THE EVOLVING SYSTEMS APPROACH TO CREATIVITY Introduction The evolving systems approach to the case study method focuses onunderstanding creativity through three guiding ideas: uniqueness, multidirectionaldevelopmental change, and viewing the creative person as an evolving system. Uniqueness of the Creative Person : Creative individuals are unique, making it difficult to reduce psychological descriptions to a fixed set of dimensions. Itchallenges efforts to generalize about all creative people. Multidirectional Developmental Change : Developmental change in creative individuals is not unilinear and predictable but occurs through multicausal andreciprocally interactive relationships. Each case of creativity is unique. The Creative Person as an Evolving System : Creative individuals are viewed as evolving systems, and their development is unpredictable. Predicting the nextcreative work is challenging, emphasizing the uniqueness of each creativejourney. Creativity as a Unique, Temporal, and Challenging Process Duration and Purpose : Creative work involves novelty, value, purpose, and duration. Duration highlights that creative work takes place over an extendedperiod, often spanning months, years, or even decades. Challenges in Creativity : Creative work is challenging because it involves making ideas compatible with human purposes and societal norms. While acreative idea may start as wild, it must eventually connect with a community'sbeliefs for it to be effective. Social Engagement in Creativity : Even those ahead of their time need some community with which to engage and connect. The social dimension plays acrucial role in creativity, even if the creative person isolates themselves in specificaspects of their work. Methodological Approach to Creativity Study Epistemic Considerations : Methodological choices in creativity research are not purely methodological; they involve deeply held convictions about knowledgeand truth.
Two-Part Approach : Rather than seeking to predict and control creativity, this approach involves two parts: detailed analytic and sometimes narrativedescription of each case and efforts to understand each case as a uniquefunctioning system. Not Seeking Origins or a Single Model : The goal is not to find the origins of creativity or a single model of the creative personality. Instead, it aims tounderstand how creative work functions and what individuals do when beingcreative. Creativity Criteria: Novelty, Value, Purpose, and Duration Definition of Creativity : Creativity includes novelty, value, purpose, and duration. Novelty means the creative product is new and valuable according toexternal criteria. Purposeful behavior and the extended duration of creative workare also integral. Inherent Difficulty : Creative work is inherently difficult, as it involves producing something new and valuable while adhering to human purposes and societalnorms. Unpredictability and Contingency : Creativity cannot be entirely predicted. However, with hindsight and foresight, some contingent predictions about creativeoutcomes can be made. Historical Overview of Creativity Research Psychometric and Factor Analytical Approaches : In 1950, Guilford's address to the American Psychological Association marked the rejuvenation of creativityresearch. He focused on component abilities and factor analysis, particularly"divergent thinking." Challenges in Divergent Thinking : Divergent thinking, as a measure of creativity, has faced challenges in explaining highly creative individuals and theirprocesses. Making Use of Divergent Thinking : A critical question is how creative individuals effectively utilize their ability for divergent thinking in their creativeprocesses.
Conclusion The evolving systems approach to creativity highlights the uniqueness of creativeindividuals, the multidirectional and unpredictable nature of their development,and the creative person as an evolving system. This approach challenges traditional psychometric methods and emphasizes theneed to study each creative case as unique and temporally extended, focusing onthe creative process itself.