Abstract

We love creativity. Everybody loves creativity and everybody wants a “Culture of Creativity.” However, there is strong evidence that we do not even like creativity, especially under stressful conditions. Creativity thrives in conditions of uncertainty, vagueness of purpose and psychological discomfiture — conditions that can be unbearable when added to the current anxieties of a shrinking academic landscape, the pandemic, let alone wicked problems like the climate crisis. We are terrified in these traumatic circumstances, so we shrink away from creativity toward the safety of what is known, understood and proven. As a result, Proxy Creativity emerges — one that is tidy, easily processed and consumed. “Creative” educational tools like Design Sprints, Pithy-Themed Courses, Compelling Branding Platforms and Curated Campuses emerge because they feel safer. These tools “sell” Proxy Creativity to potential students, current students, faculty, as well as to those outside of art and design institutions. This is a raw deal. Creativity in its most primal, unwieldy and disruptive form is a valuable tool used in interdisciplinary teams that are addressing wicked problems. Proxy Creativity may be more comfortable right now, but it is a poor substitute. Are we biased against creativity?

Keywords

Creativity, Cognitive Load, Wicked Problems, Bias

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

COinS
 
Jul 22nd, 9:00 AM

I Hate Creativity

We love creativity. Everybody loves creativity and everybody wants a “Culture of Creativity.” However, there is strong evidence that we do not even like creativity, especially under stressful conditions. Creativity thrives in conditions of uncertainty, vagueness of purpose and psychological discomfiture — conditions that can be unbearable when added to the current anxieties of a shrinking academic landscape, the pandemic, let alone wicked problems like the climate crisis. We are terrified in these traumatic circumstances, so we shrink away from creativity toward the safety of what is known, understood and proven. As a result, Proxy Creativity emerges — one that is tidy, easily processed and consumed. “Creative” educational tools like Design Sprints, Pithy-Themed Courses, Compelling Branding Platforms and Curated Campuses emerge because they feel safer. These tools “sell” Proxy Creativity to potential students, current students, faculty, as well as to those outside of art and design institutions. This is a raw deal. Creativity in its most primal, unwieldy and disruptive form is a valuable tool used in interdisciplinary teams that are addressing wicked problems. Proxy Creativity may be more comfortable right now, but it is a poor substitute. Are we biased against creativity?

 

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