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Ecologies of creativity: smartphones as a case in point

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The smartphone can be considered a great example of how technology provides us with information at our fingertips anytime, anywhere. However, we have been operating mostly in the dark without a clear understanding of what our mobile devices have to offer and how people arrive at creative re-use as part of a problem-solving activity. This paper is an attempt to reach a better understanding of the conditions in which creative re-use of smartphones may take place. Our main goal is to theoretically explore the role that the context of one’s activity may have in supporting creative re-use. We argue that the smartphone in itself cannot be separated from its cognitive ecology, but it is precisely the way in which it becomes permeable in the context that affords us to potentially come up with new uses and in doing so improve our ability to solve problems.

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This research was supported by the Estonian Science Foundation, the Tiger University Program of the Estonian Information Technology Foundation, and co-funded by the European Union through Marie Curie Actions, ERMOS72, Grant No. G1108. The authors would like to thank Arman Arakelyan for pointing their attention to the notion of creative re-use and appropriation, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for improving the quality of this paper.

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Correspondence to Emanuele Bardone.

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Bardone, E., Shmorgun, I. Ecologies of creativity: smartphones as a case in point. Mind Soc 12, 125–135 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11299-013-0121-9

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  • Ubiquitous computing
  • Mobile computing
  • Affordance
  • Cognitive ecology
  • Re-purposive appropriation
  • Creative re-use