Dynamics of collective creativity
Understanding collective creativity: anonymous collaboration under constrained freedom that transcends the creativity of the individual.
Homer’s Iliad and Wikipedia. One, the first great work in Western literature; the other, the world’s most-used work of reference. The link? Both are the products of collective creativity. The Iliad was created over generations by a series of oral poets, each of whom improved on the previous version, deleting some passages and adding others. Meanwhile, Wikipedia relies on contributions from the public, on the same basis of deleting and inserting. Shared knowledge curation efforts and open source software suggest that explicit cooperation may not be necessary for integrating multiple collaborators in their efforts to achieve a complex goal.
In this project we ask whether anonymous collaboration with constrained freedom can give rise to the spontaneous display of creativity within a non-cooperating group, greater than any one person could achieve alone. By studying simple creativity tasks and the dynamics of games, we devise a theoretical model for collective creativity and extrapolate key design principles for platforms capable of achieving it.
Collective creativity could profoundly extend the limits of human creativity in areas such as scientific collaboration, coding, creative writing and illustration.