Accessing the Digital Muse

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Accessing the Digital Muse a Grounded Theory Advertising Creativity
Habib, Sabrina H
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (121 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Mass Communication
Journalism and Communications
Committee Chair:
Duke, Lisa Lee
Committee Members:
Goodman, Jennifer Robyn Potter
Treise, Deborah M
Vega, Sergio G
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Advertising research ( jstor )
Brainstorming ( jstor )
Computer technology ( jstor )
Creativity ( jstor )
Educational research ( jstor )
Grounded theory method ( jstor )
Inspiration ( jstor )
Muses ( jstor )
Personal computers ( jstor )
Software ( jstor )
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
advertising -- creativity -- groundedtheory -- technology
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Mass Communication thesis, Ph.D.


Digital interactive media and software have permeated almost every aspect of the advertising industry, and have the potential to profoundly affect the ways advertising creative students and professionals generate and develop ideas.  A rapidly changing industry imposes significant changes on educators seeking to provide students with skills that will make them viable players in the advertising profession.  This study provides insight into the role of technology within the creative process in the advertising educational context.  Many questions guided this inquiry.  How are radical changes in the communications industries changing the way we teach and learn creatively?  How is technology changing the brainstorming and the collaborative process in advertising creativity?  How are students in advertising creative classes using technology in their creative process? One of the ongoing challenges of digital work in advertising is the need to work with difficult-to-predict, ever-evolving media.  Participants were students recruited from schools that have been recognized for superior preparation and placement of their graduates in increasingly competitive advertising creative jobs.  The decision to focus on these educational settings came from the desire to learn from emerging professionals who were raised with access to SIT (Software and Internet RelatedTechnologies), and from teachers, who for the most part had to adapt to the presence of SIT in their lives.  This study seeks to provide a foundation for future research related to technology in advertising creative environments. ( en )
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Adviser: Duke, Lisa Lee.
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Statement of Responsibility:
by Sabrina H Habib.

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884960860 ( OCLC )
LD1780 2013 ( lcc )


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2013 Sabrina Helal Habib 2


To Jeff, Felipe, and Oliver 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am eternally grateful my husband Jeff for providing endless love, support and dedication. Jeff truly deserves an honorary doctorate from this process. I would like to thank my children, Felipe and Oliver for reasons words cannot express; my parents Gloria and Tuffy as well as Carlo and Tania for cheering and believ ing in me; my siblings Leandro, Ana Paula, Isaac, and Luca; Sydney Williams for being an exemplar and loving mother and grandmother; and finally my beloved friends (you know who you are but I doubt you will actually read this) who made me laugh when I needed most. A very special thanks to my mentor Dr. Lisa Duke-Cornell who made sure I could succeed through every step, and who became a cherished friend. I would also like to thank Dr. Treise for being a role model for her work ethics and dedication, and for racing me to the top of the stairs in Santorini which I took as a life lesson. I would like to thank Dr. Goodman, who has been very welcoming and s upportive. F inally I would like to thank Sergio Vega for participating in the completion of yet another degree. 4


TABLE OF CONTENTS p age ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................ 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 12 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 15 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 15 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ 16 Research Focus ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 16 Research Questions ................................ ................................ .............................. 19 Rationale For Study ................................ ................................ ............................... 19 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ............ 22 Theories of Creativity and Advertising ................................ ................................ ... 22 Teaching Advertising Creativity ................................ ................................ ............. 26 Confluence Culture ................................ ................................ ......................... 26 Challenges ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 27 Natives And Immigrants ................................ ................................ .................. 29 Theories Of Creative Process ................................ ................................ ................ 31 Divergence ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 32 Motivation ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 33 Systemic Theory Of Creativity ................................ ................................ ......... 35 Flow ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 37 Performance And Mastery ................................ ................................ ............... 39 Collaboration and the Creative Process ................................ ................................ 40 Brainstorming ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 40 Electronic Brainstorming ................................ ................................ ................. 41 Culture And Diversity ................................ ................................ ...................... 43 Flow And Collaboration ................................ ................................ ................... 44 Creativity And The Environment ................................ ................................ ............ 46 Social Environment ................................ ................................ ......................... 46 Physical Environment ................................ ................................ ...................... 48 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 50 5


Origins Of Grounded Theory ................................ ................................ ................. 50 Constructivist Approach ................................ ................................ ......................... 57 Research Approaches ................................ ................................ ........................... 59 Method Vs. Methodology ................................ ................................ ................. 61 Theoretical Sensitivity ................................ ................................ ............................ 62 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 64 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 65 Types Of data ................................ ................................ ................................ 66 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ 66 Non-Participant Observation ................................ ................................ ..... 67 Documents ................................ ................................ ............................... 68 Role Of The Researcher ................................ ................................ ........................ 68 4 ANALYSIS OF THE DATA ................................ ................................ .................... 71 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 71 Inductive Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 74 5 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 79 Stages Of The Creative Process ................................ ................................ ........... 80 Accessing The Digital Muse: A Grounded Theory Of Advertising Creativity ........... 82 Seeking Information And Inspiration ................................ ................................ 84 Brainst orming ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 88 Producing The Idea ................................ ................................ ......................... 91 Dissemination ................................ ................................ ................................ 93 Diagram of Accessing The Digital Muse: A Grounded Theory Of Advertising Creativity ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 94 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 95 Relationship to Cskszentmihlyis Theory Of The Creative Process ............... 96 Evaluation Of A Grounded Theory ................................ ................................ 100 Balancing Creative Thinking And Technical Skills ................................ ......... 102 6 CONCL USIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 105 Research Contributions And Implications ................................ ............................ 106 Academic Contributions ................................ ................................ ................ 106 Didactic Contributions ................................ ................................ ................... 1 08 Research Limitations ................................ ................................ ........................... 109 Directions For Future Research ................................ ................................ ........... 110 Closing Remarks ................................ ................................ ................................ 111 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................ 113 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ......................... 121 6


LIST OF TABLES 4 -1 Table of Concepts ................................ ................................ .............................. 73 4 -2 From Data to Concepts ................................ ................................ ...................... 76 4 -3 Examples of data and concepts ................................ ................................ ......... 77 7


LIST OF FIGURES 1 -1 Technology and the Advertising Cycle ................................ ............................... 18 2 -1 Systemic Theory of Creativity by Cskszentmihlyi (1998, p. 315). .................... 35 2 -2 Bergh and Stuhlfaut (1996) classification of participants in the advertising process categorized by components of the Systemic Theory of Creativity Model (p. 328). ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 37 2 -3 The Performance Model of Advertising Students Creative Process by Griffin (2008) ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 40 3 -1 Components of a research design, Birks and Mills (2011, p.4). .......................... 62 4 -1 Screenshot of Studiocode, partici pant face blurred to protect identity. ............... 72 4 -2 Inductive Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ...................... 75 4 -3 Mind map and drawing used during inductive analysis ................................ ....... 76 5 -1 Accessing The Digital Muse Model ................................ ................................ .... 83 5 -2 Seeking ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 85 5 -3 Brainstorming ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 89 5 -4 Producing ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 92 5 -5 Disseminating ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 93 5 -6 Model of the advertising creative process proposed by The Digital Muse .......... 95 8


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS Adv. Creatives Professionals who hold jobs in creative departments at advertising agencies. The traditional duo of creatives in advertising has always been and still is the collaborative partnership of the art director and the copywriter. The creative director oversees the duo, and in many cases pairs them up based on the nature of the job. Brief a written statement that gives the creative team a blueprint for creating an ad, a campaign, or other advertising tasks. A creative brief includes information about the target audience, competition (both direct and indirect), the rationale, the unique selling proposition, or/and suggestions from the client. In advertising creative courses a brief usually informs assignments that are given to st udents. When used properly, the brief can reduce the time and cost associated with the creation of advertising ideas since it requires all th e key participants to agree on important factors at the beginning of the project. The brief helps the creative team develop a strategy and focus. Creativity The ability to think in ways that solve problems through original and unexpected solutions. Digita l Ideation A Grounded Theory of Developing Advertising Creative Innovation innovation is a product of creativity, and therefore creative thinking leads to innovation. SIT Software and Internet Related Technologies is defined by both the use of software (e.g., Photoshop), and digital means of communications such as video-conferencing, Internet search, apps, and social media. 9


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ACCESSING THE DIGITAL MUSE: A GROUNDED THEORY OF ADVERTISING CREATIV ITY By Sabrina Helal Habib May 2013 Chair: Lisa Duke-Cornell Major: Mass Communication Digital interactive media and software have permeated almost every aspect of the advertising industry, and have the potential to profoundly affect the ways advertising creative students and professionals generate and develop ideas. A rapidly changing industry imposes significant changes on educators seeking to provide students with skills that will make them viable players in the advertising profession. This study provides insight into the role of technology within the creative process in the advertising educational context. Many questions guided this inquiry. How are radical changes in the communications industries changing the way we teach and learn creatively? How is technology changing the brainstorming and the collaborative process in advertising creativity? How are students in advertising creative classes using technology in their creative process? One of the ongoing challenges of digital work in advertising is the need to work with difficult -to -predict, ever -evolving media. Participants were st udents recruited from schools that have been recognized for superior preparation and placement of their graduates in increasingly competitive advertising creative jobs. The decision to focus 10


on these educational settings came from the desire to learn from emerging professionals who were raised with access to SIT (Software and Internet Related Technologies), and from teachers, who for the most part had to adapt to the presence of SIT in their lives. This study seeks to provide a foundation for future research related to technology in advertising creative environments. 11


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Digital interactive media have permeated every aspect of day -to -day life, but questions remain as to the role they play in building and sustaining creativity. Advertising and other industries are currently experiencing profound changes due to their need t o adapt to emerging technologies. The purpose of this research is to examine the role of technologies such as Internet and software in the generation of advertising ideas, and the implications for teaching advertising creative courses. A rapidly changing industry imposes significant transformations on educators seeking to provide students with skills to make them viable players in the advertising profession. As educators, we are charged with keeping abreast of changes that are not only altering the media landscape, but also the ways students work with us and with each other. Sheehan and Morrison (2009) stated: The advertising industry, largely governed by decades -old paradigms, continues to wrestle with the challenges of this digital realm (p. 40). The old paradigms they refer to are traditional media such as print, TV, and radio, for which scholars have developed extensive research and proven lesson plans. For emerging professionals to be successful, they will need to understand confluence culture, have the ability to adapt to rapid changes, and have a new range of creative skills. Confluence culture, for media industries, is the situation where traditional methods of work adapt to embrace the new reality of interactive content. Instead of agencies focusing on providing the correct message regardless of the media channel, confluence culture recognizes the importance of providing ways for agencies, clients, and consumers to create messages about a brand (Sheehan & Morrison, 2009 p.1) 12


One of the challenges of the digital realm is the need to work with new, ever evolving media. An ad created for a traditional medium such as television might be transformed into a YouTube video, go viral on Facebook, or become embedded in someones blog. Creating for new media platforms has introduced new products, such as games and apps, as well as new strategies to advertising creatives work. Technology is not only changing creative media, it offers software that allows intricate executions and interactive ideas to com e alive. Such software is also available to consumers, who have been slowly developing a participatory creative culture through user -generated content (e.g., Deuze, 2007; Jarrett, 2010; Jenkins, 2006). New forms of interaction with consumers demand unique conceptual and strategic approaches. Interacting with consumers on social media web sites has become standard practice for companies. New avenues for advertisers have grown. Among them are video games, mobile applications, product placements, and user generated content contests (Dijck, 2009). With that in mind, this research will explore questions that address dramatic changes in the industry and their implications for pedagogical approaches, such as: Have advertising creative professionals changed the way they create ideas due to technological advances? Have advertising creative classrooms adapted to incorporate evolving technologies? Exciting possibilities have become available through technology, such as collaboration tools that enable people to wor k together from anywhere in the world and the use of crowdsourcing by agencies. Crowdsourcing can mean three different things depending on the context. One context is when brands request creative ads made by consumers, also known as user generated content (UGC). Another context is 13


outsourcing professional creative services traditionally performed by employees. For example, an agency might find a unique copywriter in France that seems to match the profile of an art director in Australia and pair them up t o work on a project. The web site does exactly that and has served agencies such as Ogilvy, TBWA and Taxi. Giant Hydra contains a pool of professionals for cr eative directors to choose from; participants in the talent pool call themsel ves Mass Collaboration Unit. Finally, there is a kind of crowdsourcing that are open to professionals, students, and consumers equally. Graphic designers of all proficiency levels have a chance to be hired on a freelance basis through sites like www.crow to outsource logos, designs, or other creative promotional materials To hire someone you enter a description of your project, set the price you are willing to pay, set a deadline, and wait for entries from around the world. The average for cr is 800 submissions per project. After the deadline, the customer pays one out of 800 or so submissions and the project is done, while the other 799 people worked for no monetary compensation. The creative process in advertising is based on developing an idea and then implementing it, most often on a computer. This balancing act requires both conceptual and technical skills to be at their best, especially in an increasingly competitive industry where consumers and amateurs alike are finding t heir place in the advertising process This study investigated how technologies such as the Internet and production software plays a role in the creative process of students who need to hone and excel at both concept and techniques to enter a competitive and ever -changing industry. More than a tool for production, the computer has become a means of entertainment, social 14


engagement, information, and creation. Technology has provided us with access to more information and ideas than ever before; we are at a tipping point in any creative field where real world skills are constantly redefined. Methods This section briefly outlines the methodology used in this study. To read in-depth accounts of the methodology please refer to Chapter 3. This study employs a qualitative approach to understand how technology has transformed the development of advertising creativity. Participants Seven educational institutions were chosen to participate in this study. Since each institution has a different approach to technology in their classrooms, they will provide unique sources of data. Creswell (2007) defines qualitative research as an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of investigation that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting (p. 15). Schools for inclusion in this study were selected based on their superior preparation and placement of students in competitive advertising agencies. Portfolio schools were the best match for my criteria, with the exception of a few colleges and universities that have highly distinguished creative advertising tracks and successful job placement. Portfolio schools are educational institutions that offer creative advertising programs ranging fro m 15 months to two years. Portfolio schools do not offer degrees or certifications; instead, students education culminates with a book (portfolio) they can use to pursue creative jobs. As the participating schools focus heavily on job placement 15


and have continuous connections with the advertising industry, their pedagogical approach has the potential to lend valuable insights to traditional academic settings. The decision to interview both students and faculty came from the desire to understand if there is a generation gap between those who grew up with technology and those who evolved to incorporate technology in their creative endeavors. Data C ollection I gathered data through indepth interviews, classroom observations, student work, and memos (that I wrote). Semi -structured in-depth interviews were conducted with both students and instructors. Indepth interviews enabled deep exploration of the subject under study and are regarded as a valuable method for gathering data for interpretive research (Charmaz, 2006). Classroom observation provided the opportunity to see students and teachers interacting. The approaches to balancing technology and ideation skills were observed within the classroom interaction, providing meaningful insight. In addition to the interviews, the students were asked for work in progress (assignments from classes) as well as finished work that illuminated their creative process. Analysis of this information informed the data collection process, adding questions or topics addres sed during subsequent interviews, as well as revealing significant embedded meanings (Charmaz, 2006). The process continued until theoretical saturation was reached; meaning no significant insights were gained with freshly collected data (Glaser, 1978; Gl aser & Strauss, 1967). Research Focus The broad research areas of this study are creativity and technology. The goal of this study is to gain an in-depth understanding of the role SIT (software and internet related technology) plays in the advertising cre ative process and how/if it has changed 16


their creative process. Subsequently, if SIT has indeed changed the creative process, did it develop in a way that requires changes in teaching or practice? Advances in the advertising industry are pertinent to this study in order to determine what is required of students in order to begin their careers. The participants include both students and faculty in order to address specific areas: SIT and: The individual brainstorming process Collaboration Advertising cr eative classes Role of the environment on creativity Physical and social Computer as an environment To provide overviews of how SIT has changed the way advertising operates, each step of the advertising creative cycle according to advertising texts and literature is illustrated in Figure 1. These steps are Research, Brainstorming, Execution, Presentation and Dissemination. Two of the steps, Brainstorming and Execution, are depicted in different colors from the other st eps because they illustrate the point in which ideas are developed, therefore are the focus of this research. As illustrated in Figure 1-1 Research is now driven through analytics, which instantly reveals information such as: when and where digital traffi c originates, where it goes, how long someone stays on a given web page, and where they go when they leave. Other innovations that have revolutionized the relationship between the consumers and brands are social media and user feedback (reviews). These t ools give consumers a 17


very significant voice, resulting in a public dialogue that never existed prior to digital media. Figure 1 -1 Technology and the Advertising Cycle As illust rated I n Figure 1-1 Brainstorming has changed due to the access of informati on online, software and the ability to collaborate virtually. Execution changed through the use of software that allows art directors, copywriters, and even nonprofessionals to produce their ideas themselves. Execution can be performed nonlinear ly on d igital platforms enabling ideas to be built out of order in comparison to analog processes where most execution took place linearly For example, changing the layout of a print ad would require many hours through analog procedures. Consequently, a layo ut choice has to be made before execution start s. Now, last -minute changes for most projects are performed easily by using a computer. Presentation and delivery of ideas to clients can now be done digitally, and in many cases across oceans as a video cas e study or a PDF outlining a pitch to clients. Once approved, the dissemination of the ad can be allocated to the media deemed most appropriate by the advertiser and client, and for the most part will involve an online component. Although the many steps that encompass new technological advances though the creative 18


process are fascinating, this study only addresses the aspects that deal with the development of ideas. Research Questions The main aspects of the creative process were studied in the literatur e review, presented in the next chapter, and gave rise to the inquiry in this dissertation, that of understanding the role of technology within the advertising creative process. The questions that guide this inquiry are: RQ1. How are radical changes in t he communications industries changing the way we teach and learn creatively? RQ2. How is technology changing the brainstorming and collaborative processes in advertising creativity? RQ3. How are students in advertising creative classes using technology i n their creative process? RQ4. How are advertising programs integrating technology into creative instruction and the classroom environment? RQ5. D oes the physical environment (presence of computers) play a role in the participants creative process? Rationale For Study The questions addressed in this research follow the 1991 work of Patricia Alvey, now the director of the Temerlin Institute of Advertising at Southern Methodist University. Her dissertation investigated how computers affected the creat ive process of graphic design students over two decades ago. Alveys research found that students who spent more time using the computer to create had a shift in their creative process. They spent less time in the early stages of brainstorming, where mos t ideas are 19


generated, and more time evaluating their ideas once they were executed. Alveys research suggested the computer does have an impact on the creative process. Although Alveys (1991) research addressed several key areas that inform the present study, her research was conducted before wide Internet accessibility. In 1991, computers were at their introductory stage in the industry, and most users were novices. Consumers were not proficient i n the use of design software, which were not nearly as versatile as today, nor were they likely to own a personal computer at home. According to the 1989 U.S. Census, conducted only two years before Alveys work was published, 15% of households in the U.S. owned a computer. Of those adults who owned a comput er, only 58.4% actually used it. Adults used the computers mostly for word processing, games, and household record keeping. After 2007, respondents were not asked about computer access or ownership; instead, they were asked whether their household had Internet access. In the latest available census (2009), 68.7% responded yes. Even at a time when computer use and ownership was not as popular as today, and the Internet was not yet available, Alvey (1991) found evidence of the computers effect on the creative process. If indeed the computer is used for idea generation and execution simultaneously, as stated through Alveys (1991) work, are some creatives experiencing idea development in a new way? Are creatives still using traditional (analog) methods of brainstorming or has the computer changed this aspect of the process? How has collaboration changed due to technological resources? This dissertation begins with a review of the literature on advertising creativity, advertising education, theories about the creative process, collaboration, and finally, a 20


review of creativity and the physical environment to provide context and significance for this study. The chapters following the review of the literature address the methods, findings, discussion, and conclusion. This work builds upon and enriches the literature on a subject that is considerably undeveloped, and provides future researchers and educators with insight on technologys effects on creativity. 21


CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The interdisciplinary nature of this study makes it necessary to clarify the key ideas employed, starting with the concept of creativity in the advertising realm. This is followed by a discussion of the role creativity theories pl ay in the current work. This includes theories of creative processes, which also serve as a foundation for this research. The review of the literature concludes with an overview of teaching advertising creative courses, and an explanation of the concepts of collaboration and environment as they fit within the scope of this study. Following the literature review, the methodology employed in this research will be addressed. Theories of Creativity and Advertising Despite a slowly growing body of research on creativity, there is still a dearth of studies about creativity in advertising. This void of information is not surprising considering the difficult task of studying subjective topics. Zinkhan (1993) indicated the need for further studies on creativity in advertising, and emphasized why creativity research matters: advertising, as we know it, could not exist without creativity. Many ad campaigns are successful simply because they break commonly accepted rules of what a commercial message should be or say (p. 1). Other scholars echo Zinkhan by mentioning deep gaps in the literature in such an indispensable dimension of advertisingcreativity (e.g., Smith, MacKenzie, Yang, Buchholz, & Darley, 2007; Stone, Besser, & Lewis, 2000; Sasser & Koslow, 2008; Gr iffin, 2008). Despite the subjective nature of creativity, the studies presented here demonstrate a cohesive view of the role creativity plays in advertising, as well as what constitutes creativity in advertising. 22


In advertising, creativity is usually achieved through the combination of originality and relevance. Originality is at the heart of divergence theory, which explains creativity as the ability to come up with many ideas or solutions to a given problem. Scholars connect divergence theory to creat ivity in advertising. Divergence can be defined as the extent to which an ad contains brand or execution elements that are different, novel, unusual, original, unique, etc. (Smith et al., 2007, p. 819). Along with divergence, relevance, also sometimes called involvement, is an attribute some scholars use to define and measure creativity in advertising. Relevance refers to a message having personal meaning to its receiver (Amabile, 1999; Dahln, Rosengren, & Trn, 2008; De Bono, 1992; Smith & Yang, 2004; Till & Baack, 2005; Torrance, 1987;). Relevance occurs when consumer s find importance in the product. Smith and Yang (2004) argue that while divergence is central to any definition of creativity, advertisement s must also be of importance to the consum er. The definition of creativity among advertising scholars is important because the participants of this study will be asked to describe assignments that emphasize creative thinking. Has the approach towards divergent thinking in classrooms changed due to technology? As advertising competes with TV shows, music, games, work, and social interactions online, relevance is even more important now than in the age of analog television, when skipping advertisements was not an option. Research on advertising cr eativity has typically focused on the Three Ps: person, place, and product (Sasser, 2006) or, alternatively, the Four Ps: person, process, press (place), and product (Mooney, 1954; Richards, 2011). Simonton (1990) added a fifth P for persuasion, whi ch addresses how audiences perceive the work. 23


Sasser and Koslow (2008) explain the 3P framework further: The person P perspective focuses on the creative individuals who create advertising. The place P perspective deals with environments, clients, advertising and artistic communities, and physical space. The process P deals with agency and client organizational processes, thinking, and systems (p. 12). Using this taxonomy, Sasser and Koslow (2008) categorized most of the advertising literature available since 1972 and provided a clear overview of advertising creativity to help researchers understand where future studies might be needed. Their article mentioned a lack of research in the general field of advertising creativity and specifically the need for exploring uncharted territories since the few existing studies focus mostly on creativity in relation to measurement, effectiveness, and consumer behavior. Research addressing new technology in advertising education is still emerging. There ar e many studies exploring social media, YouTube, and online consumer engagement, but very few connect these media to creativity or education. Sasser (2008) addressed user generated content and its impact on advertising creativity. Sasser observed that man y agencies are wondering how to deal with this change in the market, and most have not figured out how to use technology to incorporate consumers as co -creators. Agencies that have successfully made this transition have done so by embracing and joining wi th the consumers. According to Sasser, It may be just that simple, rather than retreating to offices, boldly venture out there, connect and embrace this exciting new time of the newly empowered Creative consumers. Creativity may be engaged from the leas t likely places and certainly, it should thrive in the agency coconspirator model (p. 185). 24


Sasser, Koslow, and Riordan (2007) found that creativity is positively associated with integrated interactive media campaigns, and demonstrated that this approach can be highly creative. When creatives develop campaign elements tailored for a multi screen, multi -tasking culture, considering each medium individually, they are more successful than having a single idea translated to all media. Developing a campaign that is medium -specific, as well as research and strategy driven, will not only be more successful but will change creative development, planning, and implementation. With so many possible media and approaches, agencies operate in a speculative state regar ding what the near future holds in terms of technological changes. Students who are now entering the job market might offer valuable insights; those who grew up without cell phones, Wikipedia, and email, do not navigate the digital world with the same perceptions as the generations who have. The generation of professionals currently emerging grew up with thousands of movies, TV shows, music, and popculture icons at their fingertips, sampling everything in a non-committed manner and, in many cases, adver tising free. We no longer need to sit through ads when we watch TV or anticipate watching a TV show when it airs since we can watch at our own convenience through digital recording devices. As the landscape changes from analog to digital, our cultures and expectations change along with it. Does that change the creative process in any way? What does that mean for advertising? Agencies might rely on the input from incoming graduates to guide them through these changes. It might also mean that sensorial, interactive one-time experiences will become even more special because they will stand out from the entertainment that is always available to be sampled. 25


Nevertheless, how do these changes translate to teaching practices? There is a sizeable void in the literature on how technology is changing creative development, specifically in the field of advertising and its teaching practices. This provides a starting place for filling this void by proposing a foundation upon which others can build. Teaching Advertising Creativity Advertising creative courses must inescapably pair technical skills with conceptual thinking. Every school has a different curriculum set to accommodate both, but regardless of how the curriculum is arranged, the creative process in advertising involves developing an idea and then executing it, most often on a computer. Johnson and Jones (2010) described the relationship between advertising education and the industry Two things seem to be certain: that digital marketing will change more rapidly than textbook publishing cycles; and that businesses will expect our students of today to be the creative and technical drivers of those changes (p. 13). Educational institutions need to stay up-to date in order to provide students with ski lls that will allow them to meet expectations in their professional endeavors. Confluence C ulture Although advertising creativity education has a rich literature, particularly in regards to the development of traditional media messages via print and broadc ast, there are few studies that address how students adapt creatively in a constantly evolving media environment. For example, todays students must learn to create strategies for communicating via mobile devices, online games, and social media, all of which are simultaneously being taught and developed. In addition, students have near constant access to communication devices that allow them to innovate with a wide array of multi disciplinary skills and access mentoring from the most renowned professional s in the 26


world. Web sites such as ( offer an online library of videos that is constantly updated; Udacity ( is an example of free online courses taught by MIT graduates and available to anyone with Internet access and seeks to advance the field of artificial intelligence, engineering, and computer science. Yale, Harvard, and MIT, among other prestigious universities offer free online courses, which demonstrates a major reshaping of the educational system through tec hnology. Sheehan and Morrison (2009) stated that to be successful through the technological paradigm shift, or confluence culture, creative strategists must involve all aspects of the advertising process and use creative skills to solve brand problems. With this in mind, educators must teach students how to grow and evolve with the industry at a fast pace. Sheehan and Morrison (2009) further elaborated: These individuals nimble, digital, and prepared for new challenges will be able to consider the stories people tell, craft resonant brand narratives, and help clients use these stories to connect people to brands in new and exciting ways. Agencies embracing the creative strategist approach will be poised to provide outstanding messages for clients, protec t against economic downturns as clients embrace the value of such messages, and find even more innovative ways to communicate (p. 43). Challenges Many advertising creative classes focus on campaign development, award competitions, and creative thinking exercises. According to interviews with new and experienced creatives (Otnes, Oviatt, & Treise, 1995; Otnes, Spooner, & Treise, 1993) and surveys of senior creative executives (Kendrick, & Slayden, 1996; Robbs, 1996), the industry demands strong conceptual and strategic skills. McGann (1986) stated the advertising industry is largely responsible for the pressure to make advertising educational programs into farms (p. 3) for students to graduate college as creative 27


geniuses. This pressure often causes these programs to teach students a formulaic way of producing something creative, which defies the definition of creativity itself. Some programs respond to such pressure by assisting students in the development of their own personal creative style through assignments and class collaboration rather than teaching formulaic steps. One example of teaching creative tools comes from Griffin (2008), who believes that diaries are powerful teaching tools in creative classes, not only as an aid for organization of ideas, but also in the development of unfiltered thinking. Griffin has also stated that perpetual writing helps students purge obvious ideas and develop new ones. Brainstorming in groups is very common in creative advertising classes. Despite the research on the inefficacy of group br ainstorming (addressed in the next section) it can be a useful approach to teaching creativity because it creates class involvement, bonding, and if the students come from different backgrounds, the diversity can be helpful in the ideation process (Edmonds, Weakley, Candy, Fell, Knott, & Pauletto, 2005; Cooper, 2000). In advertising creative courses, students are usually paired in the traditional duo of copywriter and art director, allowing different perspectives in the brains torming process. The scenario of brainstorming among people with different expertise makes each individual accountable for contributing their own personal creativity (Amabile, 1996). Particularly in creative courses, assessment can be a challenge for educ ators who are expected to adhere to a clear, and preferably objective, grading system (Cowdroy & Williams, 2006), since arriving at a justification for a low grade on something as subjective as creativity can cause conflict between teachers and students. 28


Amabile (1983) has emphasized how assessment, scrutiny, time pressure, and rivalry are not conducive to creative thinking. These threats constrain intrinsic motivation, which she found enhances creative thinking. Amabile has also demonstrated negative ef fects of external evaluation of students creative thinking, leading to the conclusion that teachers and mentors should strive to foster a friendly environment in creative courses. Natives And I mmigrants Technology has widened the generational gap between students and teachers. Incoming generations of students are digital natives (Prensky, 2001, p. 1) who do not remember a time without computers, mobile devices, or Internet, while many teachers have had to adapt to these technologies (Bennet, Maton & Ker vin, 2008; Johnson & Jones, 2010; Prensky, 2001). Students today have little need to look back at a time without digital advertising. The first digital banner ads came out in 1994, when most of the current undergraduate students were pre-school age. Johnson and Jones (2010) have argued that although todays student s are skilled personal users of digital media, they lack knowledge on how to apply their skills to advertising. They indicated that instructors should appreciate the students experience and t urn it into effective online communication for a targeted audience. They also proposed techniques such as having students create Facebook ads to build a foundation for the junction of creativity and new technology as applied in business. Despite the effor ts of public universities to teach creative courses, most undergraduate programs are still falling behind portfolio schools in creative job placements. This lag could be attributed to the lack of a separate creative track in most 29


universities accrediting standards, as well as constraints due to budget and the ability to change the curriculum at the pace the industry demands (Robbs & Wells, 1999). Prensky (2001; 2006) has referred to those who grew up fluent in the digital language of computers, video games, and the Internet as digital natives. These natives were, for the most part, born after 1980. Those not born in the digital age (pre-1980) are referred to as digital immigrants. Prensky makes the analogy that much like those who learn a new language after adulthood; most digital immigrants have an accent because we still have a foot in the past (2006, p. 1). The participants in this study will include both students (natives) and teachers (largely immigrants) to address the generational gap, and prov iding insights into the creative process from both perspectives. Prenskys (2001) argument was very straightforward: if digital natives speak a new language, then our analog-based teaching methods are outdated. He indicated that digital natives learn diff erently from past generations, Our students have changed radically. Todays students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach (2001, p. 1). Students should attend faculty meetings and participate in curriculum changes. As natives in the new educational paths, they can predict the technological future better than immigrants. For example, Prensky believes that if students learned algebra through a video game and had to beat the game to pass the course, they would be vested and engaged in the process. Other studies have echoed Prensky in stating that digital natives have different learning preferences (e.g., Bennet et al, 2008). 30


Digital natives experience creative education in a different way than their predecessors. Since their work is mostly contained within the computer, they go through creative courses such as photography, graphic design, and layout without many tactile experiences. For example, when I was 18 years old and walked into the darkroom for the first time in photography class, it was a completely new space to me, filled with the smell of fixer, and the red light to protect the photo paper. Ultimately, it was a shared space where many students took turns with the enlargers and helped each other. This kind of memory will no longer be shared by the majority of incoming photography students, who might never touch a roll of film throughout their entire student careers. They also work in a private space (their computers), although if they choose to, they might get feedback and help from hundreds of people online while they work. The shift in the way we practice creativity has implications for the way we educate. I hope to gain better understanding of this process through this research. The literature discussed here has raised many questions that inform this dissertation. How are teaching practices making use of technology? Are the different approaches changing the ideation process? Which participating institutions have left their comfort zones, and did that ch ange their students outcomes? Does the physical presence of screens and technology in an environment that traditionally used analog tools and supplies change the creative process? Essentially, exchanging a studio for a computer lab was one of the first transitions adopted by most educational settings, but its impact on creativity remains unclear. Theories O f Creative Process One of the earliest theories of the creative process was presented by Wallas (1926). He identified four stages of the creative process: 1) preparation, 2) incubation, 31


3) illumination, and 4) verification. This definition was widely accepted by subsequent researchers, occasionally with minor differences in the four stages. This study will focus on the role of technology during the development of creative ideas; while this work is not set out to further test precisely how many stages of creative process one goes through, it takes into account the stages predetermined by Cskszent mihlyi (1996). The fivestage description of the creative process will inform question and analysis of data, since it relates back to his theory of Flow, which will be discussed at length in this section. The first stage proposed by Cskszentmihlyi is Preparation, becoming absorbed in a set of problems that are stimulating and provoke curiosity. The second stage is a period of Incubation, which is described as a break from consciously solving the problem, allowing the subconscious mind to work on the idea. The length of incubation can vary from a few hours to days, weeks, and months. The third stage of the creative process is Insight, when the ideas start to develop consciously, or emerge from incubation. The fourth component is Evaluation, which involves determining if the insight is worth pursuing. Evaluation is frequently the most emotional phase of the process, when a person may feel insecure about the value of the ideas. The fifth and last phase of the process is Elaboration, where an insight must be executed to completion. Many times ideas never pass the evaluation stage due to logistics, reasoning, or uncertainty. However, if an idea is deemed worthy, elaboration begins to turn the idea into something concrete, such as an ad or a product. D ivergence Creativity research was made prominent in psychology by Guilford (1950) who developed the theory of divergence in an attempt to prove that IQ tests did not sufficiently measure creative intelligence or problem -solving abilities. In 1956, Guilfor d 32


developed the Structure of Intellect Model, which addressed cognition along many dimensions. This model included intelligence tests to account for divergent thinking, therefore allowing ones creative abilities to be taken into account. Opposed to co nvergent thinking, where one correct solution is the objective, divergent thinking is meant to suggest multiple solutions for a problem. Guilford (1968) has explained the importance of fostering divergent thinking: Most of our problem solving in everyday life involves divergent thinking. Yet, in our educational practices, we tend to emphasize teaching students how to find conventional answers (p. 8). The terms divergent thinking and lateral thinking are often employed as synonyms. The term lateral thinking was introduced by De Bono in 1967 and became more popular with his book Serious Creativity in 1992. De Bono explains lateral thinking as the ability to change concepts and perceptions, or see things differently. Conversely, vertical thinking, is comparable to convergent thinking. Divergent think ing as defined by Guilford (1968) is a thought process or method used to generate ideas by exploring many possible solutions, all of which might be accurate and suitable. Both terms refer to problem solving issues that are open-ended and do not require one single correct answer. Two perplexing aspects of De Bonos work are that he uses the terms lateral thinking and creative thinking interchangeably and fails to clearly differentiate between divergent and lateral thinking. Motivation Amabile (1996) established three main elements of creativity: expertise, creative thinking (e.g., flexibility in problem -solving), and intrinsic motivation. She describes motivation as intrinsic (e.g., personal satis faction), and extrinsic (e.g., financial gains). Her research has shown evidence that since extrinsic motivation undermines creativity, 33


supervisors, parents, and teachers should foster intrinsic motivation to facilitate creative endeavors. She stated that self -instruction could be valuable in programs intended to directly enhance creativity. Self -instruction is associated with notions of freedom, independence, and self -improvement (Mahoney & Thoresen, 1972), and according to Amabile, may be successful in influencing motivational state. As high-end creative software and equipment are widely available to consumers, compared with 10 years ago when it was only attainable by professionals, self instruction is an important concept. Many students play around with video editing software, photo post -production, nice cameras, and graphic layout programs while in high school or younger. Unlike previous generations of students, who gained familiarity with techniques and creative tools for the first time in class, digital natives come into colleges and universities with prior experience and exposure to most software. If not, they are at least comfortable and familiar with the computer environment. Access to instructional videos, forums and search engines has also increased teachers expectations that students seeking technical answers are able to self -instruct. Pink (2006) has written that intrinsic motivation needs to be fostered in the workplace for businesses to achieve innovative and leadership status. By givi ng workers autonomy over their schedule, technique, and teams, an optimal environment for creativity is cultivated, which is more powerful than extrinsic (financial) compensation for creative tasks. This theory of motivation informs the choice of particip ants for this study. The majority of participants is not working toward a degree, and have to pay a significant amount for their education; suggesting their motivations are intrinsic. Students at private arts and portfolio institutions are likely to be i ntrinsically motivated, 34


that is, pursuing a creative career for the joy of creating. They seek to develop and master their own creative abilities as well as develop a portfolio that highlights their accomplishments. Therefore, these students should be information rich and likely to provide the most valuable insights. Systemic Theory Of C reativity Mihly Cskszentmihlyi (1996) defined creativity and its process as: any act, idea or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one (p. 28). He further explained that creativity is more than personal insight, and cannot be separated from its recognition, therefore it should not be researched by isolating individuals and their works from the social and historical milieu in which their actions were carried out (1988, p. 325). His Systemic Theory of Creativity (1998) depicted in Figure 21 is composed of three elements: domain (culture), field (experts), and person (individual or group). Figure 2 -1 Systemic Th eory of Creativity by Cskszentmihlyi (1998, p. 315). This theory places creativity in a context of interaction between person, culture, and environment. It implies that an individual must be skilled in a domain to generate 35


innovation and takes into acco unt a cultural milieu and recognition from other experts in the field. For example, a creative mathematician (person) must not only know math (the domain), his or her work must be recognized and validated among other expert mathematicians (field) in order for the individual to be considered creative. Therefore, according to this system, creativity needs a context in which to exist. In the scope of this study, peers, teachers, as well as the agencies that hire students and deem them creative, represent the field of experts hence, educational institutions with high job placement of students in prominent agencies were chosen for this study. In Cskszentmihlyis model, the person refers to each individual participant. In this research, the domain refers to advertising. This theory will be applied as a basis for this study when analyzing data, since the main aspects of this research can be traced back to the model. It is important to understand that within this model, creators are also part of the domain from which they derive ideas, icons, and practices to use in their ideation. Thus, the roles within the Systemic Theory of Creativity Model are not specific or fixed. As we are using the Internet to communicate across countries, the domain becomes global rather than local or national. Gone are the days of having a pen pal in a different country; that is a memory only digital immigrants will carry. The digital natives grew up with influences from information and people everywhere as a result of their social interactions online. Therefore, the global influence that technology facilitates will be explored in this study to see if, and if so, how global access alters the system in any way. Bergh and Stuhlfaut (2006) set out to verify whether advertising creativ ity is indeed an interaction between the roles played by creators, the field, and the domain. 36


They stated: the elements of the model represent a symbiotic relationship, for the system cannot work to produce divergent and relevant ideas in advertising wit hout these key elements living and working with each other [The theory] is responsible for the generation of ideas and the evaluation or judging of them to determine which ones will survive. (p. 395). They indicated that, in a theoretical sense, the responsibility for the production of new ideas is rem oved from individuals. Figure 2-2 illustrates the context in which creativity can exist in advertising, and is predicated upon the concept that inspiration for ideas is built on existing knowledge of the field and the domain. Figure 2 -2 Bergh and Stuhlfaut (1996) classification of participants in the advertising process categorized by components of the Systemic Theory of Creativity Model (p. 328). Flow In addition to the Systemic Theory of Creativity Mod el, which places the creative process in a context of influences and roles, Cskszentmihlyi (1996) developed another theory called Flow to describe the process each individual experiences at their peak moments of creativity. According to this theory, a state of optimal creativity can be achieved when the mind settles between too much arousal and an excess of control. While experiencing flow, people feel a sense of competence and control and loss of self -consciousness. Usually, while in a flow state of mind, people get highly absorbed in the task and may lose track of time. Flow is characterized by the absence of thought; it is described by many as being in a zone where there is awareness of the activity, but 37


no specific feelings. Flow is most likel y to occur in situations where people have developed a high level of skill in a creative task, which also presents them with a high level of challenge. Students who describe flow state in their creative process will likely come from programs that have achieved the most desirable balance between student skill levels (on skills believed by the students to be necessary for their creative success) and level of challenge (through class assignments, critiques, assessments, etc.). Cskszentmihlyi (1996) outlined nine dimensions of flow: clear goals, immediate feedback, personal skills well suited to challenges, merger of action and awareness, concentration on the task at hand, a sense of potential control, a loss of self consciousness, an altered sense of time, and experience which becomes autotelic (self contained goal experience). While computers may superficially seem like a great tool for concentration, they can also be distracting, preventing the creative mind from achieving the flow state. Consciousness and emotion are there to correct your trajectory; when what you are doing is seamlessly perfect, you dont need them (Gardner, Cskszentmihlyi & Damon, 2002, p. 116). This study seeks to understand, among other things, if and how participants describe flow states when creating with the computer. Does one still have the ability to achieve flow while being subject to distraction such as new email or chat message notifications? As a self -contained tool for work, entertainment, and social life, how does th e computer play a role as a suitable tool in the creative process? Do the participants turn off alerts and log out of messaging programs when they want to focus? On the other hand, does proficiency with the software and comfort with the computer 38


environme nt provide a person with the confidence and knowledge necessary to achieve flow, allowing them to focus on the creative task? Performance And M astery Griffins (2008) Performance and Mastery Model depicted in Figure 2-3 shows non-linear conceptualization of creativity, as opposed to the sequential stages of creativity previously proposed by Wallas (1926). In the model, advanced students start working towards idea development through interpretation of the given problem. As skilled problem solvers, most of on their interpretation of the issues surrounding the product (p. 105). The advanced students also engaged in mind scribin g, producing a large list of unfiltered thoughts related to the problem assigned until they detected a captivating idea, at which point they applied heuristics to develop the raw idea into a developed one. After the students went through what Griffin (2008) calls an adaptation (p. 105) stage, they translate the developed idea (strategy) into an ad. Once this phase was completed, their work was then ready to be executed. Griffins model leaves technological tools completely out of the ideation process. In fact, the advanced students from Griffins (2008) research seemed uninterested in considering execution at all when recounting their creative processes, unlike their beginner counterparts. This insight is invaluable in understanding how creative thinkers evolve as they master their craft. 39


Figure 2 -3 The Performance Model of Advertising Students Creative Process by Griffin (2008) Personal experience from teaching my own classes has shown that creative students hope to achieve a high level of technical proficiency in software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign before they graduate and enter the job market. However, this is only one type of skill necessary for professional success. Creative thinking is the key ingredient that enables such software to create original and relevant pieces. Collaboration and the Creative Process Brainstorming The now widely used term brainstorming was originally coined by advertising executive Alex Osborn, who began developing methods for creative problem solving in 1939 and applied his methods to the creation of advertising campaigns. Brainstorming is widely used in advertising creative courses; therefore, it is worth reviewing what scholars have found in their studies regarding its effectiveness The articles reviewed will also provide understanding of how technology has changed how many creative professionals brainstorm by tracing the evolution of the practice. 40


Osborn (1957) argued that brainstorming amplified both the quality and quantity of i deas generated by a group. His rules for brainstorming sessions were that group size should be small; no criticism is allowed; outlandish ideas are allowed; quantity and variety are both important; building upon ideas of others is encouraged; notes of the session must be taken; the session should not be too structured; and at the end the group must evaluate the ideas and organize them. He also observed that most teams discussed and evaluated an idea as soon as it was created, which he thought was a proces s that discouraged people with unusual ideas from sharing for fear of immediate evaluation. Osborn also observed that the average person could think up twice as many ideas when working with a team as when working individually. Like most of the literature concerning creativity, there are conflicting findings regarding brainstorming. There is evidence that Osborns parameters for brainstorming sessions are not effective in producing original ideas, and instead his methods should be applied as a divergent t hinking technique. While successful for team bonding, exchange of ideas, and perspectives (Runco, 2007), some of the reasons brainstorming has been deemed ineffective are that team sessions enable individuals to make less effort; individual fear of reject ion of their ideas; and the potential for an individual to forget their idea while waiting their turn to speak, referred to as production blocking (Furnham, 2000). One of the solutions proposed by Furnham (2000) was to have a group evaluation of ideas aft er each individual brainstormed alone, therefore groups are not where great ideas are born, but where they are further developed. Electronic B rainstorming A body of research exists that has investigated how electronic brainstorming compares to traditional brainstorming sessions. Facilitated electronic brainstorming 41


sessions involved team members typing their ideas anonymously while having full access to others ideas as they were typed simultaneously (Gallupe, Cooper, Gris & Bastianutti, 1994). Computer aided sessions were found to be more effective than in person sessions because they lessened distractions, alleviated evaluation anxiety, and allowed simul taneous idea generation. Individuals were also compelled to work harder electronically than in a face-to -face group setting. The study noted that bigger group sizes were more effective than smaller ones and that pairs were ineffective because of anonymit y loss (Gallupe et al., 1994; Gallupe, Dennis, Cooper, Valacich, Bastianutti, & Nunamaker, 1992). Another study comparing nominal (alone) brainstorming, electronic brainstorming, and verbal brainstorming found that nominal brainstorming significantly out -produced the other three. The authors attributed the popularity of brainstorming in organizations to a perceived increase in productivity and claimed that such perceptions are at odds with reality (Pinsonneault, Barki, Gallupe, & Hoppen, 1999). Digital co llaboration has come a long way since these studies were conducted in the 1990s. Currently, there are web-based brainstorming techniques that allow participants to post their thoughts anonymously using avatars. This method allows users to log into the s essions at their leisure over time, typically one or two weeks, to allow for an incubation period and idea development. This technique has been used particularly in the field of new product development but can be applied to any number of areas requiring t he collection and evaluation of ideas. One example is the web site Monsoon (Monsoon, USA, LLC, 2010), which was developed based on academic research (Gallupe & Cooper, 1993). Monsoon advertises itself as an online meeting software designed to help your group overcome the drawbacks of traditional 42


brainstorming: production blocking, evaluation apprehension, location & time restrictions. It also offers anonymous idea submissions and voting as well as the opportunity to organize ideas into categories. Ano nymity is a central concept of electronic brainstorming, even though it is not a requirement, to allow for ideas that fall outside the safe and mundane realm. Online behavior is different from in-person behavior, even through videoconferencing interactions where people are identified (Dreyfus, 2001; Olson & Olson, 2000). While embodied interaction with others involves some personal risk and therefore requires a degree of personal commitment, in the virtual world we can, within just a few minutes, leave (or be ejected from) one community and join another. This impermanence and abstraction in our involvement in online communities leads us to behave in a different way in the virtual world. (Edmonds, Weakley, Candy, Fell, Knott, & Pauletto, 2005). Although there are noticeable differences in these types of behavior, especially in the commitment to the conversation, these differences are not always negative. Meeting online can also bring a level of comfort one does not always find in person. For example, i t might be acceptable to wear informal clothing for an online meeting, and enjoy the comfort of your own space while still being productive. Culture And D iversity Culture and diversity also play a role in collaboration. Creativity can be enhanced by grou p diversity in areas such as background, education, and upbringing (Cooper, 2000), which is of particular relevance to this study. Digital collaboration can bring enormous diversity to group members; for example, students from one of the schools selected for participation in this study might never meet in person, but collaborate in many projects during their studies. Edmonds et al. (2005) found that 43


diversity has a deep and positive impact on the quality of work accomplished. Bergh and Stuhlfaut (2006) s tated, Advertising creativity is a sociocultural process in which everyone plays a role or roles (p. 395). In a sense, they view the creative process in advertising as collaboration between the three components defined by Cskszentmihlyis (1996) Syste mic Theory of Creativity Model: culture, field, and person. When using the Systemic Theory of Creativity Model to study the creative process, adding Internet to the cultural domain changes its definition of culture and brings in many other members into thi s collaborative cycle. When someone goes online for inspiration or research, they are bound to exchange or absorb ideas from other people, be it through Wikipedia, forums, Pinterest, Facebook, or other web sites. Therefore, even nominal brainstorming in our present technology -rich culture involves a level of collaboration. Technology has broadened the domain from local culture to a global culture, which is a crucial aspect of the current research. Flow And C ollaboration In advertising creative classes, m uch like in the industry, students work in pairs or small groups. A positive dynamic among team members is essential to produce high quality work. The Theory of Flow addresses team collaboration within the creative process. Cskszentmihlyi, (1996) found that both individuals and teams are more likely to achieve flow when their environment has four main characteristics. First, they are engaged in a task where their skills match the challenge of the undertaking. If the challenge is too great for their s kills, they get frustrated; if the task is not challenging enough, they simply get bored. Second, flow occurs when the goal is well defined. Third, there is continual and instant feedback about how close the person/team is to 44


accomplishing that task. Fi nally, flow occurs when the person/team is free to completely immerse themselves in the task. Teamworks environment as described by Cskszentmihlyi needs to have the same characteristics as individuals in order to achieve group flow. Problem solving c an foster flow, depending on the setting. The key to group flow is handling a paradox: determining a goal that provides focus for the team sufficient focus so the group can convey when they get near a solutionbut one that is unrestricted enough for great est creativity to emerge. In addition to focus, team dynamics can play a significant role in the development of ideas. Creativity blossoms in settings where dominance is kept to a minimum and where teamwork and sharing of resour ces are emphasized (Amabile 1983; Souder 1987). The environment for collaborative ideation should be psychologically safe: a person is more likely to propose a new idea or challenge an existing idea if he or she feels that such a suggestion will not lead to mockery (West 1990). The creative team of an art director and copywriter may perceive the ideation process as one in which ideas were generated by the creative team through a process of free association (Hirschman, 1989, p. 46). Technology has created cultural bridges, and as it evolves, it is not only changing the way ideas are born, it is also changing the possibilities for innovation. Since collaboration has transcended physical barriers, a cultural synthesis has occurred. People work together bringing different cultures, backgrounds, sounds, and beliefs from all parts of the world to the ideation process. Technology has not simply changed the way collaboration is done; it has changed the core of ideas themselves. 45


Creativity And T he Environment Most research on creativity and the physical environment focus on employee productivity and creativity in the workplace (e.g. Amabile, 1996). Although this research will be conducted in educational rather than professional settings, the literature offers useful insights due to the similarities in circumstances. Our participants are under parallel pressure as employees; they are expected to meet certain standards, work towards fixed deadlines, and are held accountable for their performance through grades (or pay, in the case of prof essionals). Another similar aspect between the participating schools and a professional work environment is that most of the participants work on campaigns for real clients. Employee creativity provides an organization with more opportunities for innovations and growth, leading to overall success (Oldham & Cummings, 1996; Amabile, 1996; Vithayathawornwong, Danko & Tolbert, 2003). Creativity coming up with fresh ideas for changing products, services, and processes so as to better achieve the organizations goals has been heralded as a key to enduring advantage (Amabile, Barsade, Mueller & Staw, 2005). Understanding how to optimize social and physical environments that foster creativity is imperative for organizations, as it should be for creative clas ses as well. Social E nvironment The definition of creativity described previously the production of novel and useful ideas in any domainstill applies to studies in the context of organizations (Amabile, 1983; Cskszentmihlyi, 1990a). Amabiles research has argued that that a safe social environment, as well as comfortable physical space, plays an essential role in enabling the development of creativity. Cskszentmihlyis (1990a) Systemic Theory 46


of Creativity Model also addresses the social environment (field) as key to the creative process. It is important to remember this system relies on all components (filed, domain, person) in order to be effective; therefore even if a creative person finds him/herself in a beautiful and inspiring setting where new connections among ideas are facilitated, it is imperative that the person has a prepared mind and knowledge of their domain. Steiner (2006) has stated that in addition to its social structure and behavior, an organizations culture can be expressed through its physical appearance. The physical space is the first impression of a visitor or potential employee, and therefore when planning an organizations space, all the senses should be taken into account. That was certainly true for my visit to the partic ipating schools; my perception of their culture was quickly shaped by my assessment of their physical space. In addition, with a personal background in fine arts the sensorial experience always played a role in my own creative process. When I was a fine arts student, the colors on the classroom walls, the smell of paint in the hallways, test prints hanging outside the darkroom, and the tactile experience of building with clay always appealed to my desire to stay within the fine arts studio space and make my ideas come to life. It is evident in the literature that studies frequently connect both the physical and the emotional spaces as a complement to each other. The attempt to isolate the influence of the physical work environment on organizational creat ivity and the innovative performance in general will certainly be misleading. By contrast, the physical work environment has to be seen as one single part of an environmental system which is further interacting with other systems (Steiner, 2006, p. 2). Thus, physical 47


environment plays a role in the creative process, however the social environment must also be positive in order to fully foster creativity. Another concluded that the social and physical environment collaboratively comprise the total environment, inducing creative behavior (Vithayathawornwong et al., 2003). Physi cal E nvironment Martens (2008) conducted a study to further understand how creativity can be cultivated in the workplace. Participants in his study generally agreed that a more colorful environment, with some fresh air and space for presenting personal work can contribut e to the end-users well being and creativity (p. 8). He also concluded that when the culture and identity of an organization was reflected through its physical space, it could enhance satisfaction and create a sense of belonging. In addition, the creati ve process in the workplace could benefit from comfortable spaces that stimulated the senses, but most of all, that allowed for collaboration and/or exchange of ideas among peers. The research findings from Martens (2008) support the hypothesis that open workstations enhance creativity while traditional cubicle office space isolates employees from others, hindering collaborative possibilities. With laptop computers and mobile technology that allow sophisticated creative work to be done anywhere, creative professionals now have countless places where great ideas can happen. However, much like students have to go to class and produce on campus, many creative professionals still have to go to their offices and produce at work. Landry (2012) wrote, Creativit y is the spark, but it is the opportunity to do work that leads to innovation and this necessitates the physical workplace (p. 95). On his study, the participants ranked 35 physical workplace characteristics in order of importance. The most important were daylight through a window, flexible and 48


adjustable lighting scheme, large work surface, ergonomic chair, portable computer, and window with view to a natural horizon, and fresh clean air. The three deemed least important were personal music, access to photocopy area, and plant at a workstation. In essence, the most important items refer to comfort and open feel, which should be taken into account when designing a workspace for creative professionals. Despite the recognized importance of the environment in the creative process, the literature on this topic is still scarce. It is plausible that because creativity is a multi faceted phenomenon, to study it is an imprecise, complex endeavor. However leaving facets out creates incomplete views of the creat ive process. The creative process can be approached through many components such as cognition, personality, and motivation, but also should take into consideration environmental conditions, which should be arranged to allow for variation, flexibility, and openness (Feldhusen & Goh, 1995). 49


CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The main purpose of this study was to explore the role of software and Internet related technologies (SIT) in the advertising creative process and the implications for SIT on teaching and learning practices related to advertising creative work. This chapter outlines the design of this study. I will provide an overview of the methodological approach for this study; I will then address data collection, including selection criteria for study participants, and collection methods for the data. The next section details the specific procedures I used to analyze the data collected during the course of this study. Finally, I describe the strategies employed to ensure trustworthiness of the resear ch and my role as a researcher. Qualitative methods take many forms. Creswell (1998) defined qualitative research as a process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem (p. 15). Qual itative methods allow the researcher to explore many dimensions of an issue, contributing to the depth, openness, and detail of the qualitative inquiry. Merriam (1998) stated that qualitative research studies seek to discover and understand a phenomenon, a process, or the perspectives and worldviews of the people involved (p. 11). This study utilized grounded theory as the research methodology. Grounded theory is a qualitative approach of research f ocused on understanding, describing, and/or predicting human behavior Origins Of Grounded Theory Glaser and Strauss (1967) originally developed grounded theory ( GT ) from a four -year research they conducted about dying patients in a hospital. Glaser studied 50


sociology at Columbia University where he trained in the use of quantitative survey methods. Strauss received his PhD from the University of Chicago, famed for the Chicago tradition of prestigious sociology and qualitative research. Their different experiences and perspectives helped shape grounded theory but may also account for some of the differences that later emerged in their approaches. In 1967, Glaser and Strauss criticized quantitative and qualitative approaches to research, believing that neither tradition had reduced the embarrassing gap between theory and empirical research (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). In their opinion, there was an overemphasis on verifying theory at the expense of generating theory. Their goal in developing grounded theory was to return scholarly attention to the generati on of theory and provide qualitative researchers with a systematic process by which they could proceed. Grounded theory methods start with a phenomenon or situation the researcher wants to explain or understand. In order to understand the phenomenon she begins collecting data. Glaser (1978) explained that in grounded theory all is data. In grounded theory work, data is usually collected through observations, interviews, and texts (either pre-existing or solicited from the participants). Glaser and Strauss objective was to systematize the collection, coding, and analysis of qualitative data for the purpose of generating theory. This resulted in the development of two techniques central to grounded theory: theoretical sampling and constant comparison (Gl aser and Strauss 1967). Theoretical sampling means the researcher will seek new data to address the holes or new questions found through their initial analysis. Constant comparison means each bit of data is compared to the next as data collection occurs. The researcher will continue to add to the sample until she 51


reaches theoretical saturation, the point at which no new insights can be obtained from new data. These techniques apply aspects of the logic and rigor of quantitative data analysis to qualitat ive data. Following their joint work on grounded theory, Glaser and Strauss went their separate ways but continued to work to refine and develop grounded theory. Over time, however, it emerged that they held conflicting perspectives, even on how theory i s derived from data. The data analysis begins as soon as the first bits of data are collected. The coding process moves from open coding to theoretical (or selective coding). The coding involves identifying concepts and articulating theoretical categories, as well as looking for possible relationships among the concepts and categories. The data is analyzed by using constant comparison. This may involve word-by -word or line-by -line coding. As theoretical categories are identified, each new piece of data is then compared to these categories to see if they fit, or form new categories. Through the coding process the researcher will identify one (or possibly more) core category which Glaser and Strauss (1967) define as the category that explains most of the variations in the phenomena; the essence of the theory. During the analysis the researcher will make notes to herself about the categories, patterns or relationships she is observing. Then, se will articulate those ideas in memos, which serve as accounts of the emerging theory. This process is called memoing, and is a key part of the process. Glaser and Strauss (1967) agreed that through Memoing the researcher can articulate the emerging theory, begin to describe the categories and relationships among these, and identify the possible needs for new data. Finally, as the researcher reaches theoretical saturation, she can review 52


and analyze her memos, reorder them as necessary and conceptualize the theory. The theory will contain concepts or constructs and explains the relationships between these as related to the phenomenon studied. During this process, the literature is accessed as it becomes relevant. One of the central concepts in grounded theory work is theoretical sensitivity, which basically refers to the researcher being able (sensitive to) identify the theory from the conclusions she derives from the data, and not corrupted or influenced by other sources, such as preconceived hypothesis or the conclusions of other, possibly related, studies. Ther efore, Glaser and Strauss initially argued that the researcher should begin the analysis with as little preconceived notions as possible, which implied delaying the review of pertinent literature until after the analysis was concluded and the theory articu lated. This has been a point of much debate. Strauss and Corbin (1998) later argued that we all come to research with the knowledge obtained in our practice and previous studies, and thus the idea of the researcher being a blank slate when she begins t he research process is unlikely. Additionally, contemporary grounded theory researchers have argued that it is necessary to review pertinent literature in order to focus the study and identify the potential contribution of the study. Therefore, today many researchers complete the review of at least part of the literature before beginning the analysis, but return to the literature or research new literature, as they are understanding and explaining their discoveries during the research. As mentioned before, these processes of data collection and analysis occur concurrent with each other, so that memoing may follow initial analysis of data, and precede the search for new data, for example. The categories identified are revised 53


along the way, and the researc her may go back to re-analyze some of her initial data as new ideas or possible relationships and explanations come up. Glaser and Strauss (1967) described the resulting theory as explaining the study phenomenon in new theoretical terms, and sometimes off ering descriptions of causes or consequences. The resulting theories are usually formal (describing conceptual phenomena) or substantive (describing empirical phenomena or practice). In both cases, they are middle range theories, applicable to the phenom ena under study. Glaser and Strauss (1967) initially proposed grounded theory methods as a reliable process of analyzing qualitative data. The method was a response to the predominantly positivistic approach to research of the 1960s, which reduced qualit ative research to initial explorations to develop instruments for later qualitative studies; and which considered qualitative methods as subjective, impressionistic, and unscientific. Glaser and Strauss wanted to prove that done well, qualitative research could not only provide valuable insights, but also lead to new theory. Glaser and Strauss (1967) focused on developing a method through which conclusions could be drawn from the data observed in order to develop a theoretical explanation of that phenomena. The emphasis was on conclusions being derived (or discovered) from the data itself and obtaining theoretical explanations. Glaser believed that if the methods were followed closely and carefully enough, theory could be developed. This theory would h ave validity to the data it explained because it had been derived from this data. After the iconic book The Discovery of Grounded Theory (1967) Glaser and Strauss went their separate ways, each further developing grounded theory. Glaser 54


remains loyal to t he first proposed methods of grounded theory, now referred to as classic or Glaserian GT. The main difference between Glaser and Strauss after their separation relates to their approach to data analysis. Glaser remains more faithful to the original v ersion of grounded theory, while Strauss with Juliet Corbin has reformulated the original version. Data analysis is described loosely in the original book (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and this prompted Strauss and Corbin to publish two further books to make clear how researchers should undertake the process of data analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1990, 1998a). Their approach to analysis, however, was severely criticized. Strauss and Corbin developed set methods to conducting grounded theory that required ax ial coding, validation of data and hypothesis testing. Glaser was not opposed to their proposed way of conducting qualitative research, however he was opposed to calling it grounded theory since it became a different approach altogether. The core of the c onflict between Glaser and Strauss was whether verification should be an outcome of grounded theory analysis or not. Strauss (1987) indicated that induction, deduction and verification are absolutely essential whereas Glaser (1992) maintained that groun ded theory is inductive only. Glasers approach to data analysis is less structured than Strausss. Glaser describes two types of coding processes (substantive and theoretical) while Strauss describes three (open, axial and selective). Those who choose Strauss and Corbins approach are most likely attracted to the formulaic and clear guidelines for analysis, while those who adopt Glasers classic approach probably find the openness of letting the data speak for itself more liberating. Critics claim th at Strauss and Corbins approach forces data, meaning researchers would be looking for data rather than at data. 55


In the second edition of their book, Strauss and Corbin (1998) modified their approach to data analysis, addressing criticisms. They pointed out that it had not been their intention to promote rigidity and insisted that the procedures they outlined were guidelines, suggested techniques but not commandments. They are rarely given credit for this flexibility. The second edition of Basics of Q ualitative Research (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) is far less prescriptive than the first, yet most of the criticisms, even those published more recently, refer to the first edition of the book. The third edition is even more flexible, with researchers asked t o use the procedures in their own way (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). It is clear that grounded theory has evolved. Corbin (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) acknowledged that her and Strausss version of grounded theory had changed and been shaped by methodological debates. In contrast, Glaser is adamant that the original approach to grounded theory should not be changed. He continues to believe that theory simply emerges from the actual data. The resulting theories from both approaches are different in that Glase rs focus is on the scope and parsimony of the theory. He emphasizes theory as a process and thus argues that the resulting theory is ever -evolving (modifiable). On the other hand, Strauss and Corbin wanted to achieve a theory that provides a complete, c omprehensive, and detailed explanation of the phenomenon. Glaser (1992) pointed out that failing to produce a theory is contrary to the original goals of grounded theory and suggests that Strauss version of grounded theory yields low -level abstract description only (Glaser 1992, p.81). Essentially, Strauss (with Corbin, 1998a) and Corbin (with Strauss, 2008) have a broader vision of the 56


purpose of grounded theory. They recognize that not every study aims to build theory and acknowledge that some res earchers will use the techniques of grounded theory to produce useful descriptions. Corbin and Strauss accept that grounded theory techniques have uses beyond building theory. Constructivist Approach Charmaz (2000) proposed what she has called constructivist grounded theory. According to Charmaz, even though grounded theory originated as a response to the primacy of positivist approaches and the loss in favor of qualitative approaches, ironically Glasers and Corbin and Strausss approaches to grounded theory have become known for their rigor and positivist underpinnings. As such, Charmaz said that the current debate on grounded theory has focused not on the resulting theory or the phenomena analyzed, but rather on the methods themselves, such as the importance of theoretical sensitivity, or the value of axial versus substantive coding. She labeled Strauss and Corbins (1998) and Glasers approaches objectivist grounded theory, because of their treatment of categories as variables, as well as their emphasis verification, and on finding the true explanations of the phenomena under study. The constructivist approach to Grounded Theory posited by Charmaz is a philosophical position between the positivist stanc es of Glaser and Strauss (1967); and postmodern researchers like Charmaz who challenge the importance of methodologies. Charmaz proposed an approach that emphasizes the importance of multiple social realties and the co-creation of knowledge by the researc her and participants, while observing the clear guidelines that can be used to build explanatory frameworks through Grounded Theory. With flexible, exploratory strategies, rather than prescribed techniques, constructivist GT emphasizes process and meaning, accepting an 57


assortment of concepts from different perspectives (Charmaz, 2000). Thick, rich descriptions are achieved by presenting direct quotes of participants under each theme and by providing detailed description of each interview through memos. I nterpretive description requires that researchers come to know individual cases deeply, extract relevant common themes from within these individual cases, and produce knowledge that will be applied back to individual cases (Thorne et al., 1997). The research sub questions, the sources, and types of data all constantly adjust each other. Glaser and Strauss (1967) have called this constant comparison (p. 101). Charmaz proposes that grounded theory is not discovered but constructed through the process of applying the grounded theory methods. These methods, she argues, are not prescribed, but rather possible or proposed approaches, meaning that the researcher may use them with flexibility as it best suits their research. Additionally, she contrasts the res ulting explanatory or predicting theories with the theories obtained through a constructivist approach. Charmaz explains that constructivist grounded theories are but one interpretation of the observed phenomenon. Following with its social constructivist perspective, this approach allows for alternative explanations and interpretations of the phenomena. She explains that a constructivist approach to grounded theory asks why and sometimes how meaning is created. With this perspective of grounded theory, C harmaz seeks to move it away from its positivist underpinnings to a more interpretative, constructivist approach. This changes the purpose of the research from explanation towards understanding, and moves the focus away from the method and back to the phen omenon under study. 58


Research Approaches This dissertation employed Grounded Theory (GT) as the methodology to explore the impact of evolving technologies on the creative process. This methodology is appropriate for studying matters that are not already ex plained by theory, and where little is known (Creswell, 2007; Goulding, 2005). This study is positioned within a constructivist paradigm where the researcher takes the position that, as Schwandt (1998) has noted, human beings do not find or discover knowledge so much as construct or make it (p. 237), which I also believe is true of each individuals creative process. The constructivist paradigm acknowledges the multifaceted nature of unique perspectives from individuals (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). A framework based on the perspectives, designs, and methods of constructivist Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2000) was developed to position the approach of this study within the qualitative research literature. The methodology of GT is very involved in terms of immersing oneself in the data, generating, codes, concepts, and categories. Charmazs view has been most influential in my own venture into grounded theory. Her approach allowed me the flexibility to apply the methods in a way that will be better fit for my f ield and my research focus. Additionally, I felt confident in being able to remain faithful to her conception of the methodology, as it is more fitting with my own worldview and stance as a researcher exploring this phenomenon. However, it proved helpful to use Glasers criteria to evaluate my process. His criterion for evaluating Grounded Theory is based on the following: the theory has to be relevant, modifiable, and transcend people, place, and time (Glaser, 2001). Relevance is achieved through grab, fit and work (Glaser 1978). Grab refers to the ability for the theory to be remembered, is what gets the 59


attention of the stakeholder. Fit refers to the categories of the theory fitting the data, not having the codes forced to fit preconceived the ory or codes. Work refers to the theorys ability to meaningfully explain what is going on in the data, which should allow others to interpret and apply its meaning. With this in mind, I was able to find guidance in Glasers writings while refining concepts and categories, and in ultimately generating the pattern of what was going on within the data. Another Grounded Theory researcher who had an influence in my process was Dr. Paul Wishart, who was initially hired as an editor for this study, but who quickly became a guide through what he has conceptualized as the process of UnCorking Grounded Theory (2013). Wishart has observed many Grounded Theory researchers getting stuck or corked in an Uncertainty Spiral. This spiral is exacerbated by confusio n, uncertainty, doubt, worry, and even fear, along the lines previously mentioned by Glaser (1978, p. 20). A collaborative relationship is established within which the process of UnCorking Grounded Theory is realized. Our communications took place via S kype and email, which congruently, are means of creative collaboration addressed in the emerged theory, and is fully explained in the next chapter. The UnCorking process is facilitated through collaboration so the researcher is able to take a breath and get their bearings on conceptualization and patterning in their data. UnCorking is essentially a process of reorienting, away from the Uncertainty Spiral toward one of realizing the creative potential within the researcher (Wishart, 2013). Wishart tends to follow a classical (Glaserian) approach to Grounded Theory. Therefore, his influence led me to understand Glasers methodology in greater depth. 60


However, it is worth clarifying how my epistemology differs from that of Glaser. According to Hallberg (200 6), Glaser assumes an objective external reality where the researcher is positioned as a neutral observer who discovers data in an objective way. I don't believe in one single objective reality, and instead endorse the view that my data emerged from deep interaction with it through constant comparison, and from my personal background. Another researcher could have analyzed the same set of data differently, so the process is indeed constructed rather than objective. Aside from data analysis, Glaser stated that interviewing is mostly a passive listening to people in the research field, which leads to theoretical sampling and more focused questions (Hallberg, 2006). Interviewing required active listening and I felt that I guided the direction of the intervi ew with questions that led to specific topic I wanted to address. I remained open and sensitive to unexpected information, but I do not consider myself a passive interviewer. The methodologies proposed by Charmaz and Glaser share similarities, but the epistemologies are very different and can be confusing for novice researchers. I have followed many steps that are true to classic Grounded Theory as proposed by Glaser and Strauss (1967). However, my epistemology (how I believe that I acquire and develop knowledge) is constructivist; it matches my perceptions of the world and how I personally approach research. The philosophical differences do not dilute the integrity of this work, as the emphasis is not on philosophical differences but on the pattern that emerges from the data resulting in a grounded theory. Method Vs. M ethodology Birks and Mills (2011, p. 4) acknowledge the difference between methods, methodology and philoso phy as illustrated i n Figure 3-1. Birks and Mills (2011, p. 4) 61


elaborated: Stemming from a congruent philosophy, a methodology is a set of principles and ideas that inform the design of a research study. Methods, on the other hand, are practical procedures used to generate and analyze data. Therefore, this study has followed a constructivist philosophy and a method revised by Charmaz, while adopting certain principles and understandings of the methodology proposed by Glaser, during the fluid process of performing this research Figure 3 -1 Com ponents of a research design, Birks and Mills (2011, p.4). Theoretical S ensitivity Theoretical sensitivity requires a researcher become sensitive to prior knowledge and pre-conceived ideas through memoing and constant comparison. I wrote memos throughout t he entire research process in order to be open to the ideational, conceptual nature of the patterns within the data. Glaser and Strauss (1967) originally advocated that the researcher leave the review of relevant literature until the researcher achieved f irm conceptual progress. The reason for this is the belief that prior knowledge might prevent the researcher from identifying emerging concepts and categories by bringing 62


preconceived notions into the analysis. Theoretical sensitivity is preserved when t he researcher conducts the research holding as few presuppositions as possible (Glaser, 1978). However, Charmaz (2006) notes that the proponents of theoretical sensitivity had significant experience and knowledge of their discipline. She further cites G lasers (1978) position on the need for researchers to be acquainted with theoretical codes, which aid their sensitivity to perceive subtle connections in the data, meaning that knowledge of the existing literature is important. I referred to the literature before and during the research process. The literature informed my research focus and helped me gain better understanding of the context of my work within the literature. Schreiber and Stern (2001) noted that to gain insight into the relevance of their work, researchers must to be aware of the literature on the topic in order to contribute something new or relevant. In addition, researchers need to be aware of the theory development process, as the primary goal in Grounded Theory research is to compr ehend the problem (the main concern) from the participants viewpoints and how it is being resolved as the pattern generated. Charmaz (2006) recommended that researchers follow a thorough and focused literature review to help them prepare for their study. Once the analysis is completed, the researcher should revisit the literature and build upon their previous literature review. This study employed the suggestions of Charmaz (2006) and Schreiber and Stern (2001) in conducting the literature review befor e the data collection and analysis on topics relevant to the research. There were two reasons for my choice of conducting a thorough review of the literature at the start of this study. For practical reasons, as a 63


student I was required to provide a proposal that included a literature review; and also because I believe that understanding prior research can help me focus my own work. Data Collection This dissertation employed strategies of triangulation with various forms of data. I conducted interviews, did non-participant observations, gathered documents, and wrote memos. Triangulation of data refers to looking at the same phenomenon, or research question, with more than one source of data. Through triangulation of the data, distinctive viewpoints can be used to support, elaborate, or clarify the research questions while limiting personal and methodological biases (Decrop, 1999; Denzin, 1978). Charmaz (2006) explained that grounded theorists build data through observations, interviews, and materials collected about the matter being studied. According to Denzin (1989), data triangulation can be addressed three ways: across time, space, and people. To have time triangulation, researchers collect data at different points in time. Space triangulation requires the researcher to collect data at different sites, which I did by recruiting participants from different institutions. When using person triangulation, researchers collect data from more than one group, or set of people, which I did by including seven different institutions. Questions pertinent to each participants personal creative process were addressed. Whether software and Internet related technologies (SIT) played a role in that process was a primary interest in this study. Participants were as ked to describe how they come up with ideas, what inspires them, as well as some practical examples of how specific ideas for class projects developed. 64


Participants Seven institutions were selected based on their successful job placement of students in highly regarded creative agencies. Institutions placement rates were accessed through information on their web sites and printed materials. Five of the institutions are considered trade schools, portfolio schools that focus on training their students to hold creative jobs in advertising agencies by employing agency professionals as instructors. These schools have also successfully merged industry practices with educational training in other ways, such as working on real client campaigns, winning highly r egarded industry awards and internships, and organizing networking opportunities. Unlike universities, portfolio schools are small, with about 50100 students on campus, and do not offer any kind of degrees or certificate. Instead, students finish the p rograms which range from fifteen months to two years with a book or portfolio of their work. Portfolio schools tend to stay up to date with industry standards and technical arrangements since the instructors come from well -known agencies and provide a practical education experience that allows students to start seamlessly into the industry as skilled emerging professionals. The other two institutions in this study are private colleges that compete with portfolio schools on the same level when it comes t o job placement and industry integration, therefore meeting the inclusion criteria. This study was conducted with a total of 25 participants comprised of 15 faculty members, 4 beginning students (first semester/quarter), and 6 advanced students (second year). Seven of the students were enrolled in an art director track while three were enrolled in a copywriter track. Only one of the copywriters was a beginner. 65


The faculty members have a varied background. Three faculty members were creative professionals, who work full time in agencies and were teaching one quarter at a portfolio school during the data collection phase of this research. Eight faculty members were either directors or founders of their schools, but they were also teaching courses at the time of data collection, and during years prior. Four of the faculty members were f ull time teachers/professors. Types O f d ata For this study, data was collected in the form of semi -structured, in -depth interviews, nonparticipant observation, and collection of documents. These documents included student work, both in sketchbooks and finished assignments, assignments from faculty, and photographs of the schools (facilities). Interviews Semi -structured in-depth interviews were conducted with participants. As defined by Charmaz (2006), in-depth interviews facilitate deep exploration of the topic under study and are valued as a useful method for interpretive research. Two interview protocols were developed for this study: One protocol was to explore the experiences of students as they conducted their work. A second was to gather detaile d descriptions of methods from instructors and directors/founders of the participating institutions. Both protocols focused on brainstorming techniques, collaboration, and the role of technology in the creative process and in the learning environment. Whe n interviewing students, I was concerned with the steps involved in their creative process and what role the computer played in this process (if any). The questions which follow comprised most of the conversation with student participants, although other subjects were covered in the course of the interviews: Do you sketch 66


your ideas on paper? If you do, was it by choice or because it was required? Describe the process of coming up with ideas for an assignment. How is the collaborative process with other students? How do you develop their technical skills? What are the main difficulties you find within your own creative process? How do your teachers facilitate the development of your skills? What are your favorite and least favorite assignments, and w hy? What is your ideal work environment in which to develop ideas? When interviewing faculty, I explored their use of technology when teaching, and their methodology for fostering creativity in their students. Most of their questions were as follows: Do you encourage students to sketch their ideas on paper? If so, why? How do you balance technical skills with creative thinking in your classes? What are your assignments like (give examples)? What is your approach to teaching software? How do you learn software and stay up to date? Do you feel your students creative process differs from yours? How do you feel about the presence of computers in a creative classroom? What does you ideal classroom look like, if different from where you currently teach? Interviews were conducted on location as often as possible, allowing for examination of facilities and classroom technology. Interviews that were not conducted in person due to distance were recorded via Skype. All interviews on location were video-reco rded to maintain consistency with the Skype interviews, which have a video format. Non -Participant O bservation Observation provided additional information about the use of technology in classes. Observation also allowed examination of student interactio ns during idea and 67


project collaboration in common areas of the campuses. I video-recorded a total of 12 hours of classes as a nonparticipant observer and took notes during and after the observation to provide additional data for analysis. Documents Docu ments gathered for this study include any type of creative work in progress (such as sketchbooks) or finished work that students were willing to provide. These documents provided insight into the creative process and helped elicit information during inter views. In addition, still photographs of the facilities were taken by me and/or requested from participants. Role O f The Researcher My background is rooted in visual arts. My mother is an artist, and I have always been an artist. My father is a business man, and I had the opportunity to learn from both my parents, which heavily influenced my choices as a young adult. I graduated with a bachelor degree in fine arts, majoring in creative photography, then obtained a master of fine arts in electronic media in 2003. In 2001 while still a graduate student, I started a photography studio with Jeff Williams, who is now my husband. I pursued the M.F.A. with the goal of becoming a professor, but I wanted to gain industry experience first. My personal artwork developed over the past ten years in collaboration with Jeff was exhibited in prestigious national and international galleries. Our professional work has been published in many magazines, and we have won many awards together and separately. The advent of di gital photography and digital production caused an unimaginable change in the creative industry and, consequently, in the way we operated our business. For the first five years in business, we only had six competitors in our town. 68


After the release of di gital photography, we quickly had 18 competitors and most were relatively inexperienced. Our clients were having a hard time deciding between their friends and us to do their photography, whether it was a family portrait or a commercial job. Our competit ors consisted of anyone with a nice looking camera and basic Photoshop skills. As a studio owner, I trained assistants who were usually college students from fine arts or mass communications colleges. I was also teaching as an adjunct at the University o f Florida and going once every semester to give workshops at the Advanced Photography course. My involvement with the education of incoming students entering the job market became harder as time passed. Prepar ing them for an industry that was changing on a daily basis, teaching them to stay ahead of the curve, and to be the next innovators took a great deal of figuring out as technology evolved. I found myself teaching them skills I was concurrently developing, rather than teaching from experience as I had done in past years. I became interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in education, but after more research, I found my passion in research and courses related to creative advertising. It was almost an intuitive decision to investigate how the changes I exper ienced in the industry were affecting the creative classrooms. How are we supposed to prepare the students to enter an industry that is going through major changes? I soon realized that journalists were struggling with the same issues, as bloggers and on line news began taking away professional reporter jobs and printed newspapers were becoming obsolete. Will consumers fill creative needs with their newly acquired prosumer equipment and excitement? The digital revolution has had greater consequences than I expected. 69


This is unfortunate for those who support themselves and their families through creative work, but makes for an exciting topic of research. Following this explanation of the methodology and how it was applied in this research, the next chapter details the Analysis of the data. Then, the findings, discussion and conclusions will be presented, as well as an analysis of the contributions and limitations of this study, and potential opportunities for further research. 70


CHAPTER 4 ANALYSIS OF THE DATA Overview Analysis of data followed an inductive format by developing themes, codes, concepts, and categories T he video interviews were coded on a program called Studiocode (Figure 4-1 ), where themes can be created and color -coded on a timeline similar to most video-editing software. The software was developed specifically for qualitative video analysis and allowed me to isolate and transcribe specific clips as I coded. I collected data while concurrently conducting analysi s. This allowed me to begin identifying emerging topics, guide subsequent data gathering, and determine if there was a need to follow up with participants. Codes were generated, reviewed, and modified by utilizing the constant comparative method for exam ining different participant's views, situations, actions, accounts and experiences. This means that the procedures of sampling, data collection and data analysis were carried out concomitantly in the research process, working as a continuous cycle of data collection and analysis. During the data collection phase, initial, open coding was done, allowing me to refine the course of the study before becoming too focused on any particular aspect of the data. Then, once I finalized data collection, I watched eac h interview several times while performing selective coding, described by Glaser and Holton (2004) as the means to cease open coding and to delimit coding to only those variables that relate to the core variable in sufficiently significant ways as to prod uce a parsimonious theory. With the Studiocode software program, I was able to make a movie of each category excerpt which enabled me to perform selective coding. For example, the 71


category collaboration had every instance (video clip) from each part icipant in a single movie. I watched movies from each category twice and wrote memos both times. As noted by Thorne, Kirkham, and MacDonald-Emes (1997), interpretive description requires that researchers come to know individual cases intimately, abstr act relevant common themes from within these individual cases, and produce a species of knowledge that will itself be applied back to individual cases. (p. 175). This is very important in an inductive approach; contributing a deeper and more meaningful interpretation of the data to provide concepts and relevant indicators of those concepts (Glaser 2011; Giorgi, 1985; Knafl & Webster, 1998; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Figure 4 -1 Screenshot of Studiocode, participant face blurred to protect identity. The main categories used during selective coding (in no particular order) were: technology, feedback, faculty (role), collaboration process, curriculum, brainstorming, collaborative brainstorming, assignments (student), assignments (faculty), generation gap, m otivation, social environment, and physical environment 72


4 -1 Table of Concepts Final Categories What SIT Changed Advertising Media Platforms Relationship Brand/Consumers Products Integrated Campaigns The Advertising Creative Professional Execution T echnical Skills Merging of Disciplines Expectations (need to innovate) Students Information Available Access to Information Entertainment Communication (online interactions) Learning Style Computer Skills Faculty Distractions in Class Feedback Dissemination of Information (sharing files/links) Assignments Research Creative Process Research Execution Collaboration Technology in The Classrooms Public Critiques Assignments Division of Time Between Concept and Skill Distraction Online presence Research Information Available Access to Information Communication with others Access to Global Cultures Execution Merging of Disciplines Skill Integrated 73


The table depicted in Figure 4-1 outlines the concepts that allowed me to see the pattern in the data. Interpreting one category of data assisted me in clarifying other categories. In this way, the emerging ideas about SIT and the creative process served as a way to cross -examine the data and discern new categories to denote the data and the under lying method. After writing Table 4-1, I generated sketches to help me visualize relationships among concepts that I derived from the data, consequently organizing the concepts into categories that have ultimately led to the propositions grounded in the data. Memoing and creating visual sketches took place concurrently as the final process of data analysis. Sorting through memos were also an integral part of the final analysis as following my thoughts over a period of one year allowed me to see a pattern within the memos in addition to the data collected from participants. Inductive Analysis As previously discussed, grounded theory is mostly used to generate s ubstantive theory for a specific area of social concern; while formal theories are develo ped for a broad conceptual area. As Corbin and Strauss (2008) defined, A grounded theory is one that is inductively derived from the study of the phenomenon it represents The inductive analysis engaged in this study will be outlined here to illustrate the development of the pattern labeled as seeking, which will be fully defined in the next chapter. As Figure 4 -2 demonstrates, inductive analysis begins with the data, which subsequently form concepts, categories and propositions. The process can be p erceived as a systematic way to find patterns within the data, at which point the most prominent information elevates to categories while the rest becomes either not salient or descriptive auxiliary information. 74


Figure 4-2. Inductive Data Analysis In or der to demonstrate the inductive analysis process I have chosen two examples of data excerpts in order to explain the analysis in simple terms as the actual process is much more complicated dues to the amount of data being analyzed. In this example data e xcerpts were classified in two concepts: Researching Info, and Visual Inspiration. Table 4 -2 provides a visual organization of both concepts sideby -side. Upon creating concepts, they were both combined into a single category labeled as strategies for id ea generation. Combining concepts to generate categories is a process that slowly allows the researcher to isolate the most prominent patterns of behavior observed within the data. 75


Table 4-2. From Data to Concepts Once categories were established, memos, mind maps, and drawings assisted me in the developments of propositions according to the most relevant and sali ent patters that were observed in the data as illustrated on table 4-2. Memos, drawings and any other notes from this research were treated as data to aid in the inductive analysis process. Figure 4-3 Mind map and drawing used during inductive analysis Researching Info Visual Inspiration Technology takes place to inform myself in the creative process... To actually come up with the idea its outside the computer First thing I do is computer, part of it is to get inspiration, everything comes from there [Internet] I research incessantly, I devour information before I develop ideas. I created environments online, places I always go to. But now the places I visit are different from the ones I used to go to, but I still have that habit, now I try to look at different places and countries too. Everything we create is from lived experience and much of what we experience is through the Internet. I use many [online] references every time I create. If I have ideas flowing then Id rather keep working at it but if Im at a standstill then the internet is the place for inspiration, for sure one can fi nd inspiration there. 76


Table 4-3 illustrates other data excerpts and concepts. Such concepts evolved into categories and propositions as previously clarified. Table 4-3. Examples of data and concepts Technology Faculty T echnology Students We are preparing students for the next 50 years, and the technology will change, thats why its about the ideas. Technology takes place to inform myself in the creative process. To actually come up with the idea its outside the computer. I am more creative with pen and paper, I dont know, or something with my hands. Technology is integrating but not replacing what we do I was taught to embrace technology because its part of the industry. This is an exciting time, our work is going to have to be better, we dont have an automatic audience, we are going to have to create our audience, we have to create that relationship and be useful in peoples lives. I am really experienced, have been using these programs for 5-6 years and thats my medium. Brainstorming Faculty Brainstorming Students For technology ideas I have them do a lot of sketches, a lot of paper drawing. I only expect to have good ideas by repetition. The computer doesnt help you think better, there is a lot more that goes into production outside of the idea so we want really to just let the kids immerse themselves in the thinking because its hard enough to come up with a good idea, to come up with an awesome idea then execute it is a difficult process. When I started out I didnt know how to think or how to create, or even how to start. I used to think every time all I needed to do is make a print ad with a picture on it. Nowadays I know I need to make an integrated campaign using social media, print, or whatever is appropriate. The steps illustrated above were a simplification of the inductive analysis process, which involved coding each of the 25 interviews four times, writing and comparing memos, drawing several diagrams and coding. A simplified explanation is more conducive to a better understanding of the process, and therefore aids the reader 77


into deeper understanding of the researchers process. The next chapter outlines and elaborates on the findings of the present study 78


CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS This chapter addresses the research findings, beginning with a section that lays out the stages of the creative process, followed by the grounded theory proposed by this study. Then, the discussion will explore the r elationship between the grounded theory proposed by this study and Cskszentmihlyi s (1996) theory of the c reative p rocess, provide guidelines for the evaluation of a grounded theory, and explain the assumptions of the emergent theory. This study was conducted with a total of 25 participants comprised of 15 faculty members, 4 beginning students (first year), and 6 advanced students (second year). Seven of the students were enrolled in an art director track while three (one beginner) were enrolled in a copywriter track. The faculty members have a varied background. Three faculty members were creative professionals, who work full time in agencies and were teaching one quarter at a portfolio school during the data collection phase of this research. E ight faculty members were either directors or founders of their schools, but they were also teaching courses at the time of data collection, and during years prior. Four of the faculty members were full time teachers/professors. This study investigated th e rol e of software and Internet related technology (SIT) in the advertising creative process. Participants described their creative processes in ways that reinforced much of the creativity literature on stagebased idea development. However, participant descriptions made new contributions as well, particularly related to how they used the abundant information accessible online and software programs designed for creative production. Therefore, this research adds to creativity scholarship 79


by illuminating ho w SIT influences idea development, collaboration and production in advertising. Previous theories explaining the creative process have never taken into consideration the presence of the Internet or software and its impact on creativity. Th rough this research study scholars now have access to a theory of the creative process that is applicable and relevant to contemporary creative activities that require the use of computer software and Internet related technology Although this research was developed through work with participants in advertising creative education, this theory has application in other disciplines that have been influenced by the impact of SIT on creativity. The creativity literature has many well -established theories of the creativ e process, beginning with Wallas (1926) and continuing through to Cskszentmihlyi (1996). The literature also addresses the role of motivation, personalities, and products, all of which have been outlined in the review of the literature in Chapter 3. What the literature lacks, however, is a theory that addresses the creative process since the popularization of SIT. The grounded theory that emerged from this study offers a rich insight into contemporary creativity as well as a framework for future researc h. Stages O f T he Creative Process Computer programs designed for creative production allow for fast, easy experimentation and refinement of ideas. Therefore, I expected to see idea development and execution merge as a result of SIT The data revealed that creativity still happens in fairly discrete stages as suggested by the creativity literature (e.g., Cskszentmihlyi, 1996). Merging phases would mean a significant shift from a stagebased creative process to a less linear pr ogression. While beginner first -year students 80


who participated in this study had a tendency to merge idea development with the production/execution of the idea (as I initially expected), they quickly learned from peers and teachers the benefits of breaking the process down into steps. Advanced (second year) students and faculty wanted to ensure their ideas were strong before developing them further. Advanced students were asked how their current approach differs from when they started their programs. One student who has a bachelor s degree in environmental sciences responded, Now I know we can have brand new solutions to old problems, and that is invaluable to someone who does not have a creative background. I found that I can solve problems in a way that has never been done before so I look at things differently and that is the coolest thing. Another student who has a bachelors degree in advertising affirmed, When I started out I didnt know how to think or how to create, or even how to start. I used to think every time all I needed to do is make a print ad with a picture on it. Nowadays I know I need to make an integrated campaign using social media, print, or whatever is appropriate. These statements demonstrate that students are acquiring a keener sense of what is expec ted of them and meeting these expectations with enthusiasm. Griffin (2008) researched advertising students creative process and found a difference between beginner (first semester) and advanced (third semester) graduate students. In contrast to the beginners, the advanced students did not consider execution an inherent part of their creative process (p. 102). Griffins research clearly outlined the refinement that advanced students acquired over time in their creative 81


thinking skills. This study found t hat advanced students skills and confidence in idea development are consistent with Griffins findings. Most participating institutions teach brainstorming classes that emphasize concept development without the computer highlighting that creative think ing as a process is best accomplished in stages One of the faculty participants said it is because the computer doesnt help you think better so we want really to just let the kids immerse themselves in the thinking. Another school completely separates technology from concept development in every class, from start to finish. In fact, when enrolling in that school students are automatically enrolled in their sister school that specializes in software training. Students take classes from both s chools simultaneously. For advanced students the assignments begin to merge both creative thinking and software technique, but the classes are separate. Although the teaching approaches differ among institutions and even from teacher to teacher the creative process is still taught by emphasizing separate stages. The reason for separating idea development into discrete stages is to ensure the concept is strong enough and matches the strategy outlined by the brief before moving on to the production stage, as it has been done traditionally in advertising. The grounded theory that emerged as a result of this study, addressed in the following section, proposes a stage-based advertising creative process that incorporates contemporary practices, and accounts for the strong presence of SIT. Accessing The Digital Muse: A G rounded T heory O f Adv ertising Creativity Accessing The Digital Muse proposes four stages that outline the advertising creative process. Each of the four stages identified in the model (Figure 4 -1) contribute to the resolution of the creative task This includes the processes of: Seeking inspiration 82


and information, Brainstorming (idea development ), Production of the idea, and Dissemination of the work Individual stages or activities performed within stages cannot be pinpointed as a single source of creativity The dotted line represents the effects of dissemination (last stage) each time a new cycle begins, which is increasing the amount of information available on the Internet. T he main st rength of this model (Figure 4-1) is that it depict s of the process of contemporary advertising creativity inclusive of the initial stages of idea inception to the resolution of the task Accessing The Digital Muse consists of four stages: Seeking (idea and information) Brainstorming (idea generation and development) Producing (execution of idea) Disseminating (posting work online) Figure 5-1 Accessing The Digital Muse Model 83


It is important to note that according to participants from this study, adverti sing creatives must achieve a balance between creative thinking and technical skills in order to be considered well rounded and successful. The stages proposed by the grounded theory encompass both creative thinking and technical skills and therefore ass uming a minimum level of proficiency on the part of the creative person. The following subsections will address each stage of Accessing The Digital Muse. Seeking Information A nd I nspiration This stage labeled as Seeking (information and inspiration) is d efined as going online to explore information related to the task. In the context of advertising, the stage of Seeking begins when the creative person is given a brief or an assignment the task. Faculty and student participants described this stage beginning with an online search to find out information related to the task. Before the Internet, advertising creatives used to seek inspiration from analog sources such as the One Show annuals which is a collection of past award winning ads. Now e xposure to global and interdisciplinary knowledge, tools, and access to people worldwide are all within easy reach online. Very quickly, the creative person is exposed to a vast amount of information and becomes aware of what preceded their task, i.e., how others have solved similar problems. This exposure resonates with the creative person in subsequent development of ideas, therefore making this step a very significant part of the creative process. 84


Idea development is enhanced by group diversity in areas such as background, education, and upbringing (Cooper, 2000). Because the Internet offers instant access to different cultures and people, going online can enhance idea development. Participants said the lived experiences and the information that are gathered through online research have influence on the decisions they make and on the ideas developed later for solving the problems assigned to them. Figure 5-2. Seeking Students said they keep folder s of images on their desktop to go to for inspiration. Two students said that looking at images helps them visualize; one of them said, Its like putting a puzzle together. She called herself a puzzle solver ; other participants alluded to themselves as problem -solvers because they work from a brief that states a problem identified by the client. Another student participant described that creativity in advertising as the ability to make connections towards solving a problem, which is part of the definition adopted by many scholars as wel l (e.g., Amabile, 1996; Cskszentmihlyi, 1996). Participants described go ing online and adding images to the 85


folder at the start of every project. Other students mentioned they have specific sites they visit for inspiration, as an advanced student descr ibed: I research incessantly; I devour information before I develop ideas. I created environments online, places I always go to. But now the places I visit are different from the ones I used to go to, but I still have that habit, now I try to look at dif ferent places and countries too. I learned how one thing leads to another, I can find out anything about anyone on Facebook for example; I like to connect the dots. Research is the main step [in developing ideas]. Other participants explained this stage using similar descriptions: I use many [online] references every time I create. First, I research everything related to the topic She described an apple juice box campaign she was currently working on and said she had searched everything related to ap ple juice. In addition, s he visits sites that showcase the latest award-winning ads, social media, and design sites. Like many others, she has a folder on her desktop where she saves images for inspiration. A nother student recalls going to the library in the past but now, like all others, he prefers the Internet because Info is easily accessible, and that helps so much when gathering info, I would have to go to a library and still not have this much info so it helps. The availability of vast informatio n online has made the process of gathering information and inspiration easy and immediate. However, faculty members mentioned a feeling of apprehension over the access to information available online. The concern is that when students seek information they find it quickly, and find a lot of it. Students sample information without much basis for scrutinizing its quality. Faculty described that students feel they have learned something, when in reality they have only scratched the surface of the real subs tantive information. At this stage, it is important to 86


guide students into becoming more discerning. One faculty participant described her decisive approach to dealing with the excessive information available on the Internet : The intellectual process of creativity is still an intellectual process and not a skill T he intellectual process of researching somethingthat is a different process, where you get fodder for ideas. Our students now have more and more and more fodder, so its an issue of sifting and trying to decode the value because there is so much available. In the first level class they dont use computers, just markers to exercise the absence of technology on purpose, to pull the clutter back and not let the technology t rap any of the creativ e process Some faculty participants found it helpful to guide students through the stage of seeking inspiration and information by showing reputable web sites, sharing links, and talking about information seeking. Others found it necessary to send students to the real library. Regardless of the approach, all faculty participants expressed the importance of addressing this stage in some specific way with their students. One advanced student elaborated on the inspiration and information he gains by going online, but also on the possible distractions it can provide. If I have ideas flowing then Id rather keep working at it but if Im at a standstill then the Internet is the place for inspiration, for sure one can find inspiration there. Then there is t he other side, when I go online I feel I wasted time doing nothing, I get lost in there. It is a risk because other times I find what I want right away, each research is a risk. Cultural implications to finding global inspiration have a ripple effect on all aspects of the creative process. An online search will expose the creative person to worldwide cultures, ultimately affecting the nature of ideas generated in the subsequent stages of the cycle. Creativity is now generated for audiences on a global scal e. Even if the work is performed for local or national products/ideas/messages, it can be accessed 87


by anyone with Internet access The globalization of creativity has raised ex pectations of the creative person. When they perform the initial Internet exploration they learn about what that has been done around the world related to their task at hand and new advertising creative works are added every day. At the start of each new task, advertising creative professionals can access this ever -growing archive. In order to be original, creatives have to top what they have seen. Eventually, as it becomes harder to achieve originality, the creative person is forced to become more innovative. Brainstorming The Brainstorming stage is the period when the creative person comes up with divergent ideas after seeking information and inspiration on the Internet Most students described this stage as the action of writing ideas on their own, then sharing them with a partner. This stage culminates in collaborative convergent thinking to single out the best idea that will serve as a solution to the given task. Although not always following the steps developed by Osborn (1957) the term was widely used by participants to describe the ideation and active problem -solving phase of the creative process. Participants initially described the process of developing ideas as an activity that remained untouched by SIT With so many mindmapping sites, mobile apps and other gadget -oriented brainstorming tools available, this was unexpected. Nevertheless, although cr eatives still rely largely on pen and paper, they are also using videoconferencing tools such as Skype to develop ideas with others. The brainstorming process in advertising is usually a collaborative one. However, the nature of collaboration has changed through the mediation of computer and mobile screens. Traditional brainstorming involves developing ideas together, but 88


digital collaboration often entails each person working alone, then meeting online to discuss their ideas, work again, meet again and so on. This is different from the brainstorming that happens in person where people are equally experiencing their surroundings, can go off on tangents that lead to solutions, have a meal together to rest from the task, look things up, and feed off each others ideas. Digital brainstorming is more task -oriented and prescribed than brainstorming in person. SIT has taken away the physical barriers and built bridges never before possible. Figure 5-3. Brainstorming F aculty participants generally discouraged the use of computers during brainstorming, saying things like: T he computer is not an idea generation tool, its an execution tool, and W hen you have an idea, old technology pen and paper is still the technology to go to; or in more extreme terms, C omputers are bright lights for stupid ideas. A Sharpie makes you commit. If you go to the computer too early its an idea killer. Faculty participants shared a perception of the computer a hindrance to idea development. However, they emphasized that computers are an essential to carry out the idea once it is fully developed. 89


Faculty participants emphasized collaboration rather than individual creative effort ; Students first learn brainstorming on their own, t hen they apply [it] in a team. However, t he nature of collaboration has also changed through the mediation of screens and distance education. One of the participating schools teaches courses where some of the students are in one location and others are in a different state or country. Students collaborate on projects throughout the course without ever meeting in person. These collaborations in were inspired by new industry practice and help provide a seamless transition from student to professional. Creatives from multi national agencies now collaborate long-distance, and many freelance professionals have joined crowdsourcing websites that pair creative professionals from different parts of the world to work on a project together through videoconferencing and file sharing. As explained earlier, crowdsourcing can mean different things depending on the context. One context is when brands ask consumers to create ads one form of user -generated content (UGC). Another context is outsourcing professional (or amateur) creative services from a pool of freelance creatives around the world to work on projects traditionally performed by employees The growing use of crowdsourcing is another change that makes the future of advertising creativity unclear As far as this study is concerned, the imminent i mpact on the creative process is that collaborative idea development has been taking place virtually. Although the impact seems vast, participants have adapted to this change in a way that is practically seamless and intuitive. In addition, schools are be ginning to see the need to prepare students to thrive under such conditions. 90


The teachers and students in this study believe that pen and paper are still the best tools to aid in idea generation, considering the computer to be a distraction during idea development However, physical presence and acquaintance with a partner prior to collaboration are no longer necessary. In addition, long distance collaborations can change the cultural core of ideas if the collaborators have different backgrounds as illust rated in Figure 4-3 SIT has changed the collaborative process and the working relationships by eliminating physical and cultural barriers. Producing The I dea Producing the Idea is the stage where the creative team produces a finished ad or campaign. Pro duction often takes place through the use of various computer programs and is usually, at least initially, performed by the art director. Most participants who are copywriters talked about the importance of being present during this stage because some of the final decisions are done through experimentation during production. SIT enables brainstorming stage to s pill into the production stage. These idea refinements are mostly audio and visual decisions though, not strategic or conceptual except for first semester students who are still learning the capabilities of the computer programs Art directors and copywriters have always been at the core of idea development in advertising. As the idea people, before SIT they were not required to know how to execute such ideas to completion; instead, there were art departments and production teams to implement the idea on their behalf. Production has evolved to the point where last -minute changes are usually effortless and immediate. This means that in addition to idea development, professionals and students must be proficient in a series of computer programs, layout, and design. The implications of contemporary means of 91


creative idea production on subsequent stages of the creative process are illus trated as an overlap in Figure 44 Figure 5-4 Producing A significant consequence of SIT is the merging of disciplines. Technological advances allow professionals and consumers alike to make videos, create and mix music, create animation, web sites, r etouch still images, record radio ads and much more without being an expert in any particular discipline (e.g., without being a musician, photographer, or filmmaker) The cost of software is not out of reach; all participants interviewed had creative production software installed in their personal computers. A faculty member stated, Its taken a lot of the mystery out of doing things When I grew up only rock stars could record and no one [I knew] could make and edit a movie. Merging disciplines an d easy access to powerful creativity software have lessened the distinction between professionals and novices, placing even greater emphasis on original ideas and quality production. All faculty members highlighted the need to teach creative thinking as t he most important skill a student needs; however they also stressed the students need to acquire technical skills. 92


Dissemination D issemination is the last stage of this studys grounded theory of the Digital Muse Dissemination is defined as the stage in which the completed creative work is distributed via the Internet. The dissemination stage is significant for several reasons; first, regardless of the original medium intended (TV, radio, print, etc.), the ad(s) will most likely also be posted online. With this in mind, advertising creatives develop ideas for this medium, even if indirectly. Secondly, each time a new work is posted online it will add to the plethora of material a person will find next time they seek information or inspiration for a new task as illustrated in Figure 4-5 Since the fist stage is to go online for inspiration, and the last stage is posting online for distribution, the computer has become the medium to create from, and for, in advertising. Figure 5-5 Disseminating Disseminating online has the potential to take interactive forms through games, sharing, apps, videos, etc., i n many cases with little or no media buying cost. The ability to reach millions of people instantly has changed how advertising is designed, dev eloped, and distributed. SIT has given a voice to consumers who like to comment, 93


create and interact with advertisements, making avenues for dissemination prominent in social media, mobile apps, blogs, and video sites. Dissemination is pushing originalit y to higher standards. Once advertising messages began being posted on the Internet, competition for originality increased. A faculty participant said there wasnt an ad or a TV spot in any of the award wi ning work, they were all ideas p roduct ideas, innov ation, how to improve education, etc Another faculty participant alluded to the current expectations placed on creative professionals: Things are changing quickly and its really exciting for most people, and Im sure it scares a lot of creatives as well. Until the popularization of the Internet, our access to previously created work was limited to resources at libraries, through awards annuals, print publications, etc. Access was also limited to the domain of advertising, since for the most part creatives researched previous work within their own discipline. Now a search across domains is not only possible, but also probable by through The Digital Muse. Diagram of Accessing The Digital Muse: A G rounded T heory O f Adv ertising Creativity Figure 4-6 unites all four phases of the advertising creative process proposed by The Digital Muse described in this chapter. The first stage describes how contemporary advertising creatives perform research and seek inspiration. Exposure to diverse cultures online lingers through the second stage, the development of ideas and solutions to the problem which commonly occurs through the mediation of screens. The production of the idea, which involves multiple disciplines and use of software, culminates into dissemination, which can be performed immediately upon conclusion of production. 94


T he effects of dissemination (last stage) can be observed each time a new cycle begins, since dissemination increases the amount of information available on the Internet. This model represents the progression of one project from inception to conclusion, and includes the variables that impact the process at multiple points. Figure 5-6 Model of the advertising creative process proposed by The Digital Muse Discussion The major proposition of Accessing The Digital Muse: A Grounded Theory of Advertising Creativity is that SIT has an indispensable role in the advertising creative process. SIT has provided creatives with global access to knowledge and tools, changing lived experiences, and the creativity process. Additio nally, the theory highlights the influence and repercussions of SIT on creativity in contemporary times 95


The current model of advertising creativity builds upon and advances existing creativity models. The ability of a model to extend the scope of existing models provides a measure of its theoretical suitability. The following section outlines Cskszentmihlyi s (1996) models of the creative process in relation to the current model. Relationship to Cskszentmihlyi s T heory Of The Creative P rocess The pattern that emerged from this study sheds light on the contemporary advertising creativity process. The theory shares similarities with the creative process proposed by Cskszentmihlyi; however, with significant modific ations. Blumers (1969) notion of s ensitizing concepts are certain concepts in received theory that can be useful in steering the researcher to areas of life important in the generation of grounded theory (Wishart, 2003, p. 20). What is noteworthy about sensitizing concepts is that the identification of the pattern that emerged from this study was not a justification for overlaying an existing theory onto the data; rather, it was a means of modifying existing theory to suit recently acquired data. This study demonstrated that the stage-based theory of the creative process established by Cskszentmihlyi (1996) has not changed in the broader sense, but was certainly in of needed modification to account for technology and software endemic to contempor ary advertising creative practices. This modification is relevant to current studies of advertising creativity, and to educators seeking to stay current in their teaching. Cskszentmihlyi (1996) conceptualized the creative process as tak ing five steps: Preparation Incubation 96


Insight Evaluation Elaboration While Cskszentmihlyis theory is broader in scope, Accessing The Digital Muse accounts for behavior specific to contemporary advertising. Cskszentmihlyi (1996) noted that his analytic framework leading from preparation to elaboration gives a severely distorted picture of the creative process if it is taken too literally. He claimed, Elaboration is constantly interrupted by periods of incubation and is punctuated by small epiphanies (Creativ ity, p. 80). This is also true of Accessing The Digital Muse. However the participants in this study described a process that follows a somewhat linear progression. This could be due to the pressure to produce while working under short deadlines. Csksz entmihlyi stated that sometimes incubation lasts for years; sometimes it takes a few hours (p. 91). In the context of this study, participants only had one to two weeks to work on a given assignment, so for the most part the creative process proceeded in a fairly linear fashion to accommodate these time constraints. Seeking inspiration and information, the first stage of The Digital Muse, indicates conscious immersion by going online to explore information related to the brief assigned to the creativ e person, irrespective of their intrinsic interest in the task In contrast, Preparation as defined by Cskszentmihlyi (1996) is a period of becoming immersed, consciously or not, in a set of problematic issues that are interesting and arouses curiosity (Creativity, p. 79). Participants recounted the stage known as incubation in a way that is consistent with the creativity literature. Cskszentmihlyi (1996) defined incubation as a period 97


during which ideas churn around below the threshold of consciousness. It is during that time that unusual connections are likely to be made (Creativity, p. 79). Although it was not a stage that was significant enough to become part of the model, Accessing The Digital Muse takes into consideration the likelihood that participants will have intermittent exposure to the Internet, which can have an effect on how the unusual connections develop. Insight has been described by Cskszentmihlyi (1996) as the Aha! moment, or the instant when Archimedes cried out Eur eka! He goes on to explain, in real life, there might be several insights interspersed with periods of incubation, evaluation and elaboration (Creativity, p. 79). Accessing The Digital Muse refers to the collaborative brainstorming process (second stage of The Digital Muse) as the phase that leads to a solution to the task, and in that sense it can be compared to Insight. However, participants of this study did not refer to Aha! moments, instead they focused on descriptions of their collaborative ef forts to develop numerous ideas and solutions to choose from that address issues outlined in the brief. Cskszentmihlyi (1996) defined Evaluation as the stage when a person must decide whether the insight is valuable and worth pursuing. This is often the most emotionally trying part of the process, when one feels most uncertain and insecure (Creativity, p. 80). Participants of this study described evaluation as the seamless and collaborative culmination of the brainstorming process. In some instances student participants described showing several sketches to their teachers in order to evaluate which idea should be pursued. In advertising, strategy and goals must be evaluated along with the originality and relevance of the idea. The second stage proposed by The 98


Digital Muse, brainstorming, incorporates evaluation as a seamless process from idea development since they happen successively and without interruption. Additionally, in advertising creative courses, evaluation typically takes the form of critiques In agencies the creative director and/or other people involved in the project perform evaluation before it is ever produced. Cskszentmihlyi (1996) defined Elaboration as the stage that is probably the one that takes up the most time and involves the hardest work. This is what Edison was referring to when he said that creativity consists of 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration (Creativity, p. 80). In advertising Elaboration shares similarities with production because they both mean executing the idea. While Cskszentmihlyi refers to this stage in a broad sense that can apply to most creative endeavors, Accessing The Digital Muse focuses on actions specific to advertising creativity. One of the key features of Pr oduction as proposed by this study is the merging of creative disciplines such as music, graphic design, photography, and video enabled by SIT. The last step proposed by Accessing The Digital Muse is Dissemination, which Cskszentmihlyi does not address. Understandably, disseminating the work does not impact the creative efforts that preceded it. However, as previously addressed, Accessing The Digital Muse proposes that t he ability to reach millions of people instantly via Internet has changed how advertising is designed, developed, and distributed. Similarities between these two theories a re notable because they indicate that that the phenomena observed in the current research are robust. These similarities also indicate that althou gh Cskszentmihlyi s theory could apply to advertising 99

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creativity, it would not address contemporary shifts that are occurring at a rapid pace due to SIT. The next section will address the evaluation of a grounded theory according to Charmaz (2006), and Glaser (2002). Strengths and weaknesses of the theory developed through this study will be highlighted in the context of each authors perspective. Evaluation O f A G rounded T heory Charmaz (2006 ) defined grounded theory as: social constructions that reflect what their [c o nstructivist grounded theorists] production entailed. In this view, any analysis is contextually situated in time, place, culture, and situation (p. 131). Within the constructivist paradigm, this study is situated in a time where the advertising industry is undergoing dramatic changes due to technological advances. Advertising, more than ever before, needs to find intrinsic value for each individual, since means of blocking advertisements have become sophisticated. This study was condu cted in educational institutions, however the overall culture reached by the study was one of digital communications, learning and collaborating. The contemporary creative process explored in the realm of advertising was a subject untouched by the creativ ity literature, and although this study has made important remarks, it should also serve as a spark to initiate further research in the subject. C harmaz (2006) further elaborated on the goals of theory within the constructivist grounded theory paradigm by stating its aims are to: C onceptualize the studied phenomenon to understand it in abstract terms ; a rticulate theoretical claims pertaining to scope, depth, power, and relevance ; a cknowledge subjectivity in theorizing and hence the role of negotiation, dialogue, and understanding; [and] o ffer an imaginative interpretation (p. 127). One of the difficulties encountered by novices who attempt 100

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grounded theory methodologies is to go beyond descriptions in order to develop abstract expressions (Pandit, 1996). In undertaking this methodology I had to build confidence in my ability to conceptualize and articulate theoretical claims. The scope of the theory developed is narrow, most likely because the focus of the research was narrow from its inception. The goal was to understand the role of SIT in the advertising creative process, and The Digital Muse addresses the concerns generated by the research focus. The explanatory power of the theory will aid future researchers who seek to expand on this subject matter, and can be applied to the influences of SIT in other creative endeavors as deemed appropriate by other scholars. The relevance of this study lies in its ability to offer a theory that deeply explores contemporary advertising creativity. The role of negotiating and understanding the subjective nature of this methodology allowed me to remain focused and look for patterns in the data. D espite his epistemological differences with Charmaz, Glasers methods were influential in my understanding of grounded theory and it is important to address his approach in evaluating the approach. As mentioned in the previous chapter his criterions for evaluating grounded theory are based on the following: the theory has to be relevant, modifiable, and transcend people, place, and time (Glaser, 2001). Relevance is achieved through grab, fit and work (Glaser 1978). Grab refers to the ability for the theory to be remembered, is what gets the attention of the stakeholder. Fit refers to the categories of the theory fitt ing the data, not having the codes forced to fit preconceived theory or codes. Work refers to the theorys ability to meaningfully explain what is going on in the data, which should allow others to interpret and apply its meaning. 101

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Although Accessing T he Digital Muse is relevant, and achieved grab, fit, and work, it is time delimited. The theory derived from this study is dependent upon software and Internet related technologies (SIT), which have been evolving at a very rapid pace. It is not possibl e to predict the role SIT will play in the advertising industry in the far future. However, it is likely that advertising creativity will remain a stage-based process, and that it will remain a collaborative effort. Nevertheless, crowdsourcing, user gener ated content, changes in social media, and software will continue to evolve in the future of advertising. Changes in the advertising industry can trigger changes in the creative process, requiring modifications in the Accessing The Digital Muse theory, wh ich is bound by contemporary advertising practices; however, the theory is modifiable to accommodate possible changes in technology. Overall, the theory developed through this study offers valuable insight into contemporary advertising creativity, the advertising creative process and its implications for teaching practices. The next section will address the assumptions made by Accessing The Digital Muse in regards to creative thinking and technical skills. Balancing Creative Thinking And Technical S kills Accessing The Digital Muse was developed on the assumption that the advertising creative person has at least minimum proficiency in both creative thinking and technical skills with creative production software. This theory is suitable for beginner (first year) advertising creative students, who for the most part already have an understanding of the discipline as a whole. SIT has redefined the roles and expectations of creative professionals who, according to a faculty participant have to keep up with t echnology: there was a point when people could get away with it but now 102

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you cant avoid it. Educational institutions are following suit, finding ways to prepare incoming professionals adequately to meet their new job descriptions. Changes in communicatio ns technology have required advertising creative faculty members to rethink the balance between technical skills and conceptual thinking in their courses and curriculum design. Some faculty members do this by separating concept from technology while others integrate the two. A faculty participant described the technological fluency art directors need to augment skill and ideas: T echnical ability is absolutely paramount, and they need to be quick at it. It is a skill, you cant just hit a magic button, and then it happens. Technology is technology, but at the end of the day it does not replace talent. The balancing act required to teach both skills and creative thinking has left faculty members adopting different approaches, to which I refer to as Deferring, Balancing, and Embracing technology. Deferring technology means teaching ideation and technical skills separately, only merging both in advanced courses so that students finetune both skills separately before putting them together. This approach avoids the aforementioned spill of the ideation stage into the Production stage and emphasizes the creative process as separate and distinct steps. Balancing technology means that both skills will be separated at times; for example, one faculty member teaches brainstorming during class time and assigns technical homework so both skills are acquired concurrently. It also means developing creative ideas without any technological aid, but 103

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then knowing how to execute them using software within the same as signment. Embracing technology means incorporating it in every class, and integrating technology to replace one-to -one communication; for example, tweeting rather than raising hands to interact with teachers. It also means encouraging maximum proficiency with a wide variety of technology, including video games since it is a viable media for advertising. Since the popularization of SIT e ducators and administrators have been implement ed different approaches to integrate it into their courses and institutions. T hroughout this research, it was readily apparent that major efforts were exerted by faculty participants to ensure that the highest quality education is available to their students, regardless of the approach chosen. In conclusion, given the prominent role of creativity in advertising, the topic studied through this research is of great relevance. Ultimately, by investigating of the convergence of creativity and advertising, and building off of the pedagogical approaches of the latter, a contemporary account of the creativ e process in advertising can become a valuable tool to further research the topic, and to evaluate educational approaches accordingly The next chapter is devoted to limitations, future research, and co nclusion. 104

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS This chapter addresses this studys contributions to the literature, implications for practice, and suggests directions for future research. This research has investigated the role of software a nd Internet -related technology (SIT) in the advertising creative process. Previous creativity studies addressed in the review of the literature have focused on the creative process, but have not taken into consideration the pervasive influence of SIT Accessing The Digital Muse: A Grounded Theory of Advertising Creativity explains how SIT influences creativity outcomes in contemporary advertising. The theory proposed four stages that advertising creatives follow from inception to the completion of a creative project. The stages are: Seeking (information and inspiration online), Brainstorming (which is commonly done through virtual collaboration), Producing (merged disciplines, use of creative production software), and finally Disseminating (posting the work online). At bot h the substantive and conceptual levels, this study explains the contemporary advertising creativity cycle in accordance with their significance. This research has focused on the views of students and faculty from advertising creative programs as data for analysis. There are specific reasons for choosing educational settings. First, it was important to gain insight from faculty, who had to adapt to SIT, and from students, who grew up with SIT (with the exception of one older student participant). Secondl y, this research aimed to gain insight into the various approaches advertising creative educational institutions are taking to prepare incoming professionals for an industry that is undergoing fast and meaningful changes. 105

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Research Contributions And Implica tions Academic Contributions This research indicates that SIT exerts significant influences on the advertising creative process. Accessing The Digital Muse: A Grounded Theory of Advertising Creativity provides scholars with a framework developed to resear ch advertising creativity, and educators with a deeper understanding of contemporary advertising creativity. However, the theory that emerged from this research has application to other disciplines that share similar characteristics. While theories of the creative process that are well established in the creativity literature such as the one proposed by Cskszentmihlyi (1996) are valuable, they are not tailored to contemporary advertising creativity due to recent increase in access and use of SIT Advert ising attracts scholars from other fields to understand its impact on society and culture. Advertisings main goal is to persuade people, and so by definition it is interdisciplinary. In 1903, Walter Scott wrote the book Theories of Advertising but did not attempt to develop new theories of advertising. Instead, he explained how psychological phenomena and theories such as consumer behavior, relate to advertising. This book lai d the grounds for the prominence of psychology in advertising research. Adv ertising theories borrow from other fields, mostly from psychology, to explain its effects and consumer behavior; from business to explain strategy, targeting, and positioning, and finally from semiotics to explain the effects of visual messages on consu mers. While advertising is not new, scholarly research in advertising is newer than the aforementioned fields. 106

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Many productive advertising scholars prosper by adding to our knowledge every day. How is that possible without advertising-specific theories? Advertising thrives by embracing its inter disciplinary heritage. Advertising studies that use theories established in other disciplines such as psychology add to both fields, refining psychological theories, broadening their scope and also building upon useful knowledge for future advertising research. Advertising researchers must have a broad understanding of human behavior in order to influence consumer behavior; they must understand visual literacy to study the visual impact of ads on people; they must understand business in order to study strategy; they must understand the relationship between people and objects as they pertain to culture. Advertising needs other disciplines to continue its successful scholarly evolution. However, as the adverti sing literature grows, the need to access theories that are specific to the field becomes more apparent. The Grounded Theory of Advertising Creativity developed through this study offers an insight into the process of advertising creativity and technology through a perspective that takes into account contemporary practices. The changes addressed in this research affect traditional theories in communication in a positive way, by filling existing gaps, and adding onto existing literature through rigorous advancement of relevant knowledge. Littlejohn and Foss (2005) claimed that theories explain a way of living and can help us modify and create new ways of living. As technology advances, it will have more influence on our society and the way we live. Therefore technology and creativity are very rich and exciting field s for research. 107

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Didactic C ontributions Accessing The Digital Muse: The Grounded Theory of Advertising Creativity highlights the critical importance of addressing stages of the creative process with students. For example, during the first stage where students are Seeking information and inspiration by accessing the Internet At that point students strive to learn as much as possible about their assignment/task However the Internet search can provide students with superficial or even incorrect information. Therefore, educators need to guide students with help in discerning essential from superficial information, and possibly list the best sources to acquire such information online. The cl ear distinction between beginner and advanced students demonstrated that creative thinking is an acquired skill that takes practice and dedication. With this in mind, educators can focus on teaching idea development to their students through various approaches. This research found three different approaches to incorporating SIT into educational practices : Deferring, Balancing and Embracing technology. Deferring technology means teaching idea development separately from technical skills ; Balancing means t eaching them concurrently ; and finally Embracing means a strong focus on SIT in almost every class. One noteworthy aspect to the taxonomies of Deferring, Balancing, and Embracing technology is that although they highlight the approaches observed in this study, they do not differentiate among the approaches efficacy. Regardless of the approach taken, all educational institutions that participated in this research study achieved strong results in student awards, student placement in prominent agencies, and student satisfaction with their educational choices. This research suggests that creativity and Internet driven industries such as advertising will continue to place a 108

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strong emphasis on original ideas while demanding competent software skills from professionals. Achieving maximum proficiency at both idea development and technical skills will ensure that the creative person thrives as a professional. This research provides insight into the creative process that can be implemented to improve teaching methods of creative advertising courses, guiding teachers and institutions alike. The theory aids in the professional development of incoming students through a better understanding of their creative process. Research Limitations While I recruit ed a diverse group participants from a variety of schools, the sample was only selected from private educational institutions. The transferability of the results to different contexts such as public universities should be undertaken with consideration, as very few meet the criteria determined to recruit participants for this study or offer creative tracks for advertising students. A specific selection criterion was employed when selecting participants Institutions that were chosen to participate in this study self -p roclaimed placement of their students in well -known agencies holding advertising creative positions upon graduation. Additionally, some may feel that a limitation to this study was the inability of participants to articulate abstract ideas about their crea tive process. However, the participants were capable of expressing meaningful key ideas and feelings that contributed to the theory development. Another possible limitation of this study is my role as a novice grounded theorist. Grounded theory (GT) is very complex and requires dedicated engagement from the researcher. GT also requires advanced research skills when abstracting propositions from categories through the constant comparison method. As Wilson (2012) described, 109

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During the writing stage the researcher has to step back and disengage from deep immersion in the complexity of the generated data in order to see the bigger picture and this process of disengagement for the novice researcher can be an uncomfortable and challenging experience (p. 11). The GT process requires much from the researcher, such as managing tension between the need to find a pattern and the necessity to find it without forcing. However, the experience of learning to deal with ambiguity, and surrendering to the process (Charmaz, 2006) was a valuable journey. Directions For Future Research A number of opportunities for future research emerged from this research. The first one appears in the first stage of the derived theory, Seeking (information and Inspiration) When s eeki ng information online, how does the virtual merging of cultures change the development of ideas? What are the cultural implications of finding global inspiration? There are studies that have investigated the consequences of globalization of cultures (e.g. Alee & Taug, 2006; Cooper, 2000; Ortiz, 1947, 1995), however the literature lacks studies that focus on how virtual experiences might change or affect idea development. This topic is closely related to this research, but needs deeper investigation in or der t o expand on the knowledge provided by the present study. Secondly, Woodman, Sawyer and Griffin (1993) have suggested that the creativity of an organization is based on the cohesiveness, size, and diversity of the creative team, giving larger agencies an advantage because they are able to choose from a wider array of skills. They have maintained that creativity is likely to be influenced by the organizational configuration and culture of the creative team. If that is the case, then what are the implic ations of digital crowdsourcing on the creative process 110

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of advertising professionals? This issue remains unaddressed in the literature, and although this study provides insight on the topic, further investigation seems warranted. Finally a significant question emerged from the third stage of Accessing The Digital Muse: The Grounded Theory of Advertising Creativity The Production stage addresses the merging of disciplines such as music, film, photography, web design and graphic design, among others. What are the implications of converging disciplines on creativity? This is a subject that can further illuminate our knowledge about the creative process. Closing Remarks This study investigated the role and implications of software and Internet -related technologies in the advertising creative process. In doing so, this study addressed changes in the advertising industry as they pertain to creativity. This research offered possible educational approaches to preparing advertising creative st udents to enter a rapid changing work environment. In addition, this research addressed the balance between conceptual and technical skills required of advertising creative professionals. The aim of this study, like any of conventional grounded study, was to discern patterns in social behavior (Glaser, 2002). It should be noted that I made a conscious decision to focus specifically upon the creative process rather than the outcome of creative activities engaged by participants. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of adopting grounded theory as a methodology for creativity studies. In closing, this work builds upon, and enriches the literature on creativity, a subject considerably underdeveloped, providing future researchers and educators with insights on the contemporary advertising creative process. This study applied a 111

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grounded t heory approach and depicts vivid accounts of the role of SIT on advertising creativity, as well as its implications for teaching advertising creative courses. 112

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sabrina Habib was born in 1976 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and moved to the U.S. in 1995. She began studying p hotography at Brookdale Community College in NJ. A year later she transferred her studies to the University of Florida. Sabrina completed a B.F.A. in Photography in May of 2000. Three months later she began a M.F.A. at the University of Florida, mentored by Sergio Vega. Upon graduation in 2003 Sabrina and Jeff Williams opened a photography studio, JS Photography. Sabrina and Jeff collaboratively created and exhibited their fine art work nationally and internationally over the years. The successful studio blossomed over the years but Sabrina grew increasingly interested in teaching in higher education. In 2010 she began her Ph.D. at the University of Florida, mentored by Dr. Lisa Duke-Cornell. Sabrina H abib is married to Jeff Williams, and is the mothe r of two children, Felipe and Oliver Williams. Both Sabrina and Jeff will join the faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington in the fall of 2013. Sabrina is pleased to have completed all of her studies at the University of Florida, and looks forwar d to a future in academia where she can pursue research, teaching, and fine art s. 121