During the poster presentation today, I listened to one of my classmates give a literature review on social creativity. He commented that there hasn’t been much work in the area, and tried to tie together the few frameworks that have been proposed. It was clear from his talk why this area has little published work: social creativity is really difficult to instigate or measure. Creativity means vastly different things to different people, so it’s difficult to find a solution that can harness each persons’ unique abilities.
One take at computer-supported social creativity is the remixing of video games and animations. Andres Monroy-Hernandez started the Scratch project, a system that helps kids make simple (and sometimes complex) games and animations. Andres gave a talk at the Berkman Center discussing his project and its overwhelming success. You can download Scratch for free if you want to check it out: http://scratch.mit.edu/. What I find most interesting about Andres’ talk is his emphasis upon understanding existing user populations and their actions and motivations. He talks about Creative Commons rules that govern the creation of content, for example. Only once he understood existing systems and his target user base did he begin to build the system.
Link to Andres’ video at the Berkman Center: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/luncheon/2012/01/monroy-hernandez
Another system is Pipeline, was developed by PhD candidate Kurt Luther here at Georgia Tech. We used this application during our collaboration making the recycling fashion show. All group members signed up for the system, and several group members left comments in the system early on. Once the actual work started, however, Pipeline was abandoned. This doesn’t mean Pipeline is a bad system. It just wasn’t right for this group for this project. Our group members divided into several groups. Each group met in person to complete a portion of the project. Since we weren’t collaborating over the web, Pipeline was not designed to help us.
I’m an HCI student. I’m constantly being told by professors and other students that it’s important to consider the user when designing a system. I think that this is just another example of how important this mantra is. When applied to creativity, I think the takeaway is that it is just as important to consider place as purpose. We were collaborating on a project that Pipeline could have facilitated, but because we did not collaborate via the web, Pipeline was not useful. Maybe a future project could help facilitate interaction and compilation of separate pieces of a project that were created by in-person groups.