Creativity Support Systems-A closer look
Hi all, Inga here again. So in my previous post I outlined Creativity Support Systems as used in business, what they are and what they do. In my research I found they were most easily categorised into 4 different areas of functionality. Two areas that I had an interest in researching further is the idea of a ‘coach’ system that gives advice and helps to implement and apply techniques, such as Computer-Assisted Creativity (CAC) systems or Creative Support Tools (CST) and the ‘colleague’ system in which the computer generates its own ideas and solutions, involving the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to model human creativity. Both of these types of systems appear to be more actively involved in the creative and idea generation process.
Firstly, lets take a look at the idea of a ‘coach’ CSS, these systems are built with the application of creative methodologies in mind. They often include feature such as forms and databases to be used as prompts and guidelines as well as some form of data processing for the purposes of categorisation etc. The most widely known and used creative methodology is brainstorming, almost everyone is familiar with this method of idea generation but it can be a slow and arduous process when not conducted in a structured way. Enter information systems! This area of creativity support is so widely used it has its own acronym (shocker, I know) Electronic Brainstorming Systems (EBS) or E-Brainstorming. These systems aim to combat the main pain-points involved in analogue brainstorming sessions including but not limited to group pressure, social loafing and idea blocking. Carrying out the brainstorming process in this way can also allow for various group members to not be present in the same space — an especially useful attribute for large, global businesses and also, I’m sure, during a global pandemic.
Most of these technologies are basic, allowing for synchronous and asynchronous mind mapping and brainstorming but not adding much more to the process. Systems such as Mindomo, MindMeister and Xmind are examples of these and are popular as they provide a smooth user interface.
While brainstorming is the best-known and most widely studied creativity method, it is not the only method assisted by CSS. The problem-solving method called Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) also has its tools, such as the accessible TRIZ 406 or expert-oriented TRIZAquisition. This is a framework that was developed un the USSR but it is still used today as it is a simple and clear approach to solving in-depth problems. The basic framework is outlined in the system below:
This framework is particularly interesting as it is an area in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being trialled and integrated into the systems used. This falls into the ‘colleague’ category of CSS and though most of the examples that I found are is still in the R&D phase, I think it will be an interesting area of development in the application of AI in the creative processes occurring in businesses in the future.