The Evolution of Collaborative Creativity
Naomi Gornick, I/IDSA, University of Dundee
We know that we are now living in a time of profound unpredictability. As a result of the degree of uncertainty and change in global economics and society, design practice in many areas is undergoing considerable transformation. Many designers are making a more profound contribution to a larger range of company decision-making embracing user, market, and global issues. Design thinking is now a familiar aspect of company life with new career paths for design managers and organization leaders. Key issues have emerged that increasingly affect design activity: a marked concern with the environment, demographic change and user collaboration, business ethics, and sustainability.
Paradoxically, at the same time that new design structures and strategies are being put in place, it would appear that the design community in 2008 is in reflective rather than experimental mode. This could be a very human reaction to massive change. Maybe as the world gets more complex, people shy away from the big decisions? At a recent design management conference, participants were asked to suggest the primary characteristics designers would need in the future. “Designers must be brave” was first on the list. Of course, there is evidence of progress, but there needs to be a more sustained dialogue between business and design that connects with society as a whole. This will lead to more investigation and development in both design practice and education. It will also lead to new forms of leadership and team activity as well as significant new directions for design. In a research group at Goldsmiths College, University of London, we are calling one of these directions metadesign.
First of all, we have to be aware of these transformations that are taking place, some of them very subtle. Many leading design consultancies have responded to these contextual factors by acquiring new knowledge either internally with an enlarged discipline base or externally through alliances with experts in other fields. This paper is concerned with the emergence of enhanced creativity and innovation through these new collaborations. It is particularly focused on diverse knowledge transfer possibilities and the way everyday conversation plays a major part in creative development. Collaborative systems and techniques in design have been studied and recorded, notably since the 1990s. What we are seeing now is a reappraisal of these techniques and a more confirmed connection to organizational psychology in the light of global changes.