Knowing with New Media


Stages of the Creative Ripplework

Combinational creativity Exploratory creativity

Transformational creativity

Combinational, exploratory and transformational creativity

Three types of creativity — combinational, exploratory and transformational (CET) — have been distinguished by Margaret Boden (2013, p. 5). If bisociation, cross-fertilisation, unexpected likeness and unusual juxtapositions are suggested in the Ripples as strategic guides for creativity, CET categories are seen as three levels of creative achievement.

The combinational level is the most widely used type of everyday creativity and best recognised in the study of creativity. Combinational creativity (CC) is oriented to the ‘generation of unfamiliar combinations from familiar ideas’ (p. 6). The DIY feature is essential at this stage
as it sets the tone for the knowing process which is personal growth rather than conformity to the established norms. CC creativity is propelled by the deep remixability method, where the answers
to questions with the common denominator 'What if?' are found in
the remixing of elements across various media, disparate concepts
and diverse techniques.

Exploratory creativity (EC) goes beyond gathering and remixing.
As identified by Boden (p. 6), EC is distinguished by generating novel structures from the existing rules and conventions. In the Ripples,
the EC stage is associated with the practice of bricolage, a methodology
of working with what one has at hand, and the heterogeneous repertoire
generated during the CC stage. Students narrow down the preliminary manipulated data, distilling it to a more specific topic of their interest
and aligning it closer to the objectives of the learning task. The 'What if?' question becomes more definitive in terms of its relational interdependence between the cross-fertilised elements as well as the integration of a specific symbolic domain(s) that becomes
more articulated.

Transformational creativity (TC), according to Boden, ‘is the most arresting of the three. Indeed, it leads to “impossibilist” surprise, wherein the novel idea appears to be not merely new, not even merely strange, but impossible’ (Boden, 2013, p. 6). In the Ripples, transformational processes are concerned with cognitive, emotional and interpersonal growth. The progress of self-design is expressed through making informed choices, developing intelligent ideas and evaluating individual beliefs in relation to natural and socio-cultural reality – these are indicators of students' learning.

TC emerges from exploratory creativity. It is in striving for impossibility within personal capacities that students reach transformational stages
in themselves and thus affect their surroundings.


Oshin Vartanian


Carolyn Edwards &
Lella Gandini


Mark A. Runco



The Ripples Creativity Model

The Ripples' creativity is modeled on the topological principles of organisation. Not to be confused with topography, which is the study of the surface of objects, topology refers to the study of objects' deformation,
for example by stretching without tearing
and gluing.

The Ripples' creativity supported by divergence convergence feedback looping, results in non-linear, complex circularity in which the loops overlap and produce overtonal montage effects.

This overlapping occurs through an application of creative strategies:

• Codes Matrices

• Collision of Incompatible Codes:

bisociation unusual juxtaposition

bisociation cross-fertilisation

bisociation unexpected likeness

• Artist Jester Sage

– as well as divergent convergent progression from:

• Combinational – Deep remixability

• Exploratory – Bricolage

• Transformational – Self-design creativity

Stages of the Creative Ripplework

Combinational creativity Exploratory creativity Transformational creativity.




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