To Know the Way to the Unknown: A Semi-Experimental Study on the Implication of Skills and Knowledge for Creative Processes in Higher Education
From a theoretical perspective, expertise is generally considered a precondition for creativity. The assumption is that an individual needs to master the common and accepted rules and techniques within a certain knowledge-domain in order to create something new and valuable. However, real life cases, and a limited amount of empirical studies, demonstrate that this assumption may be overly simple. In this article, this question is explored through a number of semi-experimental case studies conducted within the fields of music, technology, and youth culture. The studies indicate that, in various ways, expertise plays an important part in creative processes. However, the case studies also indicate that expertise sometimes leads to an entrenched perspective, in the sense that knowledge and experience may work as a path into the well-known rather than into the unknown. In this article, these issues are explored with reference to different theoretical approaches to creativity and learning, including actor-network theory, the theory of blind variation and selective retention, and Csikszentmihalyi’s system model. Finally, some educational aspects and implications of this are discussed.