Creativity Is Connecting Things: The Role of Network Topology in Fostering Collective Creativity in Multi-Participant Asynchronous Online Discussions

Sher, Noa
Kent, Carmel
Rafaeli, Sheizaf
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Creativity derives from the ability to form new meaningful combinations out of available resources. Collective creativity is the product of a collaborative process, consisting of multiple interactions between group members and the shared content, which lead to the emergence of novel shared meanings. This exploratory research addresses the expression of collective creativity in multi-participant asynchronous online discussions, by proposing interactivity and emergence as key features of the collaborative creative process. The ability to connect posts in a non-sequential manner ("cross-linking") is suggested as the basis for the formation of emergent community-structures within the content, which reflect collectively constructed novel combinations. Initial indications for this process are presented by applying a combination of network analysis and qualitative inquiry to data from a multi-participant virtual discussion, held as part of an online academic course. A methodology for extracting emergent themes is described.
Creativity: Research and Practice, collaborative discussions, collective creativity, community detection, emergence
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