How Creativity Works, and How the Patent System Thinks it Works

Oh look! I was interviewed on Radio National’s Future Tense.

Apparently I said something like this:

“Edward Jung described creativity as this process where there is a person sitting alone in a room and an idea comes to them and they send it out to the world. Now, that’s a very outmoded idea of creativity and it’s very odd, but it is a lot like the way the patent system sees creativity.

As other speakers on your show mentioned, creativity is actually a social process, it happens within and among people. Every idea is built upon the huge substructure of other ideas. As Newton said, he stood on the shoulders of giants. As do we all.

So there’s this social process going on, and when something is invented somewhere in the world it’s very likely that it is being simultaneously invented by other people.”

Edward Jung described creativity as this process where there is a person sitting alone in a room and an idea comes to them and they send it out to the world, and that’s a very outmoded idea of creativity and it’s very odd, but it is a lot like the way the patent system sees creativity. As other speakers on your show mentioned, creativity is a social process, it happens within and among people, every idea is to build upon the huge substructure of other ideas. As Newton said, he stood on the shoulders of giants, as do we all.
So there’s this social process going on, and when something is invented somewhere in the world it’s very likely that it is being simultaneously invented by other people.

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