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Keywords:

  • creativity;
  • Gaia theory;
  • mental models;
  • organizational learning;
  • paradigm change;
  • sustainability

ABSTRACT

This article argues that creativity and organizational learning can help to challenge the traditional Newtonian and Cartesian mental models and foster more sustainable societies. The recognition and acceptance of creativity by individuals, groups, organizations, and finally society can create new knowledge and metanoia. Creativity helps to break through the knowledge barrier of current reductionist mental models, while learning helps to consolidate and institutionalize the new mental models. This is especially the case where learning questions underlying assumptions and develops new theories and methodologies that constantly challenge the status quo for the present and the future, instead of mere reaction to immediate problems. Eventually, these mental models would need to be questioned by future creative thinkers in a continuous process; hence, solving today's problems with tomorrow's ideas, and ensuring progress towards more sustainable societies. The paper takes the example of Gaia theory to illustrate how creativity can be institutionalized. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment