Creativity as a system

Seeing creativity as a system simplifies the creative process & allows for better management of creative energy over time.

A system diagram connected to a person creating at their desk and producing valuable work

Creativity as a System

What is a system?

A diagram depicting the basic system of a plant
Basic systems diagram of a plant

Components of a Creative System:

A diagram depicting creativity as a system
Diagram depicting creativity as a system
  1. Creative context: The over-arching context that you are creating within (i.e. a creative medium, project, or career).
  2. Inputs: Creative knowledge, physical energy, and psychological energy are all inputs fuel the creative energy stock. More on these below.
  3. Creative energy stock: Inputs in the form of above before outflows, plus tacit domain knowledge from being in the field and from feedback over time. All are stored within the system as fuel, like a charge on a battery.
  4. Processes: The actions that transform creative stock into outputs.
  5. Outputs: Final products of the creative processes.
  6. Feedback loops: Feedback from the world on the outputs. Acts as mechanism to inform, regulate, and optimize the creative process.

Creative context

A diagram depicting system constraints, labelled the creative context
System constraint: Creative context

Inputs

Creative knowledge

A diagram depicting a system input in the form of creative knowledge
System input: Creative knowledge

Physical energy

A diagram depicting a system input in the form of physical energy
System input: Physical energy

Psychological energy

A diagram depicting a system input in the form of psycholigical energy
System input: Psychological energy

Creative energy stock

A diagram depicting a system stock in the form of creative energy stock
System stock: Creative energy

Processes

Low-risk practice

A diagram depicting a system output in the form of low-risk practice
System process: Low-risk practice

Deep work practice

A diagram depicting a system output in the form of deep work practice
System process: Deep work practice

Entropy

A diagram depicting a system output in the form of entropy
System process: Entropy

Outputs

A diagram depicting output in the creative system
System output: Creative output/work

Feedback loops

A diagram depicting feedback loops in the creative system. Connects from output to psycholigical energy.
System feedback loop: Feedback on creative output

Idea in practice

More reading

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Kazden Cattapan

Design @shopify – Design enthusiast with a love for nature, economics, and technology. Always learning and making; occasionally sharing.