Conceptual Combination versus Critical Combination:Devising Creative Solutions using the Sequential Application of Crowds


The purpose of this study was to examine the steps involved in the sequential application of crowds to produce creative solutions for social problems. 127 university students generated, criticized, modified, and evaluated text solutions for reducing misinformation on the Internet. One crowd generated solutions based on two ideas randomly paired from previous crowds’ ideas. The other crowd came up with solutions based on one idea and a criticism for this idea generated by previous crowds. Whereas solutions based on two ideas were on average rated more creative than those based on an idea and criticisms, the five most creative solutions that addressed criticisms were rated significantly more creative than the five most creative ideas that combined two ideas. We conclude that a critical crowd can be useful if the goal is to collect a small number of highly creative ideas using the sequential application of crowds.

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