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Toward a meta-theory of creativity forms: How novelty and usefulness shape creativity

Harvey, Sarah; Berry, James; (2022) Toward a meta-theory of creativity forms: How novelty and usefulness shape creativity. Academy of Management Review 10.5465/amr.2020.0110. (In press).

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Abstract

Creativity has long been defined in terms of novelty and usefulness. Surprisingly, however, there is relatively little agreement about the precise meaning of either dimension, the relationship between them, or the process through which they are produced. In this paper, we explore how novelty and usefulness have been used explicitly and implicitly in the creativity literature to reveal three ways to understand the definitional constructs. We propose that these three understandings give rise to distinct but interrelated forms of creativity: creativity as maximization, creativity as balance, and creativity as integration. Each form provides a different way of answering the question: what is creativity? We further theorize that the forms are shaped by the distal relations between novelty and usefulness, context, and process. Fundamentally, our theory suggests that developing a creative outcome for a distant alternative reality is a different form of creativity than developing an idea grounded in the present, so that as creators move through space and time, they also move through different forms of creativity. Our meta-theory furthers our understanding of creativity by revealing the centrality of usefulness in defining creativity; opening up the dynamics of the creative process; and highlighting interdependencies between ideas and context.

Type: Article
Title: Toward a meta-theory of creativity forms: How novelty and usefulness shape creativity
DOI: 10.5465/amr.2020.0110
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2020.0110
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145889
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