Exploring Creativity in the Design Process: A Systems-semiotic Perspective

Cybernetics and Human Knowing 14 (1):37-64 (2007)
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Abstract

This paper attempts to establish a systems-semiotic framework explaining creativity in the design process, where the design process is considered to have as its basis the cognitive process. The design process is considered as the interaction between two or more cognitive systems resulting in a purposeful and ongoing transformation of their already complex representational structures and the production of newer ones, in order to fulfill an ill-defined goal. Creativity is considered as the result of an emergence of organizational complexity in each cognitive system participating in the design process, while it is trying to purposefully incorporate new constraints in its meaning structures. The meanings generated in each system are identified as the contingent and anticipatory content of its representations, and where self-organization is the dominant process in which they are continuously involved. Furthermore, Peircean semiotic processes appear to provide the functionality needed by the emergent representational structures in order to complete the cycle of a creative design process. Creativity originates in the abductive stage of the semiotic process, the fallible nature of which is maintained in the proposed framework by the fact that the respective emergent representations can be misfits. The nodal points of the framework are identified and analyzed showing that a cognitive system needs the whole interactive anticipatory cycle in order to engage in a creative design process.

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Argyris Arnellos
University of the Basque Country