Two sides on the same coin: Relationship between constraints and creativity

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Two sides on the same coin: Relationship between constraints and creativity

Constraints can influence on creativity both negatively and positively. Constraints generally undermine creativity by inhibiting uniqueness and intrinsic motivation to a large extent. In a sense, the best way to improve and develop creativity is to identify and eliminate all constraints. Yet this is not always the case in most of creativity works. That is to say, constraints also have a positive impact on creativity under certain circumstances. Just as the same coin has two extremely different sides, so too does constraint. The bottom line is that the right sort of constraints can in fact stoke the innovation fire (Amabile & Kramer, 2010). It is the strategic use of constraints that matters.

How time constraints influence on Creativity.
The first thing that I’d like to discuss is time and creativity. Time constraint by and large reduces creativity. In most instances where involve time constraint, people are much likely to do the given tasks under pressure, such that time constraint has a detrimental effect on creativity. That being said, creativity may be enhanced by time pressure if creators are protected from distractions or if they feel like they were on a mission.
In the interest of clarity of this argument, let me give a very classic creativity task, incomplete picture task, to elucidate this double-sidedness. Suppose we are asked to complete a picture, which purposely contains some shapes like the hands of a clock. And the task is needed to complete in 30 seconds. Time in this task obviously plays a role of constraint. Yet this constraint can be explained differently by notion that how we are aware of and embrace this constraint toward carrying out the given task. If doing the task is dominated by this constraint—that is, our concentration is not on completing this task creatively but on merely doing it within 30 seconds— the outcomes of the task show very limited sense of creativity. In the given task, most of them may be something like a clock with a little variable. However, if our focus of this task is primarily on completing a picture per se, not much controlled by time pressure, we are bale to embrace this time constraint as a function that allows us to do this task in time, avoiding of distraction from the work. This time constraint totally works for the task as a means of fertilizer of doing creative work. Moreover time constraints allow creators to exert every effort in doing the given task, in that the task must be done within the given time. Helping creators concentrate on the task, perhaps, is by far the most important to undertake a creative work.
Generally speaking although time constraints give rise to pressure cognitively and emotionally, time constraints, in fact, allow us to organize and move forward the given task. What it boils down to is that the strategic use of constraints can promote creativity.

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