Friday, April 6, 2012

A Collaborative Creative

I feel as though it is common to categorize creativity into certain stereotypes in one's mind. There are the creative artists, those who see things differently in empirical art and seek to express themselves in a new way. There are creative inventors, those who create novel and useful tools to help make life easier or more fun for other people, and there are people who stumble into creativity, and just end up doing something that no one has done before. An example of a creative artist is Danielson, a creative inventor is Steve Jobs, and I think the Z-Boys kind of stumbled upon creativity in spite of themselves. And yet, sometimes, creativity cannot be compartmentalized or categorized, as it grows out of one particular field or genre and spreads like wildfire to become an entire social movement. This is the case for the collaborative creative movement known as recycling.

The recycling movement began in the 1960s,  a time when people started to care more about the dwindling resources of the world. It was realized that the world--especially Americans-- were consuming too much of the world's resources too fast, and if we didn't slow down or make a change our children and children's children would be forced to live with less resources, eventually none at all. The recycling movement was both novel and unique--no one had ever before seriously considered the strange notion of sorting garbage into different seemed absurd at the time. There had been minor recycling initiatives in the past, but no one had thought to make it so mainstream and of such vital importance.

The most amazing thing about the recycling movement is that in its very nature it is a collaborative effort. Not one person can be said to have "invented" recycling. Although one person can do his part to recycle, one person throwing his can in the recycling bin as opposed to the trash can will not save the world entire. In order for recycling to have any meaning it must be accepted and done by many. This sort of collaboration, however, is different from collaboration we have studied so far. In most collaborative processes there are many people working together, sometimes under a leader, sometimes on equal footing, to brainstorm creative ideas. This was the case in the Bennis article, and the Brothers Danielson. It is so common to create a creative network. But in the case of recycling, that network must be the world, constantly working together to make our planet cleaner and more livable.

I think there are many who would argue that recycling is not a creative initiative. But the recycling movement was both novel and appropriate, and has come to play an essential role in taking care of our planet. It is an answer to a problem that the world faces, and though it cannot solve every problem it has been successful in diminishing the non-disposable waste products in our world, and every little bit helps.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is definitely a unique take on the concepts of both collaboration and recycling. In our lifetime, recycling is such a common, everyday thing, that we don't really realize that there was a time when it was not just uncommon, but nonexistent. The pioneers of the movement were likely considered as crazy and were probably initially as little accepted as many of our creatives, before people realized how truly necessary their movement was. It is also interesting to think of how in a sense, we are all collaborators on a daily basis, every time we toss something into the recycle. While we are not creative when we throw something out, nor were we initially creative, we are a part of something that must have been the result of a very unique and creative worldview.


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