Friday, January 9, 2015

Creative breakthrough emergence: A conversational accomplishment

Romi Boucher, School of Human and Organizational Development

Many people, organizations, institutions, and governments want and need to generate creative breakthroughs and foster creativity, but are not aware of what conversational conditions make their occurrence more likely. The creative collaborative process is dependent upon communication. There have been few studies that have analyzed in situ group creativity with a robust communication theory capable of showing what actual kinds of conversations create new and useful meaning. The purpose of this research was to identify conversational conditions that facilitate creative breakthroughs in collaborative workgroups.

A case study is presented of a 4-month creative collaboration between members of a design consultancy and a senior university design class tasked with designing 21st century communication products for a well-known greeting-card company client. The research design utilized a social constructionist communication theory, the coordinated management of meaning, (CMM). Creative breakthrough moments were identified in three different interactions from questionnaires and videotaped data. Reflective interviews of all the participants also enabled insight into the creative breakthrough moments and the narrative process that developed new meaning. The videotaped conversational patterns that produced those creative breakthrough moments were then recursively examined and analyzed with conversational analysis, CMM research methodology, and figurative language. Six specific conversational conditions were discerned as present in creative breakthrough emergence.

A reflexive pattern of critique, relationship, responsibility, idea generation, and reframing authorship enabled participants to co-evolve design narratives that made new meaning. Creative breakthroughs and new creative meaning emerged from an improvisational structure of six specific conversational conditions. By participating within this improvisational structure, group members utilized critique as a creative springboard for innovation and took fresh perspectives. These findings are counter to the dominant themes in design and sociocultural literature that nonjudgmental conditions, brainstorming, and individuals building on input are the main pathways for creativity.

Key Words: Creative breakthrough, conversational conditions, facilitate, in vivo collaborative workgroups, relational responsibility moves, new meaning-making, improvisational language structure, figurative language, CMM, social constructionist communication theory, creative and generous listening, creative collaboration

No comments:

Post a Comment