Integrating Technology with the Creative Design Process

Integrating Technology with the Creative Design Process

Joshua Fairchild (The Pennsylvania State University, USA), Scott Cassidy (The Pennsylvania State University, USA), Liliya Cushenbery (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Samuel T. Hunter (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-519-3.ch002
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Abstract

In our fast-paced world, it is necessary for organizations to continually innovate in order to stay competitive. At the same time, technology is continually advancing, and tools to facilitate work are frequently changing. This forces organizations to stay abreast of current technologies, and also puts pressure on employees to utilize the technologies available to them in order to devise innovative solutions that further the organization’s goals. To date, there has been little research on how such technologies may best be used to facilitate such creative performance. The present chapter addresses this gap by integrating a model of the creative process from the psychology literature with technology literature from engineering and information technology. This chapter examines how specific technologies may influence performance at each stage of the creative process, and provides specific recommendations for how technology may be used to facilitate the development of creative solutions.
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The Emergence Of Process Models In The Study Of Creativity

In order to understand creative performance at work, as well as how it may be influenced by technology, is crucial to consider that creativity is not a set outcome, but rather a multistage process, composed of interlinked steps, with different social and cognitive processes operating at each stage. In order to understand how technology may influence creativity, it will be necessary to examine each step individually, considering what psychological processes are active, what specific technologies may be effective, and how they may best be implemented.

For much of its early study, creativity was thought to occur in a “black box,” with the steps leading up to production of a creative product being thought of as unobservable (Ward, Smith, & Finke, 2009). As such, examinations of creativity focused primarily on initial inputs and situational factors that might influence creativity, and finished products, without consideration of how such inputs lead to creative outcomes. Such intervening steps were largely thought to be unobservable.

An early attempt to examine creativity as more of a process than simply an input-outcome relationship was a basic model by Dewey (1910). This model proposed a simple stage-based conceptualization of problem solving that has frequently been identified as a particularly early model of the creative process. The model consisted of perceiving a particular difficulty, defining a specific problem to address, identifying potential solutions to the problem, building on proposed solutions, and then testing them (Dewey, 1910; Lubart, 2001). However, while this model has been applied to examine creative problem solving, it does not really address how creative solutions develop.

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