Anfara, V. A., & Mertz, N. T. (2006). Theoretical frameworks in qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE.
Gloor, P. A. (2006). Swarm creativity: Competitive advantage through collaborative innovation networks. New York: Oxford University Press.
By visualizing the flow of knowledge, making it transparent, and optimizing its course, organizations and individuals become more creative, innovative, and responsive to change. This is one of the keys to success in the new century (p 16-17). Organization can successfully promote COINS by giving up central control in favor of self-organization in swarm creativity, developing an ethical code, and setting up a social network connected by hubs of trust (p.17).
Swarm intelligence in social insects is based on self-organization; no one is in charge, but social insects successfully solve complex tasks (p.20). According to Bonabeau, self-organization has four properties:
Errors and randomness contribute very strongly to the success of social insects by enabling them to discover, explore, and exploit. Errors feed self-organization, creating flexibility so the colony can adapt to a changing environment with robustness, ensuring that-even when one or more individuals fail-the group can still perform its tasks. Swarm intelligence offers an alternative way of designing "intelligent" systems in which autonomy, emergence, and the ability to distribute tasks replace control, pre-programming, and centralization (p.21).
The obvious advantages in accomplishing complex tasks through swarm intelligence include no central control, errors being okay, flexibility, robustness, and self-repair. It is difficult for conventional managers to accept the idea that solutions are emergent rather than predefined and pre-programmed (p. 21).
People working with the innovator are not working for her or him because they have been ordered to do so, but because they want the innovation to succeed. They all share the same vision and goals (in a sense, the same "genes"); they want to succeed, and they want to see their innovation spread and be accepted by the outside world (p. 22).
If you and I swap a dollar, you and I still each have a dollar. If you can I swap an idea, you and I have two ideas each.
The free flow of ideas and thoughts is essential to the success of creative teams . It is entirely self-organizing and self-selecting. Roles and responsibilities of each member are clear to all, with no need for lengthy coordination meetings (p. 24).
Gee, J. p. (2008). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (3rd edition). New York, NY: Routledge.
Meaning is something we negotiate and contest over socially. It is something that has its roots in "culture" in the very deep and extended sense that it resides in an attempt to find common ground. That common ground is very often rooted in the sorts of things we think of us "cultures". Two people don't need to "share a culture" to communicate. They need to negotiate and seek common ground on the spot of the here and now of social interaction and communication. (p. 13)
Call this the context principle: guesses about what words mean (what other words they are intended to exclude or not as applicable) are always relative to assumptions about the context. Our three principles—the exclusion principle, the guessing principle, and the context principle—imply claims about meaning that are deeply opposed to our common sense (and many academic) beliefs about the matter. Words have no meanings in and of themselves and by themselves apart from other words. They have meanings only relative to choices (by speakers and writers) and guesses (by hearers and readers) about other words , and assumptions about contexts. (p. 101)
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they have had and synthesize new things." (Interview with Steve Jobs, Wired, Feb, 1996)
Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the remix (TED Video)
Machi, L. A. & McEvoy, B. T. (2012). The literature review: Six steps to success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Ravitch, S. M., & Riggan, M. (2012). Reason & rigor: How conceptual frameworks guide research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Sawyer, K. (2012). Extending sociocultural theory to group creativity. Vocations and Learning, 5, 59-75.
[Abstract] Sociocultural theory focuses on group processes through time, and argues that group phenomena cannot be reduced to explanation in terms of the mental states or actions of the participating individuals. This makes sociocultural theory particularly useful in the analysis of group creativity and group learning, because both group creativity and group learning emerge over time from the successive contributions of individual members, and they are difficult to reductively explain in terms of the mental states or actions of participating individuals. This paper presents a case study of group creativity, analyzing how a collective creative product emerges over 17 successive encounters of an improvisational theater group. This case study demonstrates the value of sociocultural theory in the study of group processes over time. And yet, it suggests that to fully explain group creativity and group learning, existing sociocultural theory must be extended beyond a narrow focus on process and practice, to focus on three levels of analysis: individual creative acts, interactional dynamics over time, and the emergence of collective group creations.
Sociocultural psychology is the most recent in a long history of attempts to study groups and individuals together, by incorporating both anthropological and psychological perspectives (Cole, 1996).
This paper examines a core theoretical assumption of socioculturalism: that processes (sometimes called practices or situated social practices) are the fundamental unit of social reality. This focus on process raises a serious problem: it makes it difficult to understand the mutual relations between individuals and groups, because it elides the distinction between these two levels of social reality by wrapping them both into the unit of analysis of "social practice" (Archer, 1995). As a way of resolving this problem, this paper proposes an extension of sociocultural theory, referred to as "collaborative emergence," and demonstrates the potential value of this theoretical extension by applying it to an empirical example of group creativity.
The unifying features of sociocultural theory: the unit of analysis is situated social practice, rather than the individual as in traditional psychology (Hatano and Wertsch, 2001, p. 79) Situated social practices are the fundamental unit of social reality, with individuals and groups secondary and derivative.
The scientific study of group creativity raises similar issues, because a full explanation of group creativity requires an analysis of the individual creativity of each group member, as well as the group processes that bring together each member's contributions.
Until quite recently, most creativity research has been conducted by psychologists, who have focused on the mental processes and the personalities of creative individuals (see Runco 2007).
A sociocultural orientation suggests that psychological accounts of creativity are limited and that a complete explanation of creativity requires scientists to bring together studies at both the individual and the group levels of analysis (Cole & Engestrom 2007; Sawyer 2006).
Some limitations of sociocultural approach to fully explain collaborative creativity:
The focus of the analysis is on how successive individual contributions result in the gradual emergence, over time, of a collective creative product. The analysis requires a constant consideration of both individual-level and group-level phenomena, as well as the moment-to-moment interactional dynamics of the group.
The analysis of the improvisationally developed scenes resulted in the identification of two types of dramatic structure that collaboratively emerged over the course of multiple rehearsals and performances: 1) foundational elements of narrative, character, relationship, and plot; 2) short segments of dialogue and action, known as 'bits', emerged collectively and were retained through subsequent performances.
To analyze how the performance emerged, all five performances were transcribed, and interaction analyses were conducted on the transcripts.
Two time scales: 1) the moment-to-moment conversational processes within a single improvised instantiation; and 2) the processes that occur from week to week, across successive rehearsals and performances. Interaction analyses conducted by socioculturalists have only considered the first time scale, the processes that occur in face to face groups in a specific encounter. This focus ends up rather narrowly constraining the analytic perspective to a single encounter. (p. 71)
Socioculturalism is valuable in that it has encouraged psychologists to focus on the emergence of group phenomena during situated social practices in social encounters. But socioculturalists tend to neglect how social properties emerge over longer periods of time, through successive encounters. (p. 71)
Collaborative emergence, a bottom-up process, is paralleled by downward social causation, a top-down process. The emergent collective product, the shared dramatic frame, is collectively created by the participants, and yet has causal influence over those participants. (P. 71)
The explanation of creativity requires us to consider three levels of analysis simultaneously : 1) individual mental processes that result in the creative contribution of a specific action; 2) interaction between these individual creative contributions; 3) the emergent, group level of analysis, the shared social creation that is represented by the dramatic frame.
The relation between the individual and the emergent frame is complex (Sawyer, 2003). Once the frame emerges, it has a high degree of stability, yet it is not fully constraining; individuals always have some range of freedom to act. (p. 71)
This paper has emphasized two valuable features of sociocultural theory: 1) focus on processes through time, and its insistence on simultaneous examination of individual level and group level phenomena. This paper further argues that these two features must be extended to more fully explain group creativity. The proposed way forward is to focus on the processes of collaborative emergence. This alternative theoretical perspective rejects two claims associated with sociocultural theory: a process ontology and strong inseparability. A revised sociocultural appraoch, focused on collaborative emergence, would allow socioculturalism to better connect with individual psychology, on the one hand, and macrosociology, on the other.(p. 72)
Empirical studies of collaborative emergence identified several characteristics of groups that are more likely to result in collaborative emergence: 1) moment-to-moment contingency (the possible appropriate actions are constrained to varying extent by the prior flow of the conversation); 2) retrospective interpretation (contribution only acquires meaning after it is responded to by the others); 3) equal participation (no group leader who establishes topic and flow of the collaboration, collective phenomena like topic, topic shifts, and decisions emerge from the conversation).
Agee, J. (2002). “Winks upon winks”: Multiple lenses on settings in qualitative educational research. Qualitative Studies in Education, 15(5), 569-585.
Schwartz, C. V., & White, B. Y. (2005). Metamodeling knowledge: Developing students' understanding of scientific modeling. Cognition and Instruction, 23(2), 195-205.