Collaborative creativity

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Citation: Lena Mamykina, Linda Candy, Ernest Edmonds (2002) Collaborative creativity. Communications of the ACM (RSS)
DOI (original publisher): 10.1145/570907.570940
Semantic Scholar (metadata): 10.1145/570907.570940
Sci-Hub (fulltext): 10.1145/570907.570940
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): Collaborative creativity
Tagged: Computer Science (RSS) Creativity (RSS), Art (RSS)


Mamykina, Candy, and Edmonds start their short article in Communications of the ACM with a lofty and broad question:

What tools, methodologies, and practices can support creativity of individuals in interdisciplinary teams?

Although their article title seems to argue about supporting creativity in the sense that Ben Schneiderman discussed in Creativity support tools, their actual focus in much narrowing. Their basic assumption is that people (or at least some people) are already creativity and that others are not. Their own report is very much in the context of COSTART, a co-residency program between technologists and artists. The program is less about the role of technology design and more about the role of collaborating on creative technology.

The authors break down collaborations into three stages: creative conceptualization, realization, and evaluation. They argue that partners tend to adopt different types of roles. They argue that they have seen three basic patterns:

  • Assistant: A model where artists come up with the concept and evaluate and that the technologist builds the technology.
  • Full partnership: A model where the artist and technologist collaborate on all pieces.
  • Partnership with artistic control: A model where the two collaborate on all parts but the artist maintains control over evaluation.

The authors argue that the second model, "presents significant benefits for creative collaboration." Their article discusses ways to achieve those benefits that include:

  • Devising a shared language using patterns and stories.
  • Developing a common understanding of the artistic institution and visions.
  • Engaging in extensive discussions and what-if sessions.
  • Sharing knowledge resources.

The authors concludes that the best way to support the most meaningful types of interactions is through carefully created tools that, "provide lightweight support for articulation of creative ideas and allow for better exchange between different disciplines."

Theoretical and Practical Relevance

Mamykina et al.'s article has been cited more than 50 times since it was published 8 years ago, almost entirely in the literature on technological support for creativity.