Skip to main content

Communication for Development and Social Change Through Creativity

  • 254 Accesses


As we celebrate the 80th year of the successful Marshall plan, it is unfortunate that practitioners and scholars have struggled, since: to achieve the same level of success in development and social change efforts. This indicates a need to seriously assess the field and even introduce new and unique approaches to boost the efficacy of such efforts. But there is a general neglect of creativity in the field of communication for development and social change. Creativity is a powerful force with tremendous potential to enhance efficacy of development and social change efforts. A gardening analogy is apt to elaborate on the value and role of creativity in communication for development and social change. Imagine you have a piece of fertile soil where you are trying to grow a garden. You have good seeds, you sow them at the right depth, you water them, and you ensure that they receive appropriate balance between shade and sunlight. Despite everything, only half the seeds germinate leaving the idea of a flourishing garden biting the dust. This is the state of communication for development and social change. However, the one thing missing here was tilling. Tilling allows movement (upward and downward) and breathing, enabling and empowering a seed to transform into an independent plant. The element of tilling in gardening is what creativity is to communication for development and social change. Before the initiation of communication for development effort, planners and executioners should ensure the tilling of the soil, which translates to increasing creativity index of the target community or individuals because a creative individual or a creative community is relatively more open to the existence and acceptance of alternate or new ideas and behaviors. Creativity can substantially aid development and social change efforts because of its organic fit with the values of dialogue, participation, empowerment, social justice, and equality.


  • Social Change Efforts
  • Global Creativity Index
  • Creativity Enhancement
  • Communication Campaigns
  • Water, Sanitation And Hygiene (WASH)

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  • Amabile TM (1997) Entrepreneurial creativity through motivational synergy. J Creat Behav 31(1):18–26

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bungay H, Vella-Burrows T (2013) The effects of participating in creative activities on the health and well-being of children and young people: a rapid review of the literature. Perspect Public Health 133(1):44–52

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Coholic D, Eys M, Lougheed S (2012) Investigating the effectiveness of an arts-based and mindfulness-based group program for the improvement of resilience in children in need. J Child Fam Stud 21(5):833–844

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Csikszentmihalyi M (1996) Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. Harper Collins Publications, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Florida R, Mellander C, King K (2015) The global creativity index 2015. Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia-Ros R, Talaya I, Perez-Gonzalez F (2012) The process of identifying gifted children in elementary education: teachers’ evaluations of creativity. Sch Psychol Int 33(6):661–672

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • George L, Yagnik A (2017) Creative aerobics: fueling imagination in the 21st century. Sage Publishers, New Delhi

    Google Scholar 

  • Greene RR, Hantman S, Sharabi A, Cohen H (2012) Holocaust survivors: three waves of resilience research. J Evid Based Soc Work 9(5):481–497

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jin Nam C, Anderson TA, Veillette A (2009) Contextual inhibitors of employee creativity in organizations: the insulating role of creative ability. Group Org Manag 34(3):330–357

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kern F (2010) What chief executives really want. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from

  • Kienitz E, Quintin E, Saggar M, Bott NT, Royalty A, Hong DW, Liu N, Chien Y, Hawthorne G, Reiss AL (2014) Targeted intervention to increase creative capacity and performance: a randomized controlled pilot study. Think Skills Creat 13:57–66

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lynch M, Sloane G, Sinclair C, Bassett R (2013) Resilience and art in chronic pain. Arts Health 5(1):51–67

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mefalopulos P (2008) Development communication sourcebook: broadening the boundaries of communication. The World Bank, Washington, DC

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Metzl ES (2009) The role of creative thinking in resilience after hurricane Katrina. Psychol Aesthet Creat Arts 3(2):112–123

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pace VL, Brannick MT (2010) Improving prediction of work performance through frame-of-reference consistency: empirical evidence using openness to experience. Int J Sel Assess 18(2):230–235

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Reiter-Palmon R, Mumford MD, Threlfall KV (1998) Solving everyday problems creatively: the role of problem construction and personality type. Creat Res J 11(3):187–197

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Romer P (1986) Increasing returns and long-run growth. J Polit Econ 90:1002–1037

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Runco M (2014) Creativity theories and themes: research, development, and practice, 2nd edn. Elseiver, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Sternberg R (2018) A triangular theory of creativity. Psychol Aesthet Creat Arts 12(1):50–67

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Arpan Yagnik .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Yagnik, A. (2018). Communication for Development and Social Change Through Creativity. In: Servaes, J. (eds) Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change. Springer, Singapore.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-10-7035-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-10-7035-8

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Literature, Cultural & Media StudiesReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences