Sunday, April 5, 2015

How to Harness Collective Creativity

The exercise of blending people's problem-solving abilities to produce the desired outcome is a worthwhile thing to do.

There are still full of serendipity in creativity: How many forms of creativity are there? How are they different? How are they similar? Isn't what makes them similar or different, also what makes them creativity? Individual creativity is absolutely critical, but how to harness the collective creativity?

Creativity can manifest in a collective environment:
While the individual contributions provide the 'building block" of creativity, it is the collective consensus on what to do with them that is exciting. The purpose of pursuing collective creativity is based on:

- the intent of the event was to develop a tangible result that did not currently exist.

-the nature of the result was deliberately expressive and improvised.

-the interactions between participants were not premeditated or contrived.

- the resulting 'product' was more than any one individual was capable of achieving.

-the result was not something that any one participant could have conceived independently.

The exercise of blending people's problem-solving abilities to produce the desired outcome is a worthwhile thing to do. It is not just a mere cumulation of the creative inputs of those involved. It is also not only a synchronizing of their individual inputs to make something that no one individual would achieve. It is more than that. It has its own dynamic that is in a state of constant flux. It (on occasions) builds up a momentum that draws creative contributions from the participants that they did not previously conceive or understood they were capable of. Whether creativity can be collective or not is clear and flows from what seems like an expansive, generous, creative mind, and illustrates the 'Third Alternative' synergistic result Steven Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) refers to when the final result is bigger than the intentions of the individuals involved. It is indeed creative to push, invite, allow, and accept ideas from a group to reach a final result not originally predicted because it requires the openness to create a new idea and allow it to form fully.

The collective creativity depends on varying factors: Being creative is the kind to "think outside the box" for ideas and solutions. But the creative spark does not always originate solely in the individual. In that manner, you could say there is more collective creativity happening everywhere than many stops to realize because it is really hard for some people to see outside of their own box. Also, the group of people does not always make creativity blossom. You can get a diverse group of people together in one room and still not have "creativity" if the participating individuals are not particularly creative. What matters is how creative are the individuals. Hence, the collective creativity depends on varying factors, because the team perhaps have different intents (destructive vs. constructive), different processes (enforcement vs collaboration), different participants (compliant vs. creative), different outcomes (disharmony vs harmony) and different philosophies (selfishness vs selflessness).

Creativity has many forms and manifestations. Take the standpoint that creativity has its starting point within an individual. Once we take into consideration the influences around this person (environment, culture, principles, etc.), their creativity will manifest in different forms. From its starting within an individual to the point where it becomes external to them (visually, aurally, tactile, etc.), it cannot be identical from one person to another. By manifesting creativity from an individual endeavor to a team activity and a collective effort, the horizon of creativity is expanded, it converges with the concept of innovation that is the management discipline to transform innate ideas and achieve its business value.

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