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Neurodesign: The Biology, Psychology, and Engineering of Creative Thinking and Innovation

Part of the Integrated Science book series (IS,volume 12)

Summary

Creative thinking pervades human life. Almost every single thing with which humans surround themselves—technology, houses, furniture, books, paintings, music, and so forth—is the product of someone’s creative process. Even raw food that we eat, such as apples and salad, hinges on the invention of agriculture in humanity’s prehistory. While creativity is a ubiquitous phenomenon across many animal species, the impact of creativity on life forms and even thinking itself seems unparalleled in humans. This chapter discusses creative thinking from the perspective of neurodesign, which is an interdisciplinary endeavor merging resources from three different domains: (i) design thinking studies on creativity, collaboration, and innovation; (ii) neuroscience; and (iii) engineering. The chapter discusses basic principles and insights pertaining to creative products, creative processes, creative people, and creative places. In each regard, examples are given of how neuroscientific and other physiological studies enhance understandings, while novel engineering solutions are by themselves creative products that can massively enhance the human scope of action.

Graphical Abstract/Art Performance

Neurodesign.

Keywords

There is little that shapes the human experience as profoundly and pervasively as creativity . Creativity drives progress in every human endeavour, from the arts to the sciences , business, and technology .

[1, p. 3]

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Notes

  1. 1.

    An influential 4P model of creativity was first introduced by Rhodes [17]. It deviates from the design thinking model especially regarding the fourth P, which in Rhodes’ model headlines “Press” rather than “Places”.

  2. 2.

    To avoid misunderstandings, we want to emphasize that “human needs” certainly include concerns for ecosystems with animals and plants. Variegated human activities in favour of fellow living creatures reflect how fundamental this concern for others is: Caring well for others is a basic human need in itself. Empathy and compassion for others—beyond humans—co-define who we are as a species.

  3. 3.

    In the modelling process, basic ideas can be identified based on how an idea is used in the community. Each idea that gives rise to an idea branch, novel combination, toolkit and/or exaptation is to be treated as a basic idea in the model. Thus, some ideas re-appear at different locations over time. E.g., a combination idea like the motor, which integrates several previously existing components, can be used as a basic idea by the community later on, i.e., as a building block for further developments.

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Acknowledgements

We thank colleague Ilia Berg in the HPI neurodesign team for the design of Figs. 2, 6, 7 and 8, as well as the Graphical Abstract and colleague Hanadi Traifeh for important contributions in the design of Fig. 4.

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Correspondence to Julia von Thienen .

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von Thienen, J., Kolodny, O., Meinel, C. (2023). Neurodesign: The Biology, Psychology, and Engineering of Creative Thinking and Innovation. In: Rezaei, N. (eds) Brain, Decision Making and Mental Health. Integrated Science, vol 12. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15959-6_29

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