Distributed creativity: How collective creations emerge from collaboration

R. Keith Sawyer, Stacy DeZutter
2009 Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts  
Creativity is often considered to be a mental process that occurs within a person's head. In this article, we analyze a group creative process: One that generates a creative product, but one in which no single participant's contribution determines the result. We analyze a series of 5 theater performances that were improvisationally developed in rehearsal by a theater group; over the course of these 5 performances, a collaborative creation emerged from the improvised dialogues of the group. We
more » ... gue that in cases of creativity such as this one, it is inaccurate to describe creativity as a purely mental process; rather, this case represents a nonindividualistic creative process that we refer to as distributed creativity. We chose this term by analogy with studies of distributed cognition, which are well established in cognitive science, but have not yet had a substantial impact on creativity research. Our study demonstrates a methodology that can be used to study distributed creative processes, provides a theoretical framework to explain these processes, and contributes to our understanding of how collaboration contributes to creativity.
doi:10.1037/a0013282 fatcat:v6siwvyeivbehi6p3azzgndqgy