Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Existing knowledge is a vital prerequisite for creativity. It provides a central source of inspiration for new ideas and determines the pathways available for creative problem solving. Notwithstanding its indisputable role, knowledge may also compromise creativity. The human mind is prone to reproduce what it is used to, and the provision of explicit knowledge constitutes a potential inhibitor of imagination. Hence, IT systems supporting creative work have to support creative individuals by extending their personal knowledge while, at the same time, preventing them from merely walking down beaten tracks. In this article, grounded in theory on human cognition and literature on creativity support, we propose a design theory for IT systems that support both convergent and divergent thinking, that is, the central cognitive processes in creative work. We provide details on a prototypical implementation, discuss an illustrative case from the creative industries in order to demonstrate the design’s applicability, and outline plans for an empirical evaluation of the proposed design theory.





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