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Tools for Innovation$
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Arthur Markman and Kristin Wood

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381634

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381634.001.0001

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“Putting Blinkers on a Blind Man”

“Putting Blinkers on a Blind Man”

Providing Cognitive Support for Creative Processes with Environmental Cues

Chapter:
(p.48) Chapter 3 “Putting Blinkers on a Blind Man”
Source:
Tools for Innovation
Author(s):

Bo T. Christensen

Christian D. Schunn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381634.003.0003

Random cues may be both beneficial and harmful to creativity. Theories of analogical transfer and association assume that cues are helpful in generating new ideas. However, theories of path-of-least-resistance, fixation, and unconscious plagiarism say that cues can lead you into traps. Empirical research partly supports both theories. So what is a practitioner to do in selecting random cues for enhancing creativity? It is suggested that the answer is found in looking at the relationship between cues and the creative cognitive processes and their functions, and how this leads to creative outcome originality and usefulness. Two processes are examined: analogical transfer and mental simulation. It is recommended that random between-domain cues be used to increase between domain analogizing primarily with instruction to make connections, leading to product originality. Random within-domain cues should be used to increase within-domain analogizing. Due to property transfer, close analogies may have a negative impact on the originality of the outcome in problem-solving instances, but a positive impact on usefulness in problem-identifying and problem-solving instances. Random end-user cues will lead to greater amounts of end-user simulations of usability and user preferences, and thus to higher levels of product usefulness.

Keywords:   creative cognition, creativity support tools, analogy, mental simulation, creative processes, environmental cues, random input

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