Less elusive, more explicit: the challenge of `seeing' creativity in action



Publication Details

McWilliam, E., Dawson, S. & Tan, J. P-L. (2011). Less elusive, more explicit: the challenge of `seeing' creativity in action. In P. Thompson & J. Sefton-Jones (Eds.), Researching creative learning : methods and issues (pp. 113-125). Abingdon, Oxon, England: Routledge.


Creativity has always had an association with the social sciences in spirit; however, we are now well into a decade in which creativity is being understood as a powerful body of ideas for driving economic and social change. Recent research (see Kaufman & Sternberg, 2007; McWilliam, 2008) has unhooked creativity from artistry, revealing it as economically valuable, team based, observable and learnable. As the ability to 'move an idea from one state to another' (Jackson, 2006a: 8), creativity is argued by David Perkins (1981) and others to be evident in skills such as pattern recognition, creation of analogies and mental models, the ability to cross domains, exploration of alternatives, and problem solving. It has displaced routine 'industrial' thinking and doing as the most relevant workplace capacity in an increasingly complex, challenge-ridden and rapidly changing economic and social order. In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's (2006) terms, creativity is 'no longer a luxury for the few, but a necessity for all' (p. xviii).

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