The Structure of Creation

These are big words to start with. But as we will see, it comes down to a few important elements that systems science and theories of creation share. Because what everything is about is systems after all. But let's get not ahead of ourselves, let's dive in:

SYSTEMS SCIENCE

Like in our mythology, the hero of systems science does not operate in a vacuum. He is influenced by outside forces.

Systems science is based on the premise that systems, in fact that our whole world does not consist of independent elements. It consists of interdependent elements that influence each other.

Such systems range from biological systems, to social systems such as societies, nations or businesses, as well as to economies.

Your business is an agent that takes decisions. As a business you operate in a space, let’s call it a market, together with other agents, let’s call them players that equally take independent decisions. These other agents are your customers and your competitors amongst others. Between those agents there are relationships.

The most important feature of those systems is that they are nonlinear and dynamic. This means because of the interdependence of their elements they react to influences. Everything is connected to everything else. In our economy, different businesses are connected, our societies are interconnected. Our behaviour is connected with the climate and the rest of our planet. The list is endless.

This is important, because oftentimes, when system elements, like businesses or policy decisions are discussed these elements are treated as isolated events. This leads to significant misperceptions. Take classic economic theory for example, that used to view the economy as an equilibrium. Viewing the economy as an equilibrium misses the important point, that outside influences have an impact on players in the economy, thus stirring up the equilibrium. The example can be extended to the influence of technology on our behaviour as consumers as workers, as family members and friends. It can be extended on government policies, environmental initiatives, social initiatives or simply your everyday work interactions with your coworkers or business partners.

The other important thing is that these systems are able to do is self-organise. This is because they adapt to new inputs, leading to an emergence of new structures and capabilities of the system. How this works is what we will explore below.

CREATIVITY

On to Creativity Theories and Neuroscience. This is about how we come up with the ideas that feed these businesses.

 

Dynamic system

These fields similarly deal with another type of dynamic, connected, and self-organising system. They deal with our brains, and in particular the connected cortices within our brain.

Now the amazing thing is that our brain is adaptable to its environment and to the demands of our lives. It is not a hardwired structure. Research in Neuroplasticity has found out that our brain is not static. It evolves and it organises itself depending on the stimuli we get. In this way it is a dynamic system as well. Neuroplasticity is a research field that explores how our brain keeps adapting to external influences.

The more often something is repeated, the stronger the links between the neurons, and the more easily they can get activated later on. Everything we learn is embedded in these connections.

Neuroscience Researcher Prof. Alvaro Pascual-Leone puts it this way:

“The human brain is made up of neurones, highly sophisticated and stable cellular structures. 

However, neurones are engaged in dynamically changing networks that provide a most energy efficient, spatially compact,  and precise means to

  • process input signals
  • and generate adaptable responses to a changing environment.“

Prof Dr. Pascual-Leone

A classic example is the brain of London cab drivers, ave uniquely bigger hippocampi, the brain area that deals with spacial intelligence, than the rest of us.

Connections

The connections here are neurons sending electrical impulses. They get activated when we think, perform a task or experience something.  

The nodes of the system are the cortices, where memories, thoughts and emotions are stored, providing the raw material of the brain. 

Thinking happens when several associations, meaning connections are activated, when neurons are in a proximity that they connect. 

As Dr. Nancy Andreasen a neuropsychiatrist, with a focus on creative processes, states in the documentary ‘Unravelling the Creative Mind’, “association cortices are the reservoirs of meaning in the brain”.

 

Summary

So the common pattern is that a dynamic system with many connections enable us to take an insight from one place and apply it in another place, enabling us to create something new. 

From that follows that the more influences, the more nodes we have, and the better the connections, the more it benefits our creative processes.

But let’s look at these processes. There are some more common patterns to explore.