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The Dynamics of Creativity Published: Sunday, February 17, 2002 By: Dr. Manuel Ńngel Morales

There is an interesting and paradoxical dynamic regarding the process of creativity. The making of something new brings with it the elimination of something old. All profound change is predicated on the elimination of a previous condition. No matter how invested people and organizations are in creative acts, there is also some elimination occurring at the same time, just as there can be no light without the dark.

One can move gently to the dynamics of destruction. In peacetime, we laud the creative and loathe the destructive. In war we do the opposite. When we refer to the different kind of act of being creative about destruction this is a condition of meta creativity, which could be important for understanding learning and educational ventures.

J. C. Glidewell in Choice Points describes a refreshing exchange with a woman student when he tried to blunt the pain of professoral (mentoring) constructive criticism by suggesting that it was meant as an attack not on her but rather on her idea. She responded that the most important thing about her in that very moment was her idea. Glidewell found this to be a sobering realization, and he was paralyzed. The student kept pursuing an entirely different frame on the exchange. She said she would be most disappointed if he did not expressed his criticism regarding her idea, but that he had to realize that it was a painful process. She said that she needed his help and patience for clearly understanding what he had to say. The point was that in order for her to grow, she needed to be around a teacher who was willing to creatively destroy. That way she could learn the process of being creative.

A critical element in the dynamics of creativity is turbulence that comes from the peopleís struggle to be innovative (implement ideas) and respond to the demands of change. For example, as the team as a whole establishes its own sense of collective orderliness, it search for novelty often takes the form of bringing in a new individual. That individual then becomes the source of the teamís creativity, but the repository for the emotions that the teamís orderliness is designed to overcome (solution-problem dynamics) more generally, teams often locate the chaos associated with novelty in one or two individuals.

The tension in the creative process often stem from the split that exists between the team as a whole and one or more of its members. Teams deal with their destructive sides in similar way. They are prone to locate destructiveness in individual members who can be scapegoat. Though hard, the link between creativity and destructiveness has to be acknowledged. If organizations separate these dynamics by locating one in one team and the other in a different team, the artificial split will immobilize the team dynamics and harm its individual members. It is much better to live with these in built dynamics.

 


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