Process Radically Reorients Approaches to Creativity and Innovation

Creativity is outside your head

Understanding the logic of process radically reorients approaches to creativity and innovation:

“In the context of contemporary science… “nature” does not consist of basic particulars, but fields and processes… There is no bottom level of base particulars with intrinsic properties that upwardly determines everything else. Everything is process all the way “down” and all the way “up”…” (Evan Thompson, Mind in Life, p. 440)

Many theorists of creativity and innovation make this point. But, what some often get wrong is what these processes consist of: the critical mistake is to reintroduce entities as substances with intrinsic properties. As Evan Thompson goes on to say these processes are “irreducibly relational — they exist only in patterns, networks, organizations, configurations or webs… Phenomena at all scales are not entities or substances but relatively stable [relational] processes…”

Understanding relationality as both a “thing” in its own right and as what determines the “parts” in a process is a critical shift in the reinvention of creativity as a process (without falling back into a substance viewpoint).

Thompson goes on to sum up this concept, “and since processes achieve stability at different levels of complexity, while still interacting with processes at other levels, all are equally real and none has absolute ontological primacy.”

Often it seems like every prognosticator on creativity has some unique entity that is the most important — usually something individual, human and internal (e.g. imagination). But what about processes? What about multi-scalar relational dynamics? Why is this not front and center?

Why are so many creativity theorists still trying to help get people one thing or another if things are relational, distributed, multi-scalar, dynamic and process based?

In our practice we have simply moved on from all the approaches that endlessly fixate on singular individual humans and their supposed internal capacities. There are far more effective practices that begin by embracing an emergent relational ecological process based approach.

We are curious about your engagement with such approaches.

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