Creativity as a social act

I was going to write something about creativity based on Matt Moore’s article but Jack beat me to it. I know some people are trying to think hard about exactly what is the nature of creativity. Well if “human knowing is fundamentally a social act” (Wenger) , and creativity is a social act (below) , not to mention work rest and play, software and media all being social these days, when do we get to have 2 minutes to ourselves?!? It’s a convincing argument though:

Engineers without Fears: Creative Ecologies (or why my genius is unimportant)

We have tended to view creativity as personal act. The creator sits in their garret (or mansion) & comes up with the goods. As the previous posts on work by Bob Sutton, Teresa Amabile et al indicate, I believe more and more that creativity is a social activity. The relationship between a creator (be they professional or amateur) and their audience is not one way. Comments, references, tags, bookmarks, private emails & words face-to-face can all feed into the outcomes (a post, a video). But we only see the tangible outcome not the intangible exchanges between participants in the creation conversation.

To understand the inputs into and impacts from social media, we have to see these invisible ecologies of creation that form & reform. These ecologies have long pre-dated the internet but now we see them more.

To repeat, co-creation is not an option, it is the default…

As a creative writer and musician, I do need to sit in my garret (yes, I have an upstairs room) and come up with the goods by myself, although it does help to have a sense of audience at some point, and of course plenty of previous social experience feeds into the creative process, but the role of the individual should not be dismissed. There’s a dialectical relationship between the individual and the social so I would say that neither can be accurately described as the default.

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One Response to Creativity as a social act

  1. Linda H says:

    I think you need to draw a distinction between artistic creative acts, often though not always solitary, and the emergence of creative ideas and solutions.

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