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From 97 Ideas About Creativity

Posted in Nottingham Blog

The first post of the blog for Pecha Kucha Nottingham! There will be more regular stuff from now on… on Pecha Kucha Nottingham developments, news, nice pictures and creative stuff in general


Idea No. 2. Combining
The combinatorial view, stemming largely from various branches of psychology, suggests that creativity is ‘new combinations of old ideas’. For behaviourist psychology, we think and act according to reinforcements which establish common responses to certain stimuli. Creativity is the behaviour that is deemed to be more unusual or unexpected combinations of stimuli and responses.

A child is born a member of the human species, with a genetic endowment showing many idiosyncratic features, and he begins at once to acquire a repertoire of behaviour under the contingencies of reinforcement to which he is exposed as an individual… What a given group or people calls good is a fact: it is what members of the group find reinforcing as the result of their genetic endowment and the natural and social contingencies to which they have been exposed.
(B. F. Skinner)

But the combinatorial view of creativity also includes cognitive psychology which stresses our abilities to actively shape and change our minds. We are not simply passive receptors of external stimuli, nor are we fixed into making reinforced responses. Rather, we actively choose the way we process information though our perceptions, memories and expectations, and it is this which is the fundamental basis for making new combinations of old ideas.

… as far as cognitive theorists are concerned, creativity represents… differing ways of getting and handling information, and different ways of combining data in seeking effective solutions… Hence, the cognitive approach to creativity asks about the extent to which highly creative people are prepared to take risks in their thinking, about their willingness to take in large quantities of information the environment has to offer… (and) their capacity for quickly changing their point of view.
(A. J. Cropley)

Point – Try to spot your usual responses to stimuli, reflect upon their ‘expectedness’ and seek new combinations? But remember, you are the rider of your own creative bike. Talking to lots of other people is a good place to find new combinations.

See Idea No. 73 – Propinquity

You can buy your very own copy of 97 Ideas About Creativity from Rough Trade Records, or buy a copy from lulu.co.uk