Tuesday, 19 April 2016 17:58

Creativity - Far More than Deliberate Practice

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Creativity - Far More than Deliberate Practice

Speed of expertise acquisition may matter, but so do a whole host of other traits.  The "10-Year Rule" makes for a sensational TED talk; however, the idea that it takes 10 years to become a world-class expert in any domain is not a rule. Creativity doesn't have an expiration date. Creativity seems to happen when it's ready to happen.  While expetise or technique certainly contribute, talent and personality are very relevant to creative accomplishment. 

 

Successful, creators are not mere masters of technique. Instead of deliberately practicing down an already existing path, they often create their own path for others to follow.  In his new book "Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise", psychologist Anders Ericsson and journalist Robert Pool distill an impressive body of research on "mastering almost any skill." 

Indeed, deliberate practice can help you master new skills. Deliberate practice involves a series of techniques designed to learn efficiently and purposefully. This involves goal setting, breaking down complex tasks into chunks, developing highly complex and sophisticated representations of possible scenarios, getting out of your comfort zone, and receiving constant feedback.

But as they note midway through their book, the techniques of deliberate practice are most applicable to "highly developed fields" such as chess, sports, and musical performance in which the rules of the domain are well established and passed on from generation to generation. The principles of deliberate practice do not work nearly as well for professions in which there is "little or no direct competition, such as gardening and other hobbies", and "many of the jobs in today's workplace-- business manager, teacher, electrician, engineer, consultant, and so on."

Artists are under constant pressure to surpass what they and others have done before, and it is precisely this pressure that drives them toward ever increasing originality. While creativity often draws on a deep knowledge base, creative products, by definition, are much more than expert products. This is because creativity must be original, meaningful, and surprising.

  • Original in the sense that the creator is rewarded for transcending expertise, and going beyond the standard repertoire.
  • Meaningful in the sense that the creator must satisfy some utility function, or provide a new interpretation.

This constantly raises the bar of what is considered useful, and puts immense pressure on creators to find new meanings. Finally, creative products must be surprising in that the original and meaningful creative product must be surprising not only to oneself, but to everyone. This is exactly how the United States Patent Office evaluates new applications.

Original and meaningful ideas that could have been created by any expert in the field are considered "obvious" and are therefore unpatentable. Creative products-- such as the discoveries of Galileo and Leeuwenhoek-- are surprising to everyone, novices and experts alike.

Over the past 50 years or so, there have been many systematic studies of the career trajectories of creative people, the traits that predict creativity, and the life experiences of creative people. Creativity is often blind. Creative people often have messy processes. While expertise is characterized by consistency and reliability, creativity is characterized by many false starts and lots and lots of trial-and-error. Creators rarely receive helpful feedback.

Deliberate practice is really helpful when it comes to well-structured domains, but for most creative domains, you are working, often in solitude, for a very long time writing that novel or coming up with that mathematical proof, with very little immediate feedback. This surely makes it hard to deliberately practice your way to a revolution!

Sometimes the creator needs to create a new path for others to deliberately practice. The deliberate practice approach is focused on using deliberate problem solving to learn an existing set of rules within a domain. Creative people are not just good at solving problems, however. They are also good at finding problems.

Creativity does draw on a deep knowledge base, and delibrate practice can certainly contribute to many aspects of creativity, but ultimately creativity involves much more than just deliberate practice. Creators are not necessarily the most efficient, but their messy minds and messy processes often allow them to see things others have never seen, and to create new paths that future generations will deliberately practice.

Source: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/creativity-is-much-more-than-10-000-hours-of-deliberate-practice/

Read 715 times Last modified on Saturday, 24 December 2016 13:17
Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

Website: www.wermske.com
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