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On The Evolution of Csikszentmihalyi’s `Systems Model of Creativity’ Diagram…
Our story so far…
In a previous post, I (super-briefly) examined the evolution of Charles Darwin’s `Tree of Life’ diagram
So, that was a trip…(!)
But – this time, let’s look at: the evolution of the Systems Model of Creativity diagram (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988-onwards)…
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Wait…
A Question: Why..?

But: Why ?

Answer: Why not-?
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Also: it’s interesting.
Also: it’s probably the best model we have, of: How culture evolves. 
Another Question: Who cares about how Cultural Evolution works? 
Answer: I do. And, so do lots of people. (e.g. The Cultural Evolution Society).
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And, also — anyone interested in understanding: creativity.

Creativity… It’s not what you think…(!)

General Model of Creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, M & Wolfe 2000, p. 81)

Creative Practice Theory – General Model (Velikovsky 2012, 2014, 2016)

Also because this book came out in 2015 and has reprinted articles and chapters:
The Systems Model of Creativity - Csikszentmihalyi 2015

The Systems Model of Creativity – The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2015)

 So – (drum roll…) here we go-!
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So – in 1988, Csikszentmihalyi first published this model of the systems model of creativity:

`The locus of creativity. This “map” shows the interrelations of the three systems that jointly determine the occurrence of a creative idea, object, or action. The individual takes some information provided by the culture and transforms it, and if the change is deemed valuable by society, it will be included in the domain, thus providing a new starting point for the next generation of persons. The actions of all three systems are necessary for creativity to occur.’ (Csikszentmihalyi 1988, p. 329) & reprinted in The Systems Model of Creativity: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2014, p. 51, Kindle Edition)

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And then in 1999, Csikszentmihalyi published this version of the systems model:

`The systems view of creativity –  for creativity to occur, a set of rules and practices must be transmitted from the Domain to the Individual. The Individual must then produce a novel variation in the content of the Domain. The variation then must be selected by the Field for inclusion in the Domain’ (Csikszentmihalyi 1999, p. 315)

Note how, in the diagram above, the arrows of causality go both ways(!)

And then in 2000, Csikszentmihalyi and Wolfe published another model – but this time they also firstly showed a model of how evolution works… 

`Describing biological evolution may, at first, seem an odd way to present a model of creativity (Fig. [below]), but the process of evolution at the level of species is analogous to the creativity at the level of cultural traits.

Biological evolution occurs when an individual organism produces a genetic variation that is selected by the environment and transmitted to the next generation (see Campbell 1976; Mayr 1982; Csikszentmihalyi 1993).’

(Csikszentmihalyi & Wolfe [2000] 2014, p. 165, Kindle Edition).

Model of Biological Evolution (Csikszentmihalyi & Wolfe 2000, p. 84; 2014 p. 165)

And then – the authors (quite rightly, of course) go on to say:

Systems Model of Creativity (Csikszentmihalyi & Wolfe 2000, p. 84)

`The systems model of creativity is formally analogous to the model of evolution based on natural selection.

The variation which occurs at the individual level of biological evolution corresponds to the contribution that the person makes to creativity; the selection is the contribution of the field, and the transmission is the contribution of the domain to the creative process (cf. Simonton 1988; Martindale 1989)… creativity can be seen as a special case of evolution.

Creativity is to cultural evolution as the mutation, selection, and transmission of genetic variation is to biological evolution.’

(Csikszentmihalyi & Wolfe, 2000, pp. 83-84).

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Note the (new) text additions / explanations on the diagram above… 
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Then in 2003 – a burst of colour…! And – the diagram goes back to simpler in some ways (arrows of causality are only one-way; but – look what has been merged…)

`The systems model of creativity. For creativity to occur, a set of rules and practices must be transmitted from the domain to the individual. The individual must then produce a novel variation in the content of the domain. The new variation must then be selected by a field of experts for inclusion in the domain. In this chapter, we focus on the relationship between the field and the individual who aspires to add creatively to the domain. It is here that social capital is generated through mentoring and peer relationships’ (Hooker, Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi 2003; 2014 p. 210, Kindle Edition)

Note also how Bourdieu’s (1993, 1996) concept of social capital has entered…And then, in 2006, Csikszentmihalyi published this version of the Systems Model… note the variations in the model…!

A systems model of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi in Henry 2006, p. 3)

Note how the amount of text information on the diagram has increased, in the above-! – e.g., In the above diagram, the `Domain‘ now includes the explanation: knowledge, tools. values, practices… And the `Field‘ now includes ‘community of practice, gatekeepers‘… Also, instead of the term `Individual‘ the term Person (individual practitioner) is used.

Also, the factors influencing the Person more clearly include: `Genetic makeup, talents, experience’. (Of course – these were all implied, in the previous iterations of the Systems Model of Creativity diagram, but now, happily, are made: much more explicit…)
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And, in 2014, Csikszentmihalyi published this one:

DPFi (Domain, Person, Field interaction) systems model of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi in Simonton (ed) 2014 p. 538)

Thus, you can pretty easily see how the DIFi (Domain, Individual, Field interaction) systems model of creativity became the DPFi (Domain, Person, Field interaction) systems model of creativity…

And – so, that’s a very-brief tour, of: the evolution of Csikszentmihalyi’s the Systems Model of Creativity diagram, from its first emergence in 1988, up to… about now.

And…

…It was, in part, thinking about this evolution of The Systems Model of Creativity diagram over the years, that also led me to create: Creative Practice Theory. (i.e., The Systems Model of Creativity, synthesized with: Bourdieu’s `practice theory’)…

Creative Practice Theory – General Model (Velikovsky 2012, 2014, 2016)

And, which – also led me to create:

  1. StoryAlity #43B –  The `Creative Practice Theory’ online Agent-Based Model
  2. StoryAlity #43C – Creative Practice Theory – The Game
  3. StoryAlity #65 – The StoryAlity K-Film: Ep 1 (online i-doc – interactive documentary)

…And, for much, much, much, more, see: my (2016) PhD thesis-! (Yes, it’s a transmedia PhD).

Aaaand — some of these posts may also be of interest: An INDEX to this PhD-research blog

And if you like this sort of thing, see also:

The Creative System in Action: Understanding Cultural Production and Practice (2016)

See also, this great online article, about creativity in Music (specificially, in music record production):

McIntyre, P. (2008). The Systems Model of Creativity: Analyzing the Distribution of Power in the Studio. Journal of the Art of Record Production; Supplement to ARP08, The Peer – Reviewed Proceedings of the 2008 Art of Record Production Conference(4).

 

And see: Creativity and Cultural Production: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Creativity Through an Ethnographic Study of Songwriting. (McIntyre 2008)

And, for even more practical applications of The Systems Model of Creativity, see:

Creative documentary practice: internalising the Systems Model of Creativity through documentary video and online practice, PhD thesis, (Kerrigan 2011)

and see also:

The performance of comedy by artificial intelligence agents. PhD thesis, Victoria University. (Meany, M 2014)

and see also:

Making the news: Print journalism and the creative process. PhD thesis, (Fulton 2011)

Also – I can highly recommend this article below, for more on creativity research in communication:

Fulton, J., & McIntyre, P. (2013). Futures of Communication: Communication Studies ~ Creativity. Review of Communication, 13(4), 269-289. doi: 10.1080/15358593.2013.872805

Also here is a short animated video (17 minutes) that explains the DPFi socio-cultural systems model of creativity.

See also:

On Systems Theory and Evolution

  1. StoryAlity #70 – Key Concepts in Systems Theory, Cybernetics & Evolution
  2. StoryAlity #70B – The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Capra & Luisi 2014)
  3. StoryAlity #70C – Systems Philosophy (Laszlo 1972)
  4. StoryAlity #70C2 – General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspectives, Practice (Skyttner 2005)
  5. StoryAlity #70D – The Evolving Self (Csikszentmihalyi 1993)
  6. StoryAlity #70E – On Human Nature – and Evolutionary Psychology

And also

StoryAlity #132 – The holon/parton structure of the Meme, the unit of culture – and the narreme, or unit of story – book chapter (Velikovsky 2016)

and

StoryAlity #144 – The structure of the meme, the unit of culture (in: The Encyclopedia of Information Science & Technology, Velikovsky 2017)

…Comments, always most welcome.

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Dr JT Velikovsky Ph.D
High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie & Transmedia Researcher
& Evolutionary Systems Theorist
& Transmedia Writer-Director-Producer: Movies, Games, TV, Theatre, Books, Comics
Some of the above is (mostly) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky 
JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild. For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/
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REFERENCES

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1988). `Society, Culture, and Person: A Systems View of Creativity’. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The Nature of Creativity (pp. 325–339 ). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. ([1988] 2014). `Society, Culture and Person: A Systems View of Creativity’, in The Systems Model of Creativity: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pp. 46-62). Netherlands: Springer (Kindle Edition).

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). Implications of a Systems Perspective for the Study of Creativity, in Robert Sternberg (ed) Handbook of Creativity  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Wolfe, R. ([2000] 2014). `New Conceptions and Research Approaches to Creativity: Implications of a Systems Perspective for Creativity in Education’. In M. Csikszentmihalyi (Ed.), The Systems Model of Creativity: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pp. 161-184). Netherlands: Springer (Kindle Edition).

Hooker, C., Nakamura, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. ([2003] 2014). `The Group as Mentor: Social Capital and the Systems Model of Creativity’ in The Systems Model of Creativity: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pp. 206-226). Netherlands: Springer (Kindle Edition).

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2006). `A Systems Perspective on Creativity’. In J. Henry (Ed.), Creative Management and Development (pp. 3-17). London: SAGE.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). `The Systems Model of Creativity and Its Applications’. In D. K. Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley Handbook of Genius (pp. 533-545). Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Fulton, J., & McIntyre, P. (2013). `Futures of Communication: Communication Studies ~ Creativity’.in Review of Communication, 13(4), 269-289. doi: 10.1080/15358593.2013.872805

McIntyre, P., Fulton, J., & Paton, E. (Eds.). (2016). The Creative System in Action: Understanding Cultural Production and Practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Velikovsky, J. T. (2016). `Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema: A comparative study of the top 20 Return-on-Investment (RoI) Movies and the Doxa of Screenwriting’. PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia.

6 thoughts on “StoryAlity#140 – The Evolution of the Systems Model of Creativity (Csikszentmihalyi 1988-)

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