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A comparison of disciplines is helpful for teaching creativity to identify similarities and differences in the creative process. A challenge for all disciplines is to create a balance between teaching higher-level abilities, such as creativity, and the lower-level technical skills required by the discipline. But there are also differences among disciplines. Scientific training emphasizes avoiding mistakes so it is more risk-aversive than training in the arts in which taking risks is often encouraged. Research on science and mathematics learning includes evaluating the effects of exposing preservice elementary teachers to multiple representations, measuring scientific creativity in elementary school students, identifying competencies for scientific reasoning in junior high school, and designing instruction on complex systems at all levels in the curriculum. TRIZ, an acronym for the Russian phrase ‘theory of inventive problem solving’, has influenced the design and evaluation of curricula for engineering students.
An influential measure of innovation developed by the Drucker Institute provides an annual ranking of companies based on the principle that innovation creates resources for building new and greater wealth. Predictors that underlie the creation of wealth include research and development spending, hiring in cutting-edge fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence, the number and value of patents, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. Innovation requires overcoming various constraints such as insufficient funding and a lack of time to complete goals. Leaders can become amplifiers by engaging followers, possessing the kind of knowledge that fits corporate needs, and avoiding cognitive entrenchment – knowledge stability that causes experts to be inflexible in their thinking. The dynamic problem-solving model synthesizes a variety of theoretical constructs such as the types of constraints on problem solving, the distinction between a problem-first and an idea-first approach to invention, and the zigzag pathway to creativity.
Chapter 1 begins with the distinction between reasoning from associations and reasoning from rules – a distinction that will resurface in subsequent chapters on creativity and innovation. The associative system is reproductive, automatic, and emphasizes similarity. The rule-based system is productive, deliberative, and emphasizes verification. Daniel Kahneman’s (2011) best-selling book Thinking Fast and Slow introduced readers to how associative and rule-based reasoning influence the speed of responses. The third section on biases in reasoning describes Kahneman’s classic research with Amos Tversky on how the use of heuristics such as availability and representativeness influence frequency estimates. The final section discusses monitoring reasoning in which people use knowledge to improve their thinking skills. Monitoring reasoning is a metacognitive skill that controls the selection, evaluation, revision, and abandonment of cognitive tasks, goals, and strategies.
Successful design depends on overcoming cognitive obstacles such as failures of attention, confirmation bias, fixation, and sunk-cost traps. A countermeasure is to keep multiple ideas alive by developing several prototypes rather than focusing on a single idea. A Design Heuristics tool consisting of cards helps by describing a strategy on one side of a card and an example of applying the strategy on the other side. Sketching offers opportunities for new interpretations and unexpected discoveries as illustrated by successive designs of the Sydney Opera House by Jorn Utzon. The Industrial Design Engineering program at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and the New School’s Parson School of Design in New York City offer various approaches to design education. Although traditional design education should not be discarded, it requires a broader approach that includes material on cognitive science, anthropology and culture, political science, business, and ethics.
We rely on other people’s ideas because they often know more than we do about many aspects of the world. A negative consequence of shared beliefs occurs when people focus too much on information that originates from people who hold the same opinions. A group is particularly vulnerable to groupthink when its members have similar backgrounds, the group is insulated from outside opinions, and there are no clear rules for decision making. Shared beliefs can nonetheless contribute to group cohesion, coordination of ideas, and shared mental models. The flipside of shared beliefs are unshared beliefs that can cause conflicts. Advice for resolving conflicts includes engaging in persuasive listening, acknowledging common ground, and discussing reasons for a lack of progress. Considering alternative perspectives also broadens views. High levels of task discourse enable team members to resolve ambiguities, refine their ideas, and discuss the potential innovation of those ideas. Training should therefore emphasize a diversity of perspectives, the open exchanges of ideas, the reduction of biases, and an increased motivation for accuracy.
Whereas business innovation is related to commercialization, market demands, and profitability, social innovation addresses fulfilling social needs and meeting public demands. Social innovation depends more on government support and satisfying interest groups than on investors. Social problems are ‘wicked problems’ because they are tremendously complex, have multiple causes, and are interconnected to other problems. Collaborations are therefore needed for solving the world’s biggest challenges such as global warming; supplies of energy, water, and food; aging societies; public health; pandemics; and security. Achieving social innovations requires the combined contributions of the public sector, businesses, and citizens. It depends on adaptive intelligence in which people have novel and compelling ideas (creative intelligence), can ensure that these ideas are logically sound and coherent (analytical intelligence), can put these ideas into practice (practical intelligence), and can apply them for the common good (wisdom). Another source of intelligence is artificial intelligence that should be directed toward grand challenges that span health, wealth, and wisdom.
Newell & Simon’s 1972 book Human Problem Solving continues to influence theories of problem solving. Their theory provides a general framework for specifying how the structure of the problem, strategies, and different sources of knowledge influence progress from the initial state to the goal state. In contrast, discovering solutions for problems studied by Gestalt psychologists typically require a perceptual reorganization to identify the correct relations among the components of the problem. A rapid shift to a correct organization is referred to as ‘insight’. Solving mathematics and scientific problems requires utilizing information learned in the classroom. This information is organized into clusters of knowledge that are typically called ‘schema’. Design problems are usually ill-structured in which the initial, goal, and intermediate states are incompletely specified. There are no right or wrong answers, only better and worse ones. The size and complexity of the problems require decomposition into smaller problems or modules.
Innovation depends not only on group decisions but on collaborative problem solving that implements those decisions. Collaborative problem solving requires both cognitive skills and social skills that include identifying the knowledge of other team members, establishing shared understanding, coordinating behavior, and pursuing common goals. The 2015 international test of educational progress (PISA) found that only 8% of the evaluated students excelled at these skills. Teams functioning effectively require members to have access to relevant information and then communicate, elaborate, and integrate that information to discover and defend the best solution. As teams progress through the idea generation and implementation phases, leaders must be flexible in managing this transition. Leaders differ in their style of management and different conditions require charismatic, ideological, or pragmatic leadership. Attributes of creative leadership include intelligence, creativity, and the wisdom to use these attributes for the greater good.
Designers in the real world must adhere to cost and schedules, pay attention to the competition, and work in multidisciplinary teams. Their products are typically the result of incremental, rather than radical, innovation. A questionnaire on how design thinking influences organizational outcomes revealed that four beneficial practices were to form diverse teams, generate diverse ideas, emphasize active listening, and execute real-world experiments. Curiosity, interest, and a drive for sense-making drive motivation, which can be measured by the Motivation to Innovate Inventory. Innovation requires risks and thus a balance between taking and reducing risks. Both traditional and foresight forecasting reduce risks, although the foresight perspective is more uniquely suited to the current complexity of world events. Technical and scientific progress contributes to success, but the process of innovation must be analyzed within a complete system that depends not only on the product but on the market environment, production facilities, knowledge, and social support within the organization.
One method for teaching creativity is to encourage students to adopt broader perspectives. Taking different perspectives provides access to a wide range of knowledge, including social categories, stereotypes, interactions, roles, and events. Prospective thinking has also proven effective by asking students to judge how probable it would be for various future events to happen to them. Examples of creative methods (cartoon captions, gestures, incongruent contexts, novel uses of parts) and types of thinking (prospective, perspective) can serve as guidelines for instructional interventions when developing curricula for improving creativity. For example, an undergraduate creative thinking course at a large Midwestern university focused on strategies to help students develop different perspectives, identify unique opportunities, generate multiple ideas to solve problems, and evaluate those ideas. One of the themes that emerged from six international studies was the role of the teacher in managing discomfort from the uncertainty of open-ended tasks.
The most important cognitive taxonomy in education is Bloom’s taxonomy. The revised taxonomy has two dimensions. The knowledge dimension consists of factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive knowledge. The cognitive-process dimension consists of remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. Other taxonomies expand on these cognitive skills to include social and emotional skills such as social engagement, cooperation, and emotional resilience. Still others add ethical, civic, and cultural dimensions. Developing talent in areas such as mathematics, music, and the visual arts requires general cognitive abilities, mental flexibility, and creativity. Motivation and conscientiousness are also needed to support learning and engagement. Predictors of performances in a sample of more than 6,000 athletes revealed that participation in multiple sports is better for superior performances at the adult level. World-class athletes typically participated in multiple sports, began playing their major sport later, and initially reached performance milestones at a slower rate than their competitors.