Creativity remains an elusive term despite many studies conducted on the subject. What is it that sparks new ideas in mind? Some pieces of research have focused on the subject of creativity by looking at it as a function of individuals and their distinct characteristics. However, creativity also depends on the support network or the environment from which the individual is emerging.

Are you providing the right support network to your kid? What environment and culture are the kids coming from? These things will have a bearing on your kids’ creativity when they embark on their STEM learning journey, robotics for kids, and coding for kids.

Types of Support

In what ways will you support your kid? You certainly won’t be able to help your kid if you don’t know what to do. So, here’s what you can do

Research conducted on the artists and their network support identified two main categories of Support

1.Artefact influencing Support
2.Artist Influencing Support

Artefact influencing support impacts the artwork itself. Looking from the artist’s perspective, this type of Support includes things that are limited or exhaustible such as time.

Artist influencing Support impacts the artists. It includes things that influence the artists’ characteristics and the support that affects the art creation process.

Artefact influencing Support is further classified into two subcategories:

Implementation Support:

When artists found it difficult to implement a task due to a lack of resources, they recruited members from their support network. Implementation support is classified into two types:

Expertise and Labor

Artists who lacked specific expertise to complete an artwork hired outside experts. Such experts were often required for interdisciplinary tasks. When artists were required to take a picture of a drawing from above using a drone, they hired someone expert in flying a drone.

Sometimes, the artists possessed the expertise to do something but required a helping hand to complete the task. It is known as labour support. Collaboration was essential as it would be impossible to finish the job alone.

Ideation Support:

Ideation is referred to as exposing oneself to new ideas and deriving inspiration. These ideation sessions were like a critic providing genuine feedback on the artefact, which led to surprising improvement that the artists wouldn’t have achieved alone.

Both ideation and implementation are closely related. Ideation involves thinking, which impacts the formation of the artefact and the outcome achieved through the idea’s implementation.

Artists Influencing Support is classified into two:

Managing Support

Managing Support involves providing organizational help to the artists to help them execute the task. It consists of dividing the responsibilities, who does what in the artefact creation process or recruiting more people to help the artists expand their support network. This function is like the role of a CEO in an organization where the top executive ensures all the things are happening smoothly but doesn’t take part in the actual work.

Teaching Support

Teaching includes educating the artists with new tools and techniques. This learning can occur through a mentor or a demonstration of a new approach. The result is that artists may gain expertise in a new area, get new ideas and be able to perform tasks more efficiently.

The Individual Vs Group Paradox

What we understand from above is that a good support network improves the quality of the creative output.

It has been a frequent theme in all studies that a support network is essential for enhancing creative productivity and performance. The Support can come from parents, teachers, or the organization. It is emphasized that no one did it alone.

However, is it entirely true? If so, why does the US, a robust individualistic society, rank so high on the innovation index and the number of patents filed?

Another strand of study talks about the group vs individual paradox in creativity. As Abraham Maslow mentions in his hierarchy of needs, we need to belong, to be part of the group. We need this sense of belonging for our emotional stability. This can subvert our need to be different.

At the same time, humans also have an innate desire to stand out, to be distinctive, and be known for their unique abilities. Some psychoanalysts believe that the need to be creative stems from this need to be unique. When we acknowledge our individuality or our dissimilarities from others, our thoughts travel through new cognitive paths.

This individualist culture and the need for personal achievement have probably landed America on the top of many creativity and innovation charts.

Brainstorming, a concept closely associated with the creative process, has also been a dampener of innovative ideas, as many studies show. Individuals can develop more ideas independently than when they brainstorm as part of a group.

A middle way to solve this individual vs group paradox would be to let individuals first contemplate alone. It is followed up with a group brainstorming session where the ideas are critiqued and evaluated for their merits, and new ideas are built on the original contributions.

What Should Parents Do?

Now that you know what supports to provide and also the individual vs group paradox, you know what to do during your kid’s STEM learning and robotics and coding for kids activities.
Give the required Support but also give them the space for the ideas to flow and flourish. Doing too much can produce negative results in finding the right mix.

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