The project presented in this dissertation revolves around questions concerned with creative group processes. How do people create innovative ideas together? How do the dynamics of face to face interaction influence the development of novel ideas in groups?
A majority of approaches to studying collective creativity consider ideational productivity to be a most central outcome measure. However, focusing on productivity as the primary measure of successful collective creative processes has some challenging and problematic consequences for the evaluation of potential benefits of working in groups. Fundamentally, a number of these studies reduce the role of the group to being an environment for (optimal) individual performance. In addition to this, research on creative collaborations that does not take the interactional encounters in the group into account, are essentially blind to the effect of different materials and resources available in group settings and how they influence the generated ideas and solutions.
The work presented in this dissertation present a different approach to investigating creative collaborations. The studies in this project focused on the interactional dynamics of groups and take a view of the collective creative processes as situated, distributed, embodied cognitive activities. The motivation behind adopting this approach was to investigate the distributed semiotic processes that are the foundation for the development and conception of co created ideas in groups. A micro analytic approach was taken in order to obtain these objectives. The collected data included video and audio data from two types of settings: A controlled setting of a social psychology experiment, as well as naturally occurring data from a meeting in a digital marketing bureau.
Overall, the studies showed that the interactional dynamics in groups fundamentally influence how their collaborative products turn out and that the semiotic resources available to groups shape the ideas they create together. Thus, the studies advocate the importance of careful attention to these aspects of creative group processes and how they influence collaborative outcomes. Furthermore, the studies propose a shift in focus for the study of collective creativity from concentrating mainly on the idea generation phases to giving more attention to activities that are concerned with developing, elaborating, questioning, synthesizing and exploring ideational contributions.
Ph.D-grad tildelt den 5. maj 2017.