As part of my study into the generation of new ideas, I watched a lecture given by Professor Tanya Krzywinska, who is the director of the Games Academy at Falmouth and is focused on the synergy of aesthetics, creativity and technology, as well as how they can change and improve our lives.
Krzywinska introduced what creativity is and how it is not confined to specific type of craft, as well as how the producer and the consumer are jointly involved in the creative process (Krzywinska, T., n.d). She also brings in some theories from cognitive psychology around how human perception and established norms can hinder creativity. Human perception tends to move to assumptions based on our previous experiences and what we already know, meaning that we therefore disregard what is seemingly not important to us at a given time. This outlook can in fact hinder the creative process, as we close ourselves off to new ideas. Creativity is born out of subverting cultural, societal and even commercial norms.
I can relate to this as I have had discussions with other classmates on Canvas about what we do to gain inspiration and while they were all vastly different means of generating creativity, there were a lot of similar ones which I also agreed with, such as travelling somewhere new or listening to different pieces of music to experience different moods. What we all collectively agreed was that trying to force ourselves to be creative does not work as we will just drift into patterns based on learned behaviour.
This ties in well to another concept that Krzywinska introduces in the lecture which is creativity through disruption, that is ‘disturbance or problems which interupt an event, activity and process’. Krzywinska explains how disruption can be used as a source of creativity by subverting or even dismantling social norms. A great example she gave of this is one of my favourite artists, Caravaggio and how he achieved the innovative use of light in his paintings by creating holes in his apartment, landing him in trouble with his landlord.
Krzywinska establishes these requirements for maintaining creativity and then introduces us to the ICEDIP method, which is a method generated by author Geoff Petty and allows us to create new ideas and developing them. This method consists of a series of phases that require dispositions and a differentiation between the known and unknown.
The stages in the ICEDIP method are as follows:
- This stage is essentially a brainstorming phase. According to Petty, this should be quite an intensive phase for generating random ideas without censorship (Petty, G., n.d). This is something I need to work on as I have a tendency to dismiss ideas too soon if they are not totally developed or coherent. I need to be less inhibited when documenting ideas. I do sketch quite a lot which is like an informal, loose brainstorming process but I seldom take these ideas forward.
- This phase could even mean looking at previous work and opting to develop it further
- In this stage, I will take the ideas that really excited me during the inspiration phase and bring them forward. I will also need to decide what I want to achieve and what goals to set myself, although part of this may even be established before the inspiration phase, i.e. I know I want to make a game. Having said this, it is important to have a clarification stage as I sometimes aspects of a project change after I have done further brainstorming
- Given the looseness of this method, I believe that this is not supposed to be too intensive a phase, but I will need to consider and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of a project. I will need to consider what barriers come in place to getting it complete and more importantly, what I can do to overcome these barriers.
- As I develop my idea further, I will need to begin to exercise self criticism to decide what aspects of it I can leave in because they work and what I can leave out because it is doesn’t work or is unnecessary. Geoff Petty stresses that to undertake this phase, I need to be Positive, Strategic and Intrepid; which means that while I need to be analytical and critical, I need to approach with a positive, rational mindset to ensure my idea is executed in the strongest way possible.
- This stage comes back to what I mentioned earlier in how we cannot force creativity. The best way to let an idea develop sometimes is to take a step back from it. Often once an idea has been conceived, it can be beneficial to take a break and let the creative thought process do its work before proceeding.
- This is where the hard implementation takes place and the phase that I begin my work which is a culmination of the development that took place during the preceding phases. This phase may offshoot similar phases, inspiration, distillation and clarification during the course of the implementation of my idea.
This method looks sequential on the surface, but it is very fluid and allows creativity and analysis to work together as the synergy between the creative and analytical are build into the process. Playful and free idea generation is crucial in allowing ideas to thrive. Additionally, much like the Agile / Scrum methodology I analysed last week, this process embraces failure and recognises that failing is part of the process of developing ideas. Creativity is impossible without taking risks and allowing for failure.
The creativity process also mandates that we need to keep learning and stepping outside of our comfort zone to generate ideas. An example of how this relates to me is that I am looking to make games, which is a primary motive for being on this course but I realise that there are as yet many skills that I am lacking and I will need to step into other areas so that I can ultimately realise my goals. One skill that I am particularly lacking is coding which I will need to develop some proficiency in. I have struggled with this before but I will need to be more creative in the processes that I use to learn this skill.
Krzywinska round off her lecture by describing ‘hook’ tactics, which are used to sustain engagement with users. I am not sure that I will necessarily need these last points for the next pieces of work that I will be producing, but I am certain they will come in useful in the near future, so I have noted some of them down.
In app and game development, implementing ‘hook’ tactics include creating monetisable content which keeps people engaged. An example of this in games being monetisable content which include purchasing items to improve your performance in the game. Addtionally, expansion packs and the serialisation of games has helped to keep users engaged, such as in World of Warcraft and Telltale Games. While developing ideas for games, it is important to consider not just the basic mechanics but also how they can be further enhanced to sustain engagement.
Krzywinska, T., n.d. Creativity and Innovation: App and Game Development. Available at: <https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/911/pages/week-2-what-is-creativity?module_item_id=49143> [Accessed 2 February 2021].
Petty, G., n.d. Creativity: Improving yours, and others’ creativity. [online] Geoff Petty. Available at: <http://geoffpetty.com/creativity/> [Accessed 3 February 2021].