Tips & Facts

Bound at the Hip: Technology and Creativity

Are you a left brain or a right brain person? Creative or logical? Artsy or technical?

This sort of dualistic thinking is common in everyday conversation. People pride themselves on being one way or the other. However, according to postdoctoral fellow Roger Beaty at Harvard University, this type of thinking is actually a lingering myth.

Using a recently developed method in functional brain imaging analysis, Beaty found that creativity relies on a network of various parts of the brain. It relies on the connectivity of three different brain areas (not simply right or left); the default mode network, the salience network and the executive network. A creative person engages all three areas in beautiful synchronicity to solve problems.

And problem solving is the reason that we as a civilization have most of the technology that’s around today.

Combining Technology and Creativity

It has been happening since the creation of our world’s simplest technological achievements. As humans, we see a problem—we are unable to break open a coconut, the antelope are too far away or too fast for us to catch, this load of wood is too heavy to carry—and then we create technology to solve the problem—the hammer, the spear, the wheel. Eureka!

Technology and creativity go hand in hand. In fact, according to Business Insider, creativity is ranked 3rd in the top skills that employers seek, moved up from 10th in 2015. This is especially true for tech companies. Employers want creative people who can apply new tech to new products and services. Tech companies will go out of their way to try and encourage more creativity in their employees.

So it’s easy to see how creativity influences technology, but the two have a mutually beneficial relationship. Modern available tech makes a heavy impression on creativity as well.

According to a Bentley article, creativity is a measurable quality. “We are all capable of being creative,” according to Monica Garfield, PhD, a computer information systems professor at Bentley. “With the use of the correct tools our innate skills can be enhanced and harnessed.”

Technology now plays a role in creative group settings. People creatively brainstorming for a project can express their ideas far more quickly and simultaneously through web forums and social media sites, rather than face-to-face meetings.

The social media world is also a place where artists can now share their individual work and artistic ideas online to mass populations, which breaks down conventional barriers.

According to studies from the Pew Research Center, art organizations tend to agree that “…the internet and social media have ‘increased engagement’ and made art a more participatory experience, and that they have helped make ‘arts audiences more diverse.’ They also tend to agree that the internet has ‘played a major role in broadening the boundaries of what is considered art.’”

Computing and Art

Technology and creativity also join hands in the digital and graphic arts world. Computing has expanded the fields of architecture, art, the history of art, music, theater studies and many other areas.

Digital technologies are promoted as tools of artistic expression and have led to the creation of many different tools and apps that have become ever more accessible to the average person.

Digital art tools like Corel Painter, Rebelle and of course the more well-known Adobe Photoshop allow artists to expand their pallet and work in ways never before possible.

The video game industry continues to grow and is a perfect example of modern technology meeting creativity. Artists, animators, designers, developers and composers are all needed in video game production and all need to have some sense of creativity. Video game designers are allowed to be more and more creative and create more developed virtual worlds as technology continues to develop.

In the world of architecture, computing is necessary. Modern design tools like augmented reality and virtual reality can be used to give clients a better idea of what a finished building will look like. But according to a quote from Madeline Dring in Architecture Today, virtual reality technology has “quickly become a powerful design tool that can be used early on in the design process.”

The interweaving of technology and creativity has reached a point where it is hard to tell which causes which, a sort of chicken-and-the-egg situation.

The quick advance of art accessibility does cause concern for some within the art community. Worries include: shorter attention spans of audiences, the collapse of traditional art displaying methods such as museums, live music and even books which are being replaced with e-books (even this blog post isn’t found in any physical paper format).

However, humans may just need to learn how to adapt to the change. The benefits that results from joining new technology and creativity outweigh any negative side effects.

The Benefits We Don’t Notice

It’s really quite amazing to see the connection between technology and creativity, especially at the larger level, but there are also smaller benefits that often go unnoticed.

Think about the amount of time that is saved just from the basic appliances we have today. For instance, hours are no longer wasted with a washboard scrubbing clothes by hand. Just pop ‘em in the machine. Cooking is faster. Information is delivered faster. Basically, all of the leisure time that allows us to have a creative space is due to the progression of technology.

And just as this free time allowed for the exponential creation of further new technologies, so too the digital world frees people to be more creative and build off of the latest technologies. It’s something we don’t really think about once the access is there. When was the last time you thought about how convenient it really is to be able to check your e-mail through your phone?

An article from the International Youth Foundation stresses the importance of creativity as a life skill. We are living in an age with an unprecedented rate of change. Creativity coupled with complex problem-solving skills allows for the understanding of information and the ability to make decisions as dynamics shift rapidly.

Being resilient in the face of this quickly evolving world requires creativity and the right frame of mind. Access to the latest technology allows people to build off of the old ways more effectively and find their place in the new world.

Creativity in this new world of technology is essential and to be creative within it requires an understanding of technology. The two concepts are tightly intertwined, just like the wrinkles of the mind.