Culture and Creativity: A Process Model



The articles in this forum present many innovative ideas on the role of culture in creativity. In this commentary, we first discuss the contributions of these articles in relation to two recurrent themes: (i) where creativity resides and (ii) what conceptual refinements are needed to push the field forward. Next, we outline a process model of creativity and explain the role of culture at each stage of knowledge creation. We argue that successful innovation involves one or more iterations of the following three stages: (i) authoring new ideas; (ii) selecting, editing, and marketing new ideas; and (iii) acceptance of the new ideas in the market. The desired outcomes are different at the different stages, and culture influences all stages of the process. Specifically, existing knowledge provides a reference point for evaluating the originality of ideas; assumed cultural consensus provides the normative basis for idea selection, editing, and marketing; and actual cultural norms determine how likely an idea will be accepted in a culture. Furthermore, different social and psychological processes are at work at different stages of the creativity process, and culture can affect the outcomes of the creativity process through its effects on these social and psychological processes.