In a review of recent creativity research, Beth Hennessey and Teresa Amabile from Harvard University argued that “only by using multiple lenses simultaneously, looking across levels, and thinking about creativity systematically, will we be able to unlock and use its secrets. What we need now are all encompassing systems theories of creativity designed to tie together and make sense of the diversity of perspectives found in the literature – from the innermost neurological level to the outermost cultural level” (2010, p. 590). This book, The Creative System in Action, satisfies that need.
The first of its kind internationally, this interdisciplinary book initially gives an ordered overview of systems theory and then outlines the trajectory of creativity research as it has moved towards a systems based approach. The book then focuses on current systems-based research into cultural production and media practice, giving an overview of empirically based studies that use and test the systems approach. The body of research collected in this book also demonstrates how differing research methods provide an alternate and more holistic way to describe and analyse a cultural producer’s creative output.
Uniquely, the authors have all taken a systems approach to their research which incorporates not just individual creators but also the social and cultural contexts in which they work. In doing this, they highlight a rational explanation of creativity and look at it across a range of fields such as music, writing, film, theatre and digital media. Ultimately, this book not only showcases innovative research into creativity but satisfies the call to see creativity as a system in action.