity, it is the desire, persistence, and implementation.

– from Goleman, Daniel et al., The Creative Spirit, Plume, 1992, p.29-30.


Creativity in art, science and humor are different aspects of the same things

creativity throughout history
Creativity throughout History
  • Affected by the environment or situation of the times
  • Affected by personal influence
    • Vitality of creativity
"After civilizations have reached a peak of vitality, they tend to lose their cultural steam and decline. An essential element in this cultural breakdown is a loss of flexibility...Whereas growing civilizations display endless variety and versatility, those in the process of disintegration show uniformity and lack of inventiveness. The loss of flexibility in a disintegrating society is accompanied by a general loss of harmony among its elements, which inevitably leads to the outbreak of social discord and disruption.

– The Turning Point, Fritjof Capra

first semester review
River societies



Indus River Valley

Yellow River Valley

First Semester Review
first semester review22
First Semester Review
  • Greek culture became dominant
    • Trade and interaction with other societies
    • Humanism
    • Philosophy
    • Art and science
first semester review23
First Semester Review
  • Romans applied other cultures and learning
    • Greece provided the blueprint
    • Practical application
      • Government
      • Technology
      • Art
    • Thieves or innovators?
first semester review24
First Semester Review
  • Byzantium
    • Continued the Roman Empire but lost direction and, therefore, creativity
first semester review25
First Semester Review
  • Islam
    • Highly creative
    • Religion
    • Art
    • Architecture
    • Science
    • Literature
first semester review26
First Semester Review
  • Middle ages – creativity lost
    • Absence of rule of law
    • Absence of leisure time
    • Absence of learning
    • Corruption in the Catholic church
    • Minor revival in days of Charlemagne
first semester review27
First Semester Review
  • Late Middle ages – creativity revival (slowly)
  • Positives
    • Nations
    • Scholasticism
    • Gothic
    • Dante
    • Chaucer
    • Discovery
  • Negatives
    • Great schism in Catholic church
second semester creative periods
Second Semester–Creative Periods
  • The Renaissance
  • The Reformation
  • The Scientific Awakening
  • The Baroque
  • The Enlightenment
  • The Classical
  • The Romantic
  • The Impressionistic
  • The Modern and Post-modern
second semester societal changes
Second SemesterSocietal changes
  • 1500 to 1648 – Dominated by the issue of what to believe in religion (Redefinition of the First Estate)
  • 1649 to 1789 – Dominated by the issue of the mode of government (Redefinition of the Second Estate)
  • 1790 to present – Dominated by the issue of social and economic equality (Redefinition of the Third Estate)
second semester
Second Semester
  • National Prominence
    • 15th Century—Italy
    • 16th Century—Spain
    • 17th Century—France
    • 18th Century—England
    • 19th Century—Germany
    • 20th Century—America
    • 21st Century—?
"The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

– Toffler, Alvin (author of Future Shock), quoted in Thorpe, Scott, How to Think Like Einstein, Barnes & Noble Books, Inc., 2000, p. 26.

what will you learn
What will you learn?
  • Hopefully – To put it all together!
  • Example: Invention of Kevlar (fiber used to make bullet-proof vests)
"To invent, I draw upon my knowledge, intuition, creativity, experience, common sense, perseverance, flexibility, and hard work. I try to visualize that desired product, its properties, and means of achieving it. I look for unusual developments that can affect the process, the polymer, and its properties. Some inventions result from unexpected events and the ability to recognize these and use them to advantage."

– Stephanie Louise Kwolek (inventor of Kevlar), quoted in Invention and Technology, Winter 2003, p. 62.

enhancing personal creativity as a consequence of this class
Enhancing personal creativity as a consequence of this class
  • Problem:
    • Encouraging personal creativity
    • Giving a grade
“It takes a lot of work to get to the point where one can be lucky.”

Robert Woodward, Nobel laureate in chemistry

Question: What advice would you give to teachers to encourage creativity in young people? "I think you have to inspire young people to believe in themselves and not to fear thinking differently. Also, young people should be exposed to books about creative people and should be able to meet and talk with creative people. And I believe the creative process can be taught to a certain extent."

– Stephanie Louise Kwolek (inventor of Kevlar), quoted in Invention and Technology, Winter 2003, p. 62.

"I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious."

– Einstein, quoted in Thorpe, Scott, How to Think Like Einstein, Barnes & Noble Books, Inc., 2000, p. 115.

"First, the occurrence of an insight indicates a certain degree of mastery of a domain, something comparable to being able to speak a language with spontaneity. Everyone would agree that skillful speaking is controlled by processes that are in some sense unconscious: we don't know how we select the words in a sentence, or exactly how it will end. Every sentence is a surprise and a miracle. Second, insights often represent a moment of consolidation or confirmation, a sort of re-cognition of what one already almost knows. Third, when the insight occurs, it is affectively laden in a way that accentuates the experience... "

Wallace and Gruber, Creative People at Work, 1989, 18.

I [have] alluded briefly to a prime motivation distinction between task-oriented and ego-oriented behavior. Ego-orientation, or extrinsic motivation, refers to an attitude toward work that is motivated by desire for rewards not inherent in the task itself, rewards such as recognition, prestige, prizes, money, privileges, and power. Task-orientation, or intrinsic motivation, refers to an attitude toward work that is motivated by the intrinsic nature or demand-character of the task itself....To these complexities I would add another...There is a third actor in the play of motives, the World. One is not always free to choose the most alluring task, as governed by task- and ego-orientations. Extrinsic motivation must be subdivided into two categories, ego-orientation and world-orientation. The world makes its claim on us. True, not everyone responds in the same way. Task-orientation, ego-orientation, and world-orientation each have their appeals. Every creative person must shape his or her own motivational profile. Historically, the task-ego distinction has been thought adequate for many purposes. Now our planetary situation is more desperate and the world makes more urgent claims on creative people everywhere.

– Howard Gruber from Creative People at Work

“There are two basic tools of synthetic [creative] activities: the science of chemistry with its laws and principles, and the body of experimental, manipulative techniques. Beyond that, chemical synthesis is entirely a creative activity, in which art, design, imagination, and inspiration play a predominant role.”

– Robert Woodward from Art and Science in the Synthesis of Organic Compounds

improving your creativity
Liberal education



General inquisitiveness

Be persistent

Think “outside” the lines

Be confident

Be perceptive

Move away from normal environment

Use creativity tools

Listen to this Spirit and intuition

Improving your Creativity
"The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat."

– Einstein, Albert, quoted in Thorpe, Scott, How to Think Like Einstein, Barnes & Noble Books, Inc., 2000, p. 61.

"Could the answers you've been seeking be on the other side of your head? Your brain is really two brains. You use one of them more, but the other brain is just as clever in a different way. It too has been diligently gathering information on your problem, and may have a solution for you. However, because of your dominant brain, the other brain has had trouble making its opinions known. Give your other brain an avenue to express its ideas. To divine a solution from your other brain, switch hands and techniques... If you use words to examine problems, switch to pictures. Use words if you think visually... If you have been trying to solve your problem objectively, you might have a completely different perspective if you become emotional about it instead."

– Thorpe, Scott, How to Think Like Einstein, Barnes & Noble Books, Inc., 2000, p. 104-105.

"My invention [of Kevlar] involved both intuition and the scientific process. It also involved some good luck and perseverance, when conditions looked most hopeless. An eye trained to observe small differences in progress and product helped too. And creativity made a difference."

– Stephanie Louise Kwolek (inventor of Kevlar), quoted in Invention and Technology, Winter 2003, p. 62.

During the painful process of disintegration the society's creativity – its ability to respond to challenges – is not completely lost...Creative minorities will appear on the scene and carry on the process of challenge-and-response. The dominant social institutions will refuse to hand over their leading roles to these new cultural forces, but they will inevitably go on to decline and disintegrate, and the creative minorities may be able to transform some of the old elements into a new configuration. The process of cultural evolution will then continue, but in new circumstances and with new protagonists.

– The Turning Point, Fritjof Capra

"Part of the ethos of this class [the Spanish grandees] was to despise work and practicality; one could choose only between two careers: soldier or priest, the red and the black or their variants – explorer or civil servant, the one being a kind of soldier, the other a kind of 'cleric', that is, able to read and write. This mighty aloofness from worldly goals offers the spectacle, unique in the west, of a society at least partly 'anti-materialistic.' Again like old Russia ('Muscovy' in the 16C), it lacked a bustling middle class and was thus bound to resist new ideas, since these often travel as by-products of trade and are put forward as advantageous. Denouncers of 'bourgeois values' should meditate on Spain and its long isolation from mainstream European developments. Not until the turn of the 19C, when the Spanish-American War put an end to the pride of empire, did Spain begin to prosper again and seek modernity."

– Barzun, Jacques, From Dawn to Decadence, Perennial, 2000, p106.

creativity and doing
Creativity and doing

Creativity and doing can be expressed as a mathematical expression (a function, f):

Creativity = f (attitude x knowledge x imagination x evaluation)

– Noller, Ruth (quoted in Exploring the Nature of Creativity, Jon Michael Fox and Ronni Lea Fox, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 2000, p.13.