CREATIVITY, MASS CREATIVITY AND RESILIENCE
An interesting congruence of posts lately.Steve DeAngelis
, who has been turning his insight to wider horizons on his blog, brought up the subject of "innovation", a critical economic advantage of free market economies:
"Scarcity, Innovation, & Resilience
""This summer, as oil prices looked like they were heading towards $80 per barrel, Stephen L. Sass, a professor of materials science and engineering at Cornell University, penned an interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled
"Scarcity, Mother of Invention
" [10 Aug 2006]. Sass wrote his article to calm the handwringers who see ahead of us a bleak and unhappy future........Sass then continued with a brief history lesson about how scarcity led to innovation
.Consider the transition from the use of bronze to iron in making tools and weapons, which occurred around the 12th century B.C. Early in the second millennium B.C., iron was known as the stuff of meteorites. It was rare and highly prized: if you wanted to give a gift to a pharaoh or a king you didn't give a gold dagger but an iron one. But when the eastern Mediterranean fell short of tin from which to make bronze, a technological revolution occurred. Artisans learned to extract metallic iron from iron-rich materials by heating with charcoal (a process called smelting), which caused the price of iron to fall by a factor of 80,000 over 1200 years. The Iron Age had begun. ....The bottom line is that the very process of developing alternative sources of energy to replace fossil fuels may yield benefits beyond our imagining. "
Over at The Cooperation Blog
, Howard Rheingold drew attention to the concept of " Mass Creativity"
in Charles Leadbeater's
upcoming book We Think
:"Immersive multi user computer games, such as Second Life, which depend on high levels of user participation and creativity are booming. Craigslist a self help approach to searching for jobs and other useful stuff is eating into the ad revenues of newspapers. Youth magazines such as Smash Hit have been overwhelmed by the rise of social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo. What is going on? We-Think: the power of mass creativity is about what the rise of the likes of Wikipedia and Youtube, Linux and Craigslist means for the way we organise ourselves, not just in digital businesses but in schools and hospitals, cities and mainstream corporations. My argument is that these new forms of mass, creative collaboration announce the arrival of a society in which participation will be the key organising idea rather than consumption and work. People want to be players not just spectators, part of the action, not on the sidelines"
Creativity is an important aspect of resilience in the sense that when faced with a threat, deficit, setback, obstacle or stressor, a creative approach will increase the parameters of your options. Perhaps turning a serious crisis, as noted in Steve's post, into an opportunity to secure a comparative advantage through innovation. There is considerable dispute among experts over the nature and biophysical process of creativity on an individual cognitive level. Organizations, however have always placed some value on creative talent and the premium for such abilities appears to be on the upswing
Mass Creativity is acheived through an "open source
" and interactive
model of development that accelerates innovation ( thus enhancing resilience) by functioning as a creativity aggregator and meme distributor. The latter part should not be underestimated in terms of its economic importance. Insights are often generated by connection to out of field concepts that suggest analogies or parallels to vertically trained experts; this includes the use of descriptive metaphors to explain concepts that are still only partly-understood but are intuitively reasoned to be potentially viable areas of investigation. Distributing ideas on a wide-scale through an open-source model can yield wholly unrelated spin-offs that increase net economic activity and have large downstream effects.
Resilience is determined by the nature of your response.