Creativity and Design Debate

“The Creators’ Patterns” by Howard Gardner

Argument for:

+  “the study of creativity is inherently interdisciplinary”  – Gardner makes a good point here because not only does the act and product of creativity cross many fields, from science to art, but in order to study it one must be able to analyze many different aspects of creativity including interaction with the world around you, psychology, etc. Creativity involves many aspects of the person – how they think, their environment, the tools available to them, education, opportunity, etc. To study creativity from a narrow scope would greatly inhibit significant reductions.

+  “fruitful asynchrony” – this is an interesting concept in that there are many examples of individuals who were knowledgeable in their fields or innovative products that have been developed but were first seen as outsiders and not consider prodigies in their fields. An example might be the computer mouse which was first introduced by Xerox and then re-introduced with the Apple Macintosh in 1984 – first responses suggested that the mouse was a useless device.

“Environments for Creativity – A Lab for Making Things” by Ellen Yi-Luen Do and Mark D Gross

Argument Against:

+  Is it truly possible to cultivate creativity? It seems possible that yes, in the moment or during an arranged workshop creativity can be spurred and cultivated. But apart from these environs can generally less creative people be induced to become more creative. Will they actually take lessons learned and apply them without the guidance of a teacher, instructor, etc. And while it is possible for any person to be creative, can we really claim that all people are creative? Isn’t creativity a trait that should be valued apart from others. It seems possible to say that if all people are creative we are negating the skills and abilities of those in creative fields – can anyone be a graphic designer? And architect? And artist? Maybe for a moment but are they actually good at it? Why is creativity different from other traits such as intelligence, or charisma? Can we say that all people possess these as well?

+ “Like designers in other disciplines, architects are taught to keep options open, explore parallel alternatives, celebrate ambiguity. Engineers tend be more goal-oriented and stay within their field of expertise and treat ambiguity as something to be eliminated.” – I think this statement is making an assumption about all design fields. In industrial design, depending on the school, students are taught to be the opposite of ambiguous, to create designs that are always concise and that each element must have a purpose or a reason for existing. Architects are dealing with space, which has one general purpose – to be inhabited. Beyond that there is room for ambiguity. Industrial designers are creating objects for a myriad of uses and because of this diversity the intent of the object must be clear, or at least that is what we are taught. Ambiguity in the industrial design world means you have failed.

“Design Protocol Data and Novel Design Decisions” by Omer Atkin and Chengtah Lin


+ Is it really necessary and important to know the precise moments when novel design decisions are being made? If so, what can we do with that information?

+ Do you agree that verbalization is just an echoing of what is happening on paper or in other parts of the design process?

+ Did you find it surprising that such a large amount of time is spent deciphering and understanding the problem? Do you feel this is appropriate or extraneous? Why or why not?

Side Note: What is interesting about this assignment for me was that I had to argue for an article that I had many problems with, and against  one that my own thoughts on creativity align with more. It’s often hard to pull yourself out of your opinionated box to try and form an alternative perspective. But in design this is essential in order to understand and solves problems.


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