Keynote Address: There Are No Rules For Creativity [PSFK NYC 2012]

Clay Shirky Of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) explains how he is constantly reevaluating what he thought he knew about creative practices as he encounters new projects.

At the PSFK CONFERENCE NYC 2012 on Friday, our diverse lineup of speakers are sharing valuable insights and ideas about technology, business and creativity.

Keynote speaker Clay Shirky  discussed “New Ideas From Recent Possibilities.”

Clay Shirky is a writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. He has a joint appointment at New York University (NYU) as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and Assistant Arts Professor in the New Media focused graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). His courses address, among other things, the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture and vice-versa.

At Friday’s event Clay discussed five key ITP student projects and the unconventional learnings that he took from them. From connected, computer-sensitive squeezable mud to an interactive harp-like instrument that people had to climb into to play, Clay commented on how more general creative principles could be drawn out from these out-of-the-box ideas.

Learnings About Creativity:

  • Use interestingness as a design probe
  • Take a technology in search of a product, use tools we have and apply them something new to it
  • Space in between silly and serious is incredibly important. Take existing elements and combine in new ways to make a combinations of systems
  • Design your creative space to reward serendipity (in public)
  • ITP expands people ideas of what constitutes raw materials. The physical space of the program is a raw material — walls, floors, etc.
  • Contradict everything put forward about creativity.

Clay concluded his talk by saying that no matter what we think we know:

There are no rules around creativity.

Clay Shirky / @cshirky

ITP

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