Innovate UK funding for feasibility study to track attention levels

The Centre for Creativity has recently been awarded funding from Innovate UK to design, develop and evaluate a new way of using biofeedback of a person’s heart rate to track their own attention and relaxation levels and to help train and improve their levels of relaxed focus, sometimes referred to as ‘flow’ and ‘mindfulness’. The hope is that such a solution could be used to help children suffering from attention deficit disorders, but could have applications in much wider areas of use.

The project will run from September 2015 to March 2016.

Creativity and the Fibonacci sequence

I have been fascinated by the Fibonacci sequence for many years, its relationship to the golden ratio, and its association with growth.

The Fibonacci sequence F(n) is 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 …

where F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2)

There are many other subtleties to it than just that, but you check out more on wikipedia if you are interested.

With my interest in creativity, and how ideas develop, I thought I would suggest an analogy to the Fibonacci sequence from a creative perspective. In my revised version, the Fibonacci sequence has a real and imaginary part, i.e. it is a complex number. The real part represents ideas/conscious thoughts and matches the standard Fibonacci sequence, and the imaginary part relates to potentials – currently undiscovered possibilities/unconscious thoughts. My revised sequence therefore goes as follows:

Creative Fibonacci sequence:

CF(0) = 0 + 1i (starts as an initial potential)

CF(1) = 1 + 1i (potential becomes a conscious idea)

CF(2) = 1 + 2i (the new conscious idea then generates an additional potential)

CF(3) = 2 + 3i (the ideas continue to grow)

CF(4) = 3 + 5i

CF(5) = 5 + 8i

In my revised sequence, an initial idea starts as a potential in the imaginary/unconscious domain and then manifests itself as an idea in the real domain.  This manifestation could be triggered, for example,  by aspects described in my LCD model.  This idea then matures, perhaps through reflection, experimentation and feedback.  This then results in an additional potential back in the imaginary / unconscious domain. This process then repeats itself and the idea is able to grow and generate a range of new ideas and potentials – an example of divergent thinking.

Article on ‘Linking Meaningfulness in the Workplace to Employee Creativity”

I recently discovered a really good journal article from 2009 analysing the link between meaningfulness in the workplace and employee creativity. The full article details are:

Title: Linking Meaningfulness in the Workplace to Employee Creativity: The Intervening Role of Organizational Identification and Positive Psychological Experiences
Authors: Ravit Cohen-Meitara, Abraham Carmelia & David A. Waldmanb
Journal: Creativity Research Journal, Volume 21, Issue 4, 2009, pages 361-375

One of the findings of the study was that “when individuals feel vitality and aliveness, positive regard and mutuality, and high organisation-based self esteem, their creativity is enhanced”. Two of the key factors driving this link were job challenge and freedom. The other key factor was how the organisation was perceived internally by employees as well as externally by others. These findings align with the findings by Teresa Amabile and others. It also links to Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow and creativity, where he found that individuals are at their most creative (and in the ‘flow’ state) when given challenging work, but also when they have the required skills. It also links to Dan Pink’s work, highlighting that intrinsic motivation of individuals is driven by having autonomy, mastery (a motivation to improve skills) and having a sense of purpose to what they are doing.

The research matches our own findings through running many sessions with organisation on creativity over many years, our own person experiences in such work environments, as well as the specific research studies we have conducted.

 

 

 

People’s Journeys – CEWN Funded Project

People’s Journeys is a new collaborative project being undertaken by Gareth Loudon and Dr. Spencer Jordan from Cardiff Met exploring how mobile technology can address issues of alienation and estrangement within our cities, specifically through the spatial mapping of community ‘teithiau’ or ‘journeys’. The project is funded by the Creative Exchange Wales Network.

You can see more details on the project and Spencer’s other work at:

http://spencerkjordan14.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/peoples-journeys-cewn-funded-project/

 

 

 

Presentation at Conference on Spatial Cognition

Gina Deininger presented her work on  ‘Modal Preferences in Creative Problem Solving’ at the 5thInternational Conference on Spatial Cognition, in Rome, Italy, in early September. The work looked at whether we are more likely to engage just the brain or enlist the body for complex cognitive functioning such as creative problem solving. Participants were presented with a puzzle based on De Bono’s lateral thinking puzzles. The puzzle consisted of rotating and joining two-dimensional shapes to make a three-dimensional one. In one condition, participants were given the choice of either solving the puzzle mentally or through manipulation of the images on a computer screen. In another condition, the subjects had to solve the puzzle first mentally and then report which mode they would have preferred to solve the puzzle. Two more conditions were applied with slight variations. In all conditions, an overwhelming majority of participants chose to solve the puzzle by manipulation, even though there was not a significant increase on performance. It appeared that participants were making a conscious choice for the body to play a feedback-driven role in creative cognitive processing. This strong preference for manual manipulation over just mental representation, regardless of the impact on performance, would seem to suggest that it is our natural tendency to involve the body in complex cognitive functioning. This would support the theory that cognition may be more than just a neural process, and that it is a dynamic interplay between body, brain and world. The experiential feedback of the body moving through space and time may be an inherently important factor in creative cognition.

How looking at examples affects creative work

Researchers at Stanford University looked at how early and repeated exposure to examples affects creativity. Their findings suggest that early exposure to examples improves creativity, however late exposure to examples does not improve creativity and increases conformity. In addition, the exposure to examples in general reduced the quantity of the creative output.

See:

Kulkarni, C., Dow, S.P., Klemmer,S.R. (2012) Early and Repeated Exposure to Examples Improves Creative Work, Cognitive Science.