Two Creative Minds Can Be Better Than One

Research has shown that, as a rule, groups tend to be less creative than individuals working alone. But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to a new article published in Administrative Science Quarterly. Authors Sarah Harvey and Chia-Yu Kou of University College London argue that the secret to enhancing group creativity lies not in generating ideas, but in evaluation — a process which gets group members “more deeply engaged with one another’s ideas”:

UntitledThe collective nature of creativity. Taken together, our insights reveal a fundamentally new way to understand the collective nature of creativity. Whereas previous research has considered the group as a context for individual creativity that results in collective output when individual contributions are aggregated (Sacramento, Dawson, and West, 2008), we argue that evaluation is the point at which the process becomes collective (Collins, 2005). Evaluation is therefore central to collective engagement in the creative process. Evaluating ideas early and throughout the process is not only an alternative path to creativity, but a different kind of collective process through which individual ideas are transformed into collective products.

asq150We began this research with the question of how groups overcome the challenges of transforming members’ inputs into collective creative products. Our surprising answer is that evaluation can facilitate rather than hinder this process. Creative groups like the jazz ensembles, music producers, and product designers studied by organizational scholars may be creative not because their members stimulate divergent new ideas, but because they excel at allowing evaluation to guide the creative process.

The paper, “Collective Engagement in Creative Tasks: The Role of Evaluation in the Creative Process in Groups,” was published in the Administrative Science Quarterly September 2013 issue.

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This entry was posted in Creativity and Innovation, Groups and tagged , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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